Learn English on YouTube

As the percentage of people in the world learning English online increases; there are better and better educational resources available. Though I would NOT suggest using YouTube as your exclusive (or only) way to learn English, you can definably learn a lot if you know which channels to watch and what to search for. Another reason that YouTube is a great resource is because you can learn English for free online. Where else can you get awesome free ESL lessons about every topic out there?

YouTube is a great resource to help you learn English. You can use it to learn new things or learn just about anything for that matter. It also is a good resource to answer questions… like if you are confused about the usage of ‘Speak vs. Talk‘ or ‘Steal and Rob in English’. You could search these terms and come up with a multitude of lessons to answer your questions.

The easiest way to find what you are looking for is just to search for it.

Some phrases to help narrow your search on YouTube would be:
1. How to ____________ in English
2. English lesson ____________
3. ESL lesson ____________
4. EFL lesson ____________
5. Learn English + ____________
6. English + _________________

Try not to put too many small words like: in, on, at, etc. in search engines. Only put the most important words.

Once you find a channel you like you can subscribe. Click the subscribe button next to the name of the channel.

Once you have subscribed the button will look like this.

All the channels you subscribed to will be listed on the left hand side of your YouTube screen. YouTube will also suggest videos for you to watch based on your subscriptions and the previous videos that you seen.

So, you if you still don’t know where to start; below is a list of some helpful English learning channels on YouTube. Most have a lot of good lessons ready for your viewing.

YouTube Recommendations:

American English
Ronnie from Engvid
Espresso English
James from Engvid
English Tonight   🙂
VOA Learning English
Rachel’s English (American Pronunciation)

British English
Mr. Duncan England
Minoo at Anglo Link
Let’s Talk Institute

Not everything is of great quality or truthful on YouTube because it is a free video sharing site. Use your personal judgement when searching for different things. The most helpful English video lessons are not always the first ones that pop up. Take time to scroll down and watch more than one. 

Another great aspect of YouTube is that you can access numerous videos on cultural or country specific information. If you are interested in different songs children sing in English or a holiday; you can often find online lessons about those as well.

English Nursery Rhymes
Tongue Twisters in English
Songs for Kids in English

If you click the ‘Music’ button on the left hand side of your screen many of the most popular music songs will come up. Songs that come up might make a difference depending on your location in the world. On your YouTube profile/preferences you might want to say you are in the ‘United States’ to ensure that it offers you selections in English and not in your native language

As you get ready to browse YouTube, remember it is a great resource. Use it help you learn English online and have fun.

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8 Tips to Improve Your English Writing Skills

Strong writing skills in English come from practice and determination. No one is born an excellent writer. Learning to be an excellent writer in English takes a lot of time and practice. Anyone can be a good writer if they are determined enough.

Everyone has a different reason why they need to improve their writing. Maybe you need to improve your writing for work or for your English class at university. Or maybe you want to start a blog about learning English or you need to respond to emails in English for your business.

Below are 8 Tips to Improve Your English Writing Skills:

1. Keep All of your Writing in One Place
Buy a notebook or journal or start an electronic journal. By keeping your writing all in the same place, you will be able to see how much you are improving and keep it organized.

2. Practice Writing in English Daily
The importance of writing daily is that you start to create a new habit. Writing every day in English will soon become natural and something you look forward to. You will not see a significant improvement if you are not dedicated to becoming a better writer in English. You cannot create awesome stories and papers if you never try.

3. Pick a Topic and WRITE!
Don’t get stuck on figuring out what to write about. You can write about anything. You can write about what you do, things you hear or see, news, or make up a story. If you do get stuck, use some of English Tonight’s writing prompts to help you get started.

4. Write More than One Draft
Draft means a preliminary version of piece of writing. Sometimes, your best writing becomes better after you take a break and work on a second or third draft. When you revise (or rewrite) your work you are often able to get your message across more clearly. You make think of things that you did not think to write in the first draft and you can add it in a later draft.

5. Use Online Resources to Correct your Grammar
Yes, grammar is a pain. You don’t need to know everything about English grammar. Use online resources, such as Grammarly, GrammarCheck or GrammarBook.com to help you answer a grammar question when it comes up. You could also switch the spell and grammar check on MS Word, your iPad or Google Doc to check your spelling and grammar in English.

6. Think Outside the Box (or Lines)
Don’t write about the same thing every day or you will get bored. Try writing the same story from different perspectives or different tenses. If you are writing a story about a baby that won’t stop crying; first, it could be the mother telling the story; then from the perspective of the baby. Or you could write it in present moment…. ‘My baby hasn’t stopped crying in five days…’ and then write in the perspective of a pregnant woman that is thinking about having a baby that won’t stop crying. Don’t write about topics in the obvious way. Be creative!

