Everyday Ways to Learn English

There are many ways to improve your English language proficiency inside a classroom and in your community. Here are 99 ideas that you can use:

  1. Walk through a shopping mall. Find 10 words you recognize and 10 you don’t know. Bring these words back to class.
  2. Practise ‘small talk’ at the bus stop or in an elevator. “Good morning!”  “It sure is cold today!”
  3. Go for coffee with a friend. Ask for your coffee in English and thank the clerk.
  4. Go to the library and take the tour.
  5. Go the library and find a book or video in your first language.
  6. Join English Online.
  7. Meet with a group of friends to review an activity from class.
  8. Go to the gym, participate in a class.
  9. Listen to the radio in English. Which words did you hear?
  10. Watch the news on TV. What did you understand?
  11. Go bowling. Keep score!
  12. Go to the museum and take the tour.
  13. Go to an art gallery. Describe a picture that you like.
  14. Go for a walk in your community. Which signs do you recognize?
  15. Read a book to your children.
  16. Use a map to discover a new place in your community.
  17. Call your EAL instructor and leave a short message.
  18. In Winnipeg, go to the Legislative Building for a tour.
  19. In Winnipeg, contact Manitoba Hydro Place for a tour.
  20. Write a short note to your teacher or keep a journal of your daily activities.
  21. In Winnipeg, take the bus to Assiniboine Park and visit the Conservatory. Which flowers did you see?
  22. Go to the grocery store. Get a flyer and make a shopping list for the coming week.
  23. Write all of the important dates for the next 12 months on a calendar.
  24. Go to a grocery store and complete an application for a “club” card.
  25. Enter 10 new words in your personal word “bank.”
  26. Go to the library and get a library card. Then, take some books or videos home.
  27. Get a copy of the local paper. What can you read?
  28. Watch a short video in English. Can you say what happened?
  29. In Winnipeg, join a conversation group at the Immigrant Centre.
  30. In Winnipeg, join a cooking class at the Immigrant Centre.
  31. Try a new recipe in English at home.
  32. List 10 activities you did during the day.
  33. Go to your local drugstore. Look for seven related items (for example, seven different cold remedies), and copy the prices and the name and address of the pharmacy.
  34. Borrow a picture dictionary from your teacher or the library and copy ten new words and the page number you found the words on.
  35. Meet with friends at a coffee shop or community centre and talk about what you do in your spare time.
  36. Go with a study buddy to the library.
  37. Borrow a movie from the library to watch in English. Prepare to summarize the story and share your summary with friends.
  38. Find the thermostat in your home and record the temperature.
  39. Check the temperature and wind chill on TV or online and report back the next day.
  40. Check the 7-day weather forecast and plan activities that you will do during the week.
  41. Call Tele-Bus or another automated bus listing and listen for times for the bus at your stop.
  42. Call a store to listen for opening and closing times.
  43. Phone the Manitoba Museum or another museum and listen to the automated message.
  44. Phone the doctor’s office in off hours to get times that the office opens and closes.
  45. Get a study buddy for the day. Arrange to meet.
  46. Peanut Allergy Activity: Go to the grocery store and find 5 items that have the peanut free symbol.
  47. Go to a bakery or a restaurant and ask what peanut free items they have to offer.
  48. Sit on a bench in the shopping centre and talk to someone.
  49. Go to The Forks and learn what there is to do for free.
  50. Find three items on sale at a shopping centre and give the name of the store.
  51. Copy an advertisement or other information while riding the bus.
  52. Interview an interesting person (politician, sports figure, senior citizen, TV or radio personality)
  53. Volunteer in your son’s class.
  54. Sign up for a ‘how to” workshop at a store like Home Depot.
  55. Find a ‘new ‘learn English website.
  56. Learn about the services of SEED Winnipeg.
  57. Prepare a list of job openings and how to apply for them to share with classmates.
  58. Write a short article about a local event, like the Festival de Voyager.
  59. Audit a class at a local high school, continuing education program or community college.
  60. Meet someone new in your neighbourhood. Learn about his or her family and background.
  61. Phone a classmate or friend at an arranged time. Ask some specific questions that you have prepared and practised.
  62. Listen to conversations on the bus or in the mall and quietly mimic every native English speaker that you hear. Challenge yourself to make your stress, intonation, and speed match what you just heard.
