Sunday, October 21, 2007

Getting started

Over the last couple of weeks I've been starting new classes at the school. So, once again I tell them about the different ways they can practice and use their English outside the classroom. Usually I start the lesson by putting a DVD, book, magazine, CD, mp3 player, mobile phone and printed web page on a desk at the front and ask students to think of how these can help us.

Then I give them this handout and go through it explaining anything they may not have heard of;

This is a list of different things you can do to improve your English outside class.

1 Use the internet - How ?

a Surf the web on a regular basis - 10 to 15 minutes a day is enough.

b Use chat rooms - Mirc or Yahoo have easy to use (and FREE) chat services.

c Listen to radio or download podcasts from the net.

Or download a book and listen to it. It costs nothing.

d Set up your own blog (web page). It's easy and costs nothing. Also it is a great way to practise your writing skills and come into contact with others

e Use Skype (, which allows you to make free phone calls over the internet in order to find speaking partners from all over the world. MSN and Yahoo also have similar services. is a good place to start.

f Watch Youtube ( in order to see clips in English. There are plenty of videos aimed at those learning English, e.g

For longer programmes see;

Google Video (

2 Watch DVD's - without subtitles - at least once a week. This is a great way of preparing for the listening test.

3 Read something other than your course books. Literature, short stories, magazines, newspapers; In fact just about anything you can find in English. All reading is good practice for the Reading Comprehension part of the Cambridge exams. All these things can be found at the kiosks in Aristotelian square or in central bookshops.

4 Record yourself. If you have a cassette recorder, mobile phone that can record or a microphone for your PC, record yourself speaking. It's a great way of correcting errors in your spoken English. You can record part of a film you've seen, a page from an audio book, a listening exercise from the course book etc. Listen to the original and try to copy it as closely as possible.

5 Speak only English in class. This is probably the only chance you'll get to speak English before the exam so make the most of the opportunity.

Nobody expects students to do all of these things but if you try some of them during the course of the year then you'll see a great improvement in your language skills and of course you'll greatly increase your chances of getting a good grade in the exams.


English Breakfast said...

Another thing you can do is remind them that it behooves them to speak the Official Language of the European Union (i.e. English), because their is a saying I've heard lately in Greece.

Those who speak English excel, and those who don't end up working at Dimosio....

Scott Sigler said...

That's awesome you listed my site to help people learn English. Maybe I should put a whole ESL section on my site at