Local Immigration Partnership - Renfrew and Lanark

Non-Traditional Strategies

Below are a number of non-traditional strategies to promote independence outside of the classroom. Each one contains a list of potential language skills that learners can strengthen by using these methods.


Music

Click here for the 17 popular songs from 2017 and notes of how to learn English through music.

  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Vocabulary
  • Pronunciation
  • Idioms/Phrasal Verbs


Journaling

Writing a journal everyday about any topic is helpful to improve writing skills and vocabulary, but can have many other benefits as well. The best thing about journals is that learners at all levels can keep a journal to improve and track their English language learning, both independently or with an instructor. FluentU gives some tips to make journal writing an important tool in language learning. There are many websites that provide examples of journal prompts including including questions and incomplete statements. 

  • Writing
  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar
  • Idioms/Phrasal Verbs


T.V.

Read about tips on how to learn English through watching videos or visit Voice of America (VOA) for videos specific to language learners at various levels.

  • Listening
  • Vocabulary
  • Pronunciation (Real)
  • Idioms/Phrasal Verbs


Blogs

Here is a list of blogs that may be helpful as an English language learner or teacher: 

  • Reading
  • Vocabulary
  • Idioms/Phrasal Verbs


The Goldlist Method

The Goldlist Method is a way to organise vocabulary and schedules review to ensure long term memory. 

  • Reading
  • Vocabulary
  • Pronunciation
  • Idioms/Phrasal Verbs


Apps & Online Games

Convenience is the key to consistency. Allowing learners to “play” on their phones, while learning English independently at the same time? Yes, it’s possible and quite addictive! Duolingo and Memrise can both be used through Facebook or other popular platforms and track progress of the individual as well as sharing progress, or creating a friendly competition against others.

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Listening
  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar
  • Pronunciation
  • Idioms/Phrasal Verbs


Language Exchange

Sign up for free with Verbling or italki to connect with people around the world to share the learner's first language with others while the other person provides his/her English expertise. These exchanges are free; however, there are also private one-on-one instructors available through the following websites that charge a fee. Talking to local volunteers, coworkers, family members, and friends in English is the best option, but if you are not able to then check out the  Language Exchange websites.

  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar
  • Pronunciation
  • Idioms/Phrasal Verbs


YouTube

Any English video clip works if the learner is interested and listening attentively, but TeachThought provides a list of the best YouTube Channels to learn English independently. Thompson Language Centre by Judy Thompson, author of English is Stupid, Students are Not, presents many videos on her YouTube Channel that includes correcting various sounds in English and talking about the patterns in our speech. Explore for the many more that are available!

  • Listening
  • Vocabulary
  • Pronunciation
  • Idioms/Phrasal Verbs


Podcasts

Podcasts are available in any topic of the learner’s interest and often at various levels. It allows learners to practice their listening independently, without judgement, and at their own pace.

The CBC includes short audio clips for adults regarding actual content in the news.

Olly Richards provides a podcast about learning languages, which is helpful for more advanced English language learners, or for volunteers invested in assisting learners. 

  • Listening
  • Vocabulary
  • Pronunciation
  • Idioms/Phrasal Verbs


Workbooks

There are many workbooks out there, but they can be difficult to track down. Side by Side has been a favourite. Message the Community Language Support Coordinator for options available to borrow. Also, some libraries may have various workbooks available through their InterLibrary Loan system (Author Sandra Heyer has multiple workbooks including True Stories in the News that are available to borrow through the InterLibrary loan system, just ask your local librarian!)

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar


Flashcards/Spaced-Repetition

Anki is an easy way to systematically review words using spaced repetition. Ask the Community Language Support Coordinator to possibly borrow a deck of flashcards.

  • Reading
  • Vocabulary
  • Idioms/Phrasal Verbs


Posters/Labelling

Visual learners will love having a reference for vocabulary, pronunciation, categorization, grammar, and more! Just like most English language learning strategies, this one is for all levels as well, including literacy. Some like to cover their furniture and household items with English labels. If the pronunciation of vowel sounds is difficult, the learner can post this vowel chart using colours to show the various sounds on the wall beside their bed to review every night and morning. The learner can tape a poster of phrasal verbs about clothing where he or she gets dressed every morning .

  • Reading
  • Vocabulary
  • Idioms/Phrasal Verbs


Presentations

Similar to Journaling and the prompts associated with creative ideas to use as topics, presentations can have a great impact on vocabulary at any level in various subjects, and also battles the very common nervousness associated with learning another language, but in a non-threatening environment. At first start with something familiar, then ask to research and present findings on a specific inquiry, or present an opinion on light or heavy topics, depending on the comfort level of the learner. For those outside the classroom, take everyday situations to practice. Present puppet shows to your young children at home; go for coffee with a friend; find a language partner and take turns presenting and giving feedback. Here are some reminders to be able to give great presentations.

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar
  • Pronunciation
  • Idioms/Phrasal Verbs
  
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