  63. Watch TV using “closed captions”. Record any new words or phrases that you have learned.
  64. Visit Learning English with CBC Manitoba for audio lessons and ideas on practising English.
  65. Use a phone book to get information.
  66. If you have young children, tell them a story in your first language and tell it again in English.
  67. Borrow a bilingual book from the library and read the story in English and your language.
  68. Write captions for your favourite family photos to share with your classmates.
  69. Collect application forms and practise filling them out. Bring them to school to share with your classmates.
  70. Join a Toastmasters club to focus on becoming a confident public speaker.
  71. Contact Volunteer Manitoba, or call/visit a community centre, hospital, senior centre, etc. in your area and ask about volunteer opportunities.
  72. Take a course from a local community club or high school for fun. You can take a class in cooking, sports, art, crafts, and first aid, dance and so on.
  73. Read English stories, cartoons, news articles and books. Write down new vocabulary.  Practise reading to yourself and out loud.  After reading ask yourself: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How questions about what you have read.
  74. Keep a journal, diary or personal dictionary. Write down words you hear and do not know, look them up in a dictionary and record the meaning. Try to learn a new word each day and write it in your journal (you can do this alphabetically).  Try using new words in a sentence you have created.
  75. Attend a free event at the library, such as a lecture or presentation.
  76. Listen to English music. Try reading song lyrics as you listen (you can find them on the internet by doing a quick search). Singing is an excellent way to practise intonation and stress.
  77. Learn and use English terms when playing chess, backgammon, etc.
  78. Play an English board game, such as, Monopoly, Scrabble, Boggle, Pictionary (great for practicing idioms), Scattergories, A Question of Scruples, etc.
  79. Play English card games. Go to a website like pagat.com for an index of games and complete card game instructions.
  80. Do crossword puzzles and word search activities in English.
  81. Research resources (websites, books, etc.) to help you  prepare for job interviews.
  82. Prepare a list of the 10 most important things newcomers need to know about living in Manitoba. In class, compare your list with your classmates and finalize a list to send to the Manitoba ENTRY program in your city.
  83. With a classmate / friend, prepare and rehearse a short skit identifying ‘typical’ Canadian workplace practises (greetings, lunch room talk, meetings, interviews, interactions with customers, etc.)
  84. Do a CLB self-assessment online.
  85. Check out your local Adult Learning Centre or Literacy Centre and report back to your class what you have learned about the programs (when, what, who, etc.).
  86. Look for free concerts, guest speakers or events to go to. Write about it.
  87. Visit the Winnipeg Mint. Check for free-admission days.
  88. Meet a friend at a bookstore; look for books on learning English, your native country and or other interests. Use the seating areas to take or read.
  89. Check out your local community centre for courses of interest or special events.
  90. Try a new sports activity with a friend or family member (swim, skate or ski). Prepare to tell the class about your experience.
  91. Examine different kinds of written material that you have at home such as forms, bills, children’s report cards, letters, ads, etc. Look for new vocabulary items, useful headings, abbreviations, key phrases or idioms, etc. Learn new words to share with others.
  92. Plan an English lesson to teach to a beginner EAL learner (teachers match advanced learners with lower level learners). Choose something very specific, such as How to introduce oneself, how to make an apology, tips for remembering English words, etc.
  93. Research learning styles (and reflect on your style and how you learn, and how you are learning English).
  94. Complete a teacher made search, jigsaw or trek activity (finding out information by asking questions / completing charts in the community)
  95. Compare and contrast how things are done in your home country and how they are done in Canada (education, parenting, dating, and heath care, getting a job, leisure activities). Share your findings with others, including who you talked to and the research that you did.
  96. Review the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks (CCLB) website and report on what you learned.
  97. Choose a website (examples: driver licensing, child care) and prepare to introduce it to your classmates by identifying its features, who it is for and the ease of navigation.
  98. Interview employers or HR managers and ask about ‘soft skills’, employability skills and typical tests that new employees must take. Prepare a summary of your findings for your classmates.
  99. Prepare a travelogue using 5-10 photos from your day; include a timeline, who you met, what you talked about and what you learned.