7. Have a Friend Edit Your Writing
Have a friend that knows English correct or edit your work. Having another person read your work helps generate more ideas to better your writing. You could have them edit everything or just a part that you are stuck on. Often having another set of eyes look at your writing helps find mistakes that you have overlooked.

8. Find the Best Place for You to Write
You should try writing in different places or at different times of the day. Maybe you have writer’s block at night; try getting up 15 minutes earlier and writing in the morning. Maybe you have trouble writing where there is a lot of noise; try writing in a quiet and comfortable place. Experiment in finding the right (or write?) environment for you to write.

Writing is a process; the more you work on your writing the better it (and you) will get.

Thank you for reading this post on English Tonight. If you liked this article; try reading: 6 Tips to Help You Revise Your English Writing. 

Lessons Learned in an Immersion Classroom

I have spent the last six years as a teacher in a language immersion setting. It was a 90:10 immersion setting; meaning 90% of the day was target language instruction. Six hours a day, five days a week for nine and a half months a year.

So, basically (if you don’t know) immersion is learning the language by doing. The students did math, reading, writing, science and social studies in the target language. Me, their teacher, could NOT speak to the students in their native (or the non-instructional) language. I did not teach grammar and structures of the language explicitly; no boring memorization of tenses, worthless lists of vocabulary, or fill in the blank exercises. Instead students learned about electricity, plants, wrote stories, and read books; just like any other child would in elementary school… the only difference was, that they were NOT learning in their home (or native language).

It was amazing to see young children that did not know a word of the immersion language; learning to understand, read, write and speak so quickly.

A language immersion class is like traveling to a foreign country. At the beginning, it can be intimidating. You don’t understand completely what going on, but you are interested. As time goes on, you start to interact with people and take risks, by speaking a foreign language. You might make small utterances, like answering ‘yes’ or ‘no’. As more time passes, you become more comfortable. You are able to interact and communicate more.

Language Immersion, of course, is NOT for everyone BUT those that were successful all seemed to have following characteristics:

1. Students were NOT afraid to make mistakes
Fear should not hold you back when you are learning English. You should not worry about forming a perfect sentence. I am a native English speaker. Guess what? I STILL MAKE MISTAKES! The important thing is that you try your best. The more you try to speak English, the better you will get. If you are silent because you are afraid, then you will not become a better speaker. You are letting your fear paralyze you.

2. Students listened carefully
You can improve your speaking by listening. When you are surrounded by a language, try to take it in. Listen. Listen carefully. At first, you will only understand a little bit but as time goes on, you will be able to complete assignments and understand more and more. Focus on the big picture. You do NOT need to understand every single word to understand.

3. Students went with the flow and acted like detectives
When you are in a new environment where you do not understand much… or anything for that matter; it might be natural to panic. Don’t panic. Take a deep breath. Look around…. and do what the others are doing or saying.
Example: If the teacher says ‘jump,’ and it is a new word for you, but you see everyone in the class do the same action…. you start to make associations. So, you understand that doing that action must mean ‘jump.’

4. Students realized that languages are like patterns
In the language immersion classroom they weren’t learning rules on sentence structure or grammar, students were able to listen and hear patterns. At first it wasn’t totally correct but they realized that they could say something similar to what the teacher said.
Example: Many would say ‘Can you go to the bathroom?’ at the beginning when they wanted to go to the bathroom. They would quickly learn that was not right. They would say it different ways until it sounded right to their ears and knew to ask, ‘Can I go to the bathroom?’.

5. Students learned to ask questions
Asking questions and clarifying is helpful to language learners. Students would ask questions to each other…. Like ‘I think she is saying we need to write 8 facts about sharks, is that right?’ Students would talk to each other in their native language to ensure they understood the immersion language.
If they continued to have trouble understanding, they learned that it is good to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask…. For every one person that actually asks a question, there are probably 10 more students with the same question as the person who asked. When a good teacher is asked a question, they usually restate or explain the original information in a different way that might be easier to understand.

6. Students realized it’s okay to not know everything
No one knows everything. Think about it, you don’t know everything in your native language. So, why do you think you need to know EVERYTHING in English? We are all learning more each and every day. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Try to focus on the positive. Instead of think about the things you don’t know or didn’t understand. Make a list of 5 (or 10) ideas or words that you did understand. Little by little you are learning a lot.
Students in the immersion classroom where MASTERS of CIRCUMLOCUTION. Circumlocution is the act of saying something in more words than necessary. This is totally OK to do as a language learner.
Example: You forgot the word for ‘pizza’ in English…. So, you could say, ‘it’s that round food that has cheese, tomato sauce, pepperoni and has bread on the bottom that you cook in an oven’. Eventually, the person you are talking to would be like… ‘You mean pizza?’…. and they would give you the word that you didn’t know or forgot.


