If your goal is to learn a new language, it's important to have a consistent approach. Short but frequent practice sessions give better results than long and irregular ones. You will quickly notice that consistency is the key to improving a foreign language.
You don't need to spend endless hours studying every day. Although the more you are exposed to the language, the more you improve, even a little effort can help you make progress.
One of the benefits of learning English is that there are many opportunities to do so.
There are two basic approaches to practicing English every day. The first approach is active and consists in doing some exercises that require no more than a few minutes a day, sometimes only 10 or 15. This is doable by everyone, just wake up a little earlier or dedicate a few minutes at the end of the day. To gain extra minutes in your daily routine, you can also use time spent commuting, such as on public transport. Instead of using your smartphone to play games, just use it to practice some exercises.
The second approach is passive, and consists in exposing yourself to activities where the English language is used, even in multitasking. For example, you can watch television in English instead of Italian. Or you can listen to music or read books, always in English. In short, just do the activities you usually do in your spare time, but in English. Technology today gives everyone the opportunity to access content in various languages. With this approach you won't even feel like you're studying and, without realizing it, you'll improve immediately.
Active learning is about bringing your attention to what you want to learn. In other words, it means setting yourself a goal and doing short tasks to achieve it.
By devoting full attention to the learning process, this approach can make you improve in no time, especially if done every day. In particular it can help to expand vocabulary, understand grammar rules and grasp the meaning of written or spoken language.
For example, you can start by learning a new word a day, inspired by something you've seen or read. Or just open a dictionary and be inspired by the many words you find. Once you have chosen the word, you have to try to memorize it. If you have a sheet at hand, you can write the chosen word, a sentence that contains it and some synonyms. This will help you understand how to use it in context and how to replace it.
You can also use some applications on your smartphone, using one app for notes and one for vocabulary. Whether you use pen and paper or your smartphone, the important thing is to dedicate a few minutes to this exercise every day.
Similarly, spend a few minutes on grammar rules. There are so many rules and terminologies related to English grammar that students often feel overwhelmed and don't know where to start. Don't panic!
Just learn one grammar rule a day. This way, it will be easier to keep in mind what you have learned without stress.
These exercises only take a few minutes a day. If the days are busy, two short sessions can be done. Just 10 minutes in the morning for a new word and 10 minutes in the evening for a grammar rule.
There are also other exercises that you can incorporate into your own daily English school. For example, you can read the news in English. Just consult an online newspaper, or a portal like MSN or Yahoo. There are so many possibilities to learn English, you just need to be a little creative.
If dedicating a few minutes to do exercises already seems like too much, you could use techniques to learn English passively. You will not need a smartphone or a dictionary. Just do what you do every day, but switch languages.
For example, you could formulate thoughts in English. The mind is working all the time and even if you don't open your mouth, thoughts are always coming and going no matter what you do.
For example, if you have to go shopping, an activity like any other, you can imagine having to write a list in English, go to a supermarket and ask for information or exchange a few words with people.
In short, you learn to think in English and formulate concepts or speeches. You don't always have to do this. But when you try it, you will notice that it is also fun and requires neither time nor effort. It is also a useful way to not get bored in monotonous activities.
There are other passive learning activities that don't even require you to use your brain. For example listening to a podcast in English or watching a film in the original language.
Listening to a podcast can be fun, because you can choose the topic that interests you most. There are many services that offer themed podcasts, and many of them are also free.
Similarly, if you want to end the day with a good movie, or with the latest episode of your favorite series, choose to do it in English. If you want to challenge yourself, you can also remove the subtitles. You may not understand everything right away, but by linking pictures, spoken language and pronunciation, you'll make progress without realizing it.
There are of course other opportunities to immerse yourself in the English language. The key is to find processes that fit your lifestyle without causing unnecessary stress, as the brain is likely to avoid tasks it perceives as complicated or demanding.
A clever way to combine active and passive learning is to go on an English holiday.
You can stay with a local family and attend summer English courses during the day. The benefits are countless. Through the summer English courses you do exercises that stimulate active learning. In addition, you are guests of a local family, immersed in an environment where you cannot help but communicate in English.
There are also many other opportunities to learn English on an English holiday, such as meeting new people and learning about a new culture, visiting museums and art galleries.
Talking to people from all over the world will also make learning even more stimulating. And if your mind perceives certain activities as enjoyable, it will be more relaxed and ready to register new information. The results will surely come in a short time.