In this article you will learn many different ways of how to practise English from home covering the 4 main aspects of language learning and development:
With recent advances in technology there is now a world of resources available to you via the internet that you can take advantage of in order to learn and practise English from home. Below I highlight some of the easy ways you can improve your English at home:
This article is also available in Spanish: CÓMO PRACTICAR INGLÉS EN CASA
Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom, WhatsApp or similar online tool
Speak to native English speakers using these fantastic communication tools. This could be in the form of
- an online language exchange
- group classes
- private 1-2-1 classes
Online language exchange
There are a number of online platforms which you can use to get in touch with native English speakers who want to learn your language. You spend part of each session speaking English and the other speaking your native language (ideally 50/50 so that it’s fair for both parties).
Here you can find a list of The 10 Best Language Exchange Sites
A number of colleagues who normally teach English face-to-face to groups in academies are now teaching through Zoom after the classes were moved online. This is a great way to continue with the classes you’re already doing or to sign up to new classes.
Private 1-2-1 classes online
More and more teachers are giving private 1-2-1 English classes online nowadays and can be found by searching on Google. For example, I started giving English classes on Skype in 2012 and since moving to London in 2013 I’ve been working exclusively online giving English Language Coaching sessions for Spanish-speaking professionals through both Skype and Google Hangouts.
Reading is easy way to practise English from home, and it’s also a very effective way to improve your English. Reading helps you both learn vocabulary and consolidate grammatical knowledge. And the great thing is that a lot of this learning happens subcounsciously without you even realising it! I credit a lot of my Spanish knowledge and vocabulary to reading extensively in Spanish.
Reading resources you might consider could be:
- Around topics of interest
- All types of books can be bought for an ebook reader such as Kindle by Amazon.
- The Internet
- News channels (e.g. BBC; CNN)
- Topics of interest (sport; music; and any hobby)
Why not browse the internet and search in English for what interests you?
Why not order from an online bookstore and get the book delivered straight to your house or to your ebook reader?
And if you fancy reading a book, check out the Inglés Naturalmente list of recommended books to read in English.
Listening and Watching
Nowadays thanks to the internet and digital television it is so easy to access so many resources to practise listening to English and in so doing, improve your listening skills.
Podcasts – essentially radio programs that you listen to at a time that suits you – are becoming ever more popular with newspapers, magazines, businesses and individuals alike creating audio content for us to enjoy. Whatever your hobby or interest, you are sure to be able to find a podcast in English which talks about it. From politics to football, from business to leisure the podcast world will have something for you.
You can find podcasts through Apple Music, Spotify or any other podcast player that you can download from the internet.
And the great things about podcasts is that you can listen to them again, or repeat sections, in order to better understand what has been said.
The more traditional form of audio entertainment is now available in digital format and radio stations in English can be easily accessed. Simply find your favourite channels and tune in.
YouTube has a whole host of visual entertainment in English from Vlogs to news channels, from instructional learning videos to interviews. Like a visual form of podcast in some ways, you will definitely be able to find a YouTube channel dedicated to something you are interested in.
One of my favourite channels, and one I often recommend to my clients, is TED, which has a broad selection of professional talks on a wide variety of topics. The talks can also be found on the TED website.
Furthermore, you can also rent or buy films on YouTube (more on films below).
The advantage of watching a video as opposed to listening to a podcast is that the visual reference can often help you to understand the meaning of what is being said. Additionally, with many videos you can add subtitles if you prefer (more on that below too) or read the automatically generated transcript to aid understanding.
Documentaries, TV series and Films
Through platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube Premium you can get access to a wide range of documentaries, television series and films in British, American and other English dialects, which you can often watch with subtitles if necessary.
Depending on the series or film, these can sometimes be more challenging to understand so choose carefully. Try something and if it’s too difficult to understand, look for something else.
If using subtitles, make sure you still focus on what is being said and only use the subtitles to help clarify understanding. Subtitles can be a distraction and it is very easy to end up reading them without paying attention to the sound/audio. This needs to be avoided.
In general, I would recommend subtitles in English rather than in Spanish. The objective is to understand English – you do NOT want to be translating from English to Spanish. Translating what you hear will seriously impede your ability to understand English properly and will prevent you from progressing with your understanding of spoken English.
For more information on how to improve your listening skills, please refer to the Inglés Naturalmente resource page on how to better understand spoken English.
Writing can be a good way to express your thoughts and ideas in a way which is more controlled and less rushed than when speaking. Even if you don’t have a native English speaker friend or private English teacher to check and correct what you write, it can still be a good exercise to put pen to paper.
Some examples of what you could use writing for would be:
This may be something you have no control over but if you tend to write (and read) emails in English for work, it can be very helpful for learning how to express yourself with tact and diplomacy as well as learning useful vocabulary specific to your field.
Keep a diary
This doesn’t need to be a major undertaking but writing a few lines every evening about what you’ve done during the day is great for practising using general action verbs in the correct tenses.
Instead of writing what you do every day, why not write how you feel and share your thoughts and feelings with a private journal which is for your eyes only. There has been a lot of talk in recent years about the benefits of journaling and it can help you in many different ways from creativity to improving communication skills to relieving stress, anxiety and depression. If you feel journaling could be useful for you, why not do it in English.
For more on the benefits of journaling, take a look at 10 Surprising Benefits You’ll Get From Keeping a Journal.
I hope this has given you some good ideas of how to practise English from home so you can make the most of the time you spend at home.
Do you have any tips for practising English at home? If so, Please share them in the comments below.