April 2019

How do you restart, refresh and refine your English?

More and more adults are signing up for English classes either to receive a certificate, refresh their long-forgotten skills or just be able to use English for professional or personal reasons. While teachers might think adults will be ‘easier’ lessons because they are mature, more disciplined and know what they want, it sometimes doesn’t work out that way.

Restarters report busy work and family routines as well as luck of time as the massive barriers in their effort to bring back the ‘lost’ language. Attending classes regularly can sometimes be problematic. Homework is hated.

However there are many pleasant ways your students could try that supplement the course you have designed for them.

Use movies

A good way to learn vocabulary is watching movies and television in English. They could start by watching a movie in English with subtitles, and then watch it again without subtitles. Then, look up the words they don’t understand, and then play it again, saying the words out loud.

Use the social media and various websites

Speaking can be practiced through Fluentin3months.com/forum, Lingoglobe.com, Coffeestrap.com, and Tikimiki.net All sites are free. Your students can find conversation partners through Skype, What’s App or through the site itself; the couchsurfing website, is used by travellers who want to find places to stay for free when they go to a new city or country. They make a profile there and invite English speaking travellers to stay with them for free, in return for practicing speaking English with them. Or, if they do not want them to stay in their home, they can offer to meet travellers for a meal or a drink, and practice their English, in return for tips and information about what to see, do and eat in your students’ city.

Learn with music

Select their favorite music on YOUTUBE

  • Listen to the song & read the lyrics.
  • Read along when the music is playing.
  • Learn the words and expressions of the song.
  • Listen to the pronunciation of words.

Do your restarters have a bad retention?

Do they forget the words and their meanings and so they are unable to use them in daily life or while writing?

They could try this technique:
Connect words with feelings: analyse whatever you do, say or hear. Take this sentence for example “Dad was very angry today”

Think about finding words that would make this sentence better. Google it and you will have the following sentences:

  • Dad was furious today.
  • Dad was infuriated.
  • Dad was livid.

    You learn three new words instead of one!

The expression technique:

Try to describe what dad looked like. ‘Dad was angry’ can be expressed as

‘Dad pursed his lips and clenched his fists into tight balls. Try as he might, he could not contain himself. Within seconds, he erupted like a volcano’

This expression technique helps them learn new words.

Take another example
“Food was delicious today”
Analyse the word ‘delicious’. Google words like delicious.
“Food was appetizing”
“Food was delectable”
“Food is scrumptious”

They have learned three more words instead of one.

Advise them not to get satisfied with the vocabulary they use. Keep challenging them and they will soon have a rich collection of words in their mind.
‘Very’ is one of the most common words to use but once you decide to stop using it, you will see the difference. Will this help you get new words? Absolutely!

A man is not very tired, he is exhausted.
Nothing is very painful, it is excruciating.
No one is very scared, he/she is petrified.


They learned 3 new words just by removing ‘very’.
Learners should remember that English, like any other language, is something they will continually learn all their life. THEY WILL NEVER ‘MASTER’ IT.