When you are studying at St Giles, there are often opportunities to practise your English by going to a social programme event or talking to your host family. But what else can you do? Here are a few ideas from Sally Jones, a teacher at St Giles London Highgate.
Chat to your friends in English, create a Facebook page for your class, listen to podcasts, watch YouTube videos…the options are endless… One popular website is www.lyricstraining.com where you can practise your English by filling in the gaps to the lyrics of your favourite songs while watching the video as well.
Cut up ten pieces of paper and write one hobby or interest on each piece. Put the pieces of paper into a hat. Pull out one piece of paper and speak about it for one minute without stopping. If this becomes too easy, increase the time to two minutes. Also, make the topics you talk about more difficult by choosing random objects/difficult concepts (shoelaces, windows, modern art for example).
Look back at the work you have done during the day. Can you put the new vocabulary you have learnt into a sentence? Where is the word/sentence stress? Do you know how to say the word? Can you identify two or three grammatical structures in a reading text – can you see why they have been used?
Read what you normally read – but in English. If you read magazines in your own language, then read magazines in English. Reading should be a positive experience – make sure you choose material that is interesting to you and, most importantly, not too difficult for you. All of the St Giles schools have a wide variety of books that are published for learners of English. They are free to borrow and an excellent way of increasing your vocabulary and seeing the structure of the language ‘in action’!
Choose three or four new phrases that you like and that you don’t use and see if you can use them before the end of the day! Choose three more the next day…
Study something you’re interested in, in English, during your stay in the UK. Enrol in an evening course! Short evening courses are very popular in Britain – not only will you learn in English but also meet lots of native English speakers.
Work in a charity shop, do some gardening, talk to elderly people - there are many volunteer programmes that show you another side of British life and culture. You can meet a lot of interesting people, help a good cause and practise your English at the same time.