What can you take away from this? Well, as you think about WHY, HOW and WHERE you learn English (or any other language for that matter) take these lessons with you.

Make mistakes.
Go with the flow.
Be a Detective.
Find patterns.
Ask questions.
AND remember that you DON’T need to know everything!!

Knowing Your ‘Why’ for Learning English

Do you feel like you aren’t making any progress in English?
Do you feel like you are studying a lot of English but you’re not improving?
Do you feel like you will never be fluent in English?
Do you feel pressured to learn more English but don’t know where to start?
Do you feel like you know every grammar rule but when you actually have to speak English you have nothing to say?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the following questions…. KEEP READING!

Maybe you are struggling with learning English because you do not have a set purpose. Maybe you do not know ‘WHY’ you are studying English. You need to know WHY you are learning English before you answer ‘HOW’ you will learn it.

You need to know specifically ‘WHY’ you are learning English or you will never be successful.

But how can you do this? Well, you need to ask yourself the following question.

Question: Why I am learning English?

Some Possible Answers:
I need to learn English to go on a trip.
I need to learn English for work.
I need to learn English to get a better paying job.
I need to learn English for my business.
I need to learn English to pass the IELTS with a high score.
I need to learn English to take the TOEFL, so that I can get into a university in the United States.
I need to learn English to pass High School or University courses.
I need to learn English to better understand tourists or foreigners that I meet or work with.
I need to learn English because I immigrated to an English speaking country.
I need to learn English to speak to my friends, family or boyfriend.
I need to learn English so I can discuss research in my industry.
I need to learn English so I can understand the movies and TV that I watch.

Your Turn: I need to learn English ______________________.

After you have pinpointed your ‘WHY’; it will be easier to figure out ‘HOW’ to do it.

My ‘Why’: Learn English to speak to my cousins in the United States
How: Speaking and conversing about non-formal topics. Practice talking about favorite’s things, current events, music, etc.
Don’t: Study grammar rules.

My ‘Why’: Learning English to participate in an Economics Conference for my job.
How: Learn industry specific vocabulary that I will need. Read journals and research about topics in my industry. Watch speeches on TedEx about Economics or Business.
Don’t: Memorize lists of random vocabulary or practice talking about things that will not help you talk about industry specific topics in English.

My ‘Why’: I need to learn English, because I am going on a trip to Florida to visit Disney Land with my friends.
How: Study travel specific vocabulary. Practice talking about the airport, hotels, or even Disney specific vocabulary. Practice asking and answering questions. Watch Disney movies in English.
Don’t: Go to an English class, once a week and learn information in English that will not help me on my trip.

What’s your ‘WHY’ and ‘HOW’? Are you learning English the right way for your ‘WHY’?

Learning English Online vs. Traditional Learning. Which is Best for You?

Learning English Online vs. Traditional English Classes
The face of education is changing with each passing year. The debate between traditional education and online education has become an ongoing hot topic for educators, administrators, students and parents. It appears that this debate is at the beginning of what will surely be a long heated discussion for many years to come.

So, how does this apply to me? How does technology influence how I learn English?

It simply means that you have choices. You have more options how to learn English compared to the past.

Choices in the Past:
You can choose to take a class at an English institute in your city on weeknights.
You can choose to take a class at an English institute in your city on Saturdays.

Choices in the Present:
You can choose to learn English from a native English speaker online.
You can choose to access materials that are interesting to you.
You can choose to learn English by listening to music or playing games.
You can choose to take online English courses.
You can choose to get a one-on-one tutor who teaches you via Skype.
You can choose to take ESL classes from a school half way across the world.
You can use Facebook, Twitter and other social mediums to improve your English.
You can get a 4 year degree from an accredited university via online learning.
You can choose to listen to English pod-casts on a variety of exciting topics on your MP3 player.
You can practice speaking English with someone who is also learning English in a language exchange in another country via online chat.

You see, technology makes the possibilities of ways you can learn endless. It also makes it more personalized. Online you decide what you want to learn. You decided if you want to focus on grammar rules, music or vocabulary specific to your job or business.

Along with the convenience of options, you have more time to do online learning. A traditional English institute has a fixed schedule, usually only open for a few hours a day. Fortunate for you, the internet does not close at 7pm. On the internet, you can learn English at 6am, 6pm, or even midnight. It is ‘open’ every minute of every day. This is helpful since everyone’s schedule is packed with work, studies, family responsibilities, friends and so much more. The flexibility of the internet is one of its most attractive qualities.

Action: Think about how you are learning English right now. Are you stuck in the past or moving towards the future? What changes can you make to learn more English online?

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