Language learning is easy. In fact, there’s a formula for it. It goes like this: Input + Practice = Learning.
Firstly, let’s look at “input”. This is basically language that you listen to, read, and “consume” as a learner. You can find language in books, newspaper articles, DVDs, songs and a thousand other places. Input is the most important aspect of language learning. Just look at it like this: if you never heard or read anything in the target language (English), you would never learn anything. That’s really obvious. But a lot of people forget that and focus too much on things that aren’t that important. Remember, babies and young children learnt their first language by being exposed to a LOT of “input” without making any conscious effort to learn – it’s as simple as that.
So, where are you going to get your “input” from? Once again, it’s simple. You need to read and listen to English… a lot. Listening is the most effective method as you absorb language (words, expressions, examples of language structures, etc.) subconsciously. Plus, listening gives you examples of how to speak and pronounce the language.
Reading is also important as you also absorb a lot of language, plus you get to physically see how all the language fits together. So, if you want to learn effectively, you need to read and listen a lot. In fact, the more you read and listen, the faster you’ll learn.
Of course, you have to choose your reading and listening material carefully. You’ll need to get some listening material for your level. But you should also listen to native-speaker level material as this will help you develop an “ear” for the language – an ability to understand native-level speech and conversations. As for reading, you can read graded articles or books, but you should also try to read native-level texts. Choose things that you’re really interested in for extra motivation. For example, if you are interested in the news, then read an online newspaper; or if you are keen on jazz, find a jazz magazine; or if you’re passionate about sailing, get some content related to that topic. You’ll be so interested in the subject, that you won’t even realise that you’re reading in English!
Once you are getting lots of input, you also need to practise using the language. You can practise speaking with colleagues or your teacher, or even yourself. So, in order to learn effectively, you need to ensure you are getting lots of language input, and you need to practise using the language. It really is as simple as that. Good luck!