English Outside the Classroom

English Outside the Classroom

While learning a foreign language students pay a lot of attention to formal education in the classroom. However, language learning is not restricted only to formal education in the classroom, it is much beyond the classroom. Each student must take advantage of every single opportunity to improve English outside the classroom. But how can they do this?

In this article, we will present a list of activities that improve learners’ English. 

  1. Watch movies, television (news, series, documentaries, adverts – everything) in English. 

Students can try watching movies of different genres, listen to news about different topics such as politics, culture, show business, Hollywood star interviews, etc. They can even try watching their beloved movies with English subtitles. This will lessen the stress related to the overall comprehension of the film. Listening to the radio is also a great chance to improve language skills, particularly listening. Apart from the chance to practice audio-comprehension skills, it enables learners to get useful information about different topics. Radio programs have a lot of interviews, which is a great way to learn how to ask questions, and the distinct language used in more serious interviews, versus light-hearted ones. Ted talks are a great way to improve listening skills. You can subscribe and have Ted talks sent directly to your email. 

2. Read in English

This is one of the activities which students can practice at their own pace. Reading materials can vary from fiction, newspaper articles, ESL reading materials, advertisements. While reading lengthy materials, you can focus on the comprehension of the overall meaning. However, while ordering pizza in the restaurant, you need to understand the details to eat whatever you have intended to eat.

3. Use the language in public places, like restaurants where you will have to order in English, visit museums and take the guided tours, go to free talks, speak to shop assistants in malls/stores (you can ask the price, request another size, color, ask about payment method, etc ). At a more advanced level you can go to the theatre, live comedy shows, or lectures/seminars, free workshops regularly organized by charity organizations, restaurants, training companies, etc.  

4. Change your social media, computer settings, phone settings, email settings into English. 

This method works better for more advanced learners but it will give enormous exposure to the technical terminology and words or actions that people use on the routine level.

5. Take the chance to talk English with your friends. 

Though at the beginning you may be shy to do it, or it may seem artificial, gradually you will get used to it and will spot a noticeable change in your fluency and confidence in using English. 

6. Keep a small journal where you write new words and revise them on a regular basis. 

When I was a third-year student, I used to focus on a random passenger on public transport and translate in my mind everything he/she was talking about. When I felt that my vocabulary lacks certain words and phrases, I used to note them in my journal. Later, I was checking for their English equivalents. This was a very useful method that upgraded my language skills enormously. One of the benefits of this method was that I learned a lot of everyday words which language learners sometimes don’t take notice of. 

When you are making breakfast in the morning or walking down the street, try speaking to yourself in your head in English. Imagine you are describing in English to a friend what you are doing, step by step. Try describing what you see around you. You will get surprised by how much useful language you will learn. 

7. Use English learning apps on your mobile phone or tablet.  

This can be a fun, interactive way of learning a new language. Besides, it gives an opportunity to have round-the-clock access to the target language. 

The ways you can extend your language learning experience outside the classroom are endless. Take a step out to approach your language goals.

Download a printable planner for your students here.

Share with us which of the given methods your students have tried most of all.


Лиза Мардоян

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