7 Tips for Language Learning

Language learning is a marathon – not a sprint, but that doesn’t mean it needs to feel like a slog (an unpleasant task).

Key to making and sustaining progress is making it fun, and rewarding.

This starts with discovering which methods click with you. 

Once you have found your methods, here are 7 tips to keep your interest and energy optimised – and your English flowing.


Use rich, diverse sources

Above the beginner level, use authentic sources rather than ones written for an English learner.
We have a great selection of simply written adult fiction and non-fiction.


Mix up your learning rhythm

Use both short and longer bursts of activity. Take breaks in between sessions. Change rooms or walk about to keep your energy up.


Have varied, practical language experiences

Choose a course full of variety. If you are learning English autonomously then manage your learning by using various sources, including film, radio, articles, books, conversation.


Review what you've learned

‘Progress’ is not just about learning new things. It’s about using the words and language structures you already know with confidence and accuracy.


Get an Accountability Buddy

A friend or peer on the same journey as you can help you keep showing up and trying.

They don’t need to be the same English level as you!

Each set your own goals and share how you are going to achieve them.


Record your 'weekly wins'

This small journalling action doesn’t just help you show up with a dopamine hit, it communicates with the emotional part of your brain and tells it you are that you are building skills and becoming this new person.

How it works is if we do 9 things right and 1 thing wrong, our brains make a drama about that 1 thing.

We remember the mistakes far longer than the successes.

Keeping a list of ‘wins’ readdresses this tendency for negative interpretations.

It retells your story to your brain.


Use 'Can Do' assessments to measure progress

Most schools and colleges rely on Can’t Do assessment styles.

That’s when your grade is determined by the number of errors you make.

This assessment style is often taken as the ONLY way to grade a language but it’s far from ideal. It inhibits speaking in adults.

At art school or graduate level, never mind errors.

What stories can you tell?

Have you ever laughed at a joke in your target language?

Have you shared time with a stranger using English?

This is Can Do grading and it is confidence-building and encourages further progress.

Can do/Can’t Do
English for Art Schools

Can’t Do assessments still have a place in the Art School application procedure.

It is critical to determine if the candidate has the language skills to take a course in their target language.

If an Art School student is working towards an academic place in an English-speaking college/university,  they will need to prepare and train for Can’t Do style assessments, like IELTS  or SELT.

English Coaching

If you are fortunate enough to work with a coach, you’ll likely have all these 7 aspects of language learning managed for you.

Every teacher & coach has their own ‘toolkit’ for achieving these things.

My own toolkit is exploring landscape and culture, (relaxing and unwinding) and curating social situations that build confidence in English.

I used to do this only through English Conversation Holidays in Scotland, but when COVID hit, I spent a couple of years working out how to make online learning just as dynamic and rewarding. 

I’m back helping artists and designers progress their English language skills through courses that build REAL language skills. 


Autonomous English Learning

If you are learning English without a teacher or coach, I hope these 7 tips help! 

If you ever find you are not making the progress you hope, get independent advice about which English teacher, method or style can help you forward. 

Above all, don’t give up. You just need to find the ways which will unlock English learning for you! 

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