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ESL forum > Techniques and methods in Language Teaching > How do you make sure to maintain your level of English high as a non-native ESL/EFL teacher?    

How do you make sure to maintain your level of English high as a non-native ESL/EFL teacher?


How do you make sure to maintain your level of English high as a non-native ESL/EFL teacher?
Well, the title says it all -How do you make sure to maintain your level of English high as a non-native ESL/EFL teacher?

3 Jan 2019      


This is up to you... But you can do lot of things to maintain your level of English, as practice it with a native speaker, going classes for advanced English students, reading books, watching films or series, ...On the Internet you also have lots of possibilities.Have luck!

4 Jan 2019     

United Kingdom

Well, I am English... but I am a teacher of French and Italian. I find that watching TV progammes in those languages, with subtitles, helps me. Itīs not good enough, though... And as we say, īif you donīt use it, you lose it.ī 

4 Jan 2019     

United Kingdom

As an ESOL teacher who has learned several languages in my time, I have used many techniques. You can probably use several of these language  methods to improve your English.

1) I used to read the text on TV programmes of Italian News, Spanish News, German News, etc.
World News is universal, so I often knew about the event from British News, before I read it on foreign Newsī Programmes.

2) I always watched, (and still watch), films which show sub-titles in a foreign language, reading and listening simultaneously.

3) I bought lots of Agatha Christie stories in English, and also in the foreign languages. (Sometimes I bought dual-language books, with one page in English, and the other page in French, for example.) I skipped backwards and forwards, reading both languages. I frequently made notes of words and phrases, to remind myself later.

4) I went to the cinema to see foreign-language films.

5) I occasionally bought foreign-language newspapers to read.

6) I bought, (second-hand), lots of language-teaching cassettes, conversation CDs, verb table cassettes, and full language courses, (Linguaphone, Hugo, Berlitz, Lonely Planet, etc.) I played them in the car, on the bus, while walking, and occasionally, at home, in my rare free time. But, I didnīt make a conscious effort to learn ... I just īabsorbedī the language.

7) By using a pillow speaker under my pillow, I played the cassettes or CDs all through the night, VERY quietly, so that I learned subliminally. Some people play them quietly, in the Kitchen, while studying, while reading, etc. You learn without even listening to them.

8) I bought books of Verb Tables and occasionally glanced at them, so as to increase my Verb Vocabulary.

9) I bought Oxford Verb Wheels, to test myself, and to improve my Verb Tenses.

10) I played language games in my head, while walking, before sleep, etc. "How many Colours/Verbs/Vehicles/etc. do you know?" I set the bar higher and higher, every time, constantly testing myself.

11) I visited foreign-language restaurants, cafes, etc. I deliberately spoke in the language of the restaurant ... much to the surprise of the waiter!

12) I visited my foreign-language students in their homes, having conversations, speaking their language.

13) After I had learned the basics, I enrolled for A-Level Courses at my local college, and always took my Final Exam.

14) Simultaneously, I enrolled with the Open University every year for about 13 years, studying languages, up to Masterīs Level.

15) On the very few occasions I have been to Europe, (with University Summer Schools), I have deliberately spoken in the local language to shopkeepers, waiters, everyone ... mistakes and all. Who cares?

16) I took a job as a Tour Guide, to supplement my income, speaking, Dutch, and German, and occasionally other languages.

17) In Charity Shops, or Second-Hand Shops, if I see a book, dictionary, CD, etc. in a foreign language, I buy it, cheaply.

18) I also bought, cheaply, copies of "Lyalls 25 Languages of Europe", "Lonely Planet. Languages of Europe", and "Berlitz Languages". In this way, I could see connections between different languages, and also increase my vocabulary.

19) Whenever I have the opportunity, I speak to my ESOL students in their own language, even if it is only: "Hello" and "Goodbye!".
20) I perform Magic in restaurants, speaking in the language of the customer at the table.
... ... ...
I regard the ability to speak a foreign-language as a gift which has been bestowed upon me. I am immensely grateful for this. Bi-lingual people are ALSO very good at studying other subjects.
You may think that I spent my whole time learning languages ... I DIDNīT.
I had a family, a handicapped wife, and a full-time job to worry about.
I worked on the principle, LITTLE, AND OFTEN,

Lynne Cunliffe is correct!

"USE it, or LOSE it."

Les Douglas 

4 Jan 2019     

United States

I like online courses such as Khan academy, coursera, and futurelearn.  It is amazing the level of written language some non-native speakers have achieved.  

4 Jan 2019     


Creating Podcasts can improve your ESL teaching!

5 Jan 2019     


Thank you everyone for your suggestions, they are very helpful!

7 Jan 2019