Michelle's independent resources for ESL Students at Vancouver Community College

This is a Canadian ESL blog for Intermediate and Advanced Students who want to learn and improve their English. Each PAGE above contains thousands of free English lessons, tutorials and practice exercises to help you learn and improve your English grammar, reading, listening, pronunciation, speaking, writing and editing. Some of the resources are Canadian. Others are from around the world.

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Monday, December 31, 2012

5 New Years Resolutions for ESL Learners

One important New Years' custom in North America is to make New Years Resolutions.

A New Year's resolution is a a promise or commitment you make to yourself  to improve your life, or to achieve a personal goals. 

Some ways you can improve your life include: breaking a bad habit, doing something completely new,  or working harder to reach a specific goal. 

New Years resolutions are usually related to your own personal goals, your career, your health, your love and family life, or even your good or bad habits. 

My own New Years resolutions for this year are: 
  • Swimming three times a week in order to get more fit and to lose weight. 
  • Spending more time with my adult children by setting up specific weekly dates. 
  • Spending more time with my husband  by setting up a weekly date night that can not be cancelled unless there is an emergency. 
Here are a few of the Top 10 Resolutions for 2012 . from Slide share. I don't think they have changed much for 2013.
  • losing weight
  • getting organized
  • spending less, saving more  
  • enjoying life more 
  • staying fit and healthy  

One important thing about New Year's Resolutions that makes them different from other types of resolutions is that people make them in anticipation of the New Year and new beginnings. 

  New Years Resolutions to Improve Your English 

Since this is an ESL blog aimed at helping you, have thought about  making some New Years' resolutions to improve some specific English skills? . 


1. Why not promise to listen to English for 30 minutes a day, even on the weekends.  

You can listen to the radio, television, Internet listening activities with scripts (especially now that you can download them onto SMART phones and Mp3 players.

2. Why not promise to listen to 15 or 30 minutes of English music a day (with  or without the lyrics. You'll have fun, and you'll remember both the rhythm, the vocabulary and the phrases much better than through dry exercises.


3.  Why not promise to speak English for 15 to 30 
 minutes a day. 
If you live in a country with few English speakers this can be difficult, but not impossible.
  • While doing your English alone or in your room do them out loud, speak the complete sentences and vocabulary. It will triple your ability to remember what you learn AND in some "muscle memory"  of how to use the correct grammar when you speak. 
Sign up for  Google + .  Then set up your own  hangout page   and  invite your friends to practice English conversation. Then, make sure you actually do it at least once a week -with a topic you have prepared for. 
  • Try using any of the software , or programs that allow you to speak and monitor your speaking such as:  Voice Thread Vocaroo or Voxop.
  • If you live in country where people speak English,.you can still use all of the above methods, but you can force yourself to speak English to people at work,  go to a park, a community centre or any other available place to practice making small talk.  
  • Try to make English friends through volunteering, a social or professional organization, or a church.
 Oral Grammar

4. Why not promise to work on one specific aspect of grammar when you speak. For  example you could focus on using past tense consistently when you need to, working on he/ she pronouns or adding "s" at the end of words that need it.   


5. Why not promise to improve your vocabulary by learning 5 new words a day, or 50 new words a week.

You can also promise to improve your vocabulary by going out and using the new vocabulary you learn each day in any possible way you can: speaking it out loud, writing sentences or paragraphs, creating your own games and flash cards, recording yourself.... .. 

Setting Achievable Goals 

There are MANY more specific resolutions and goals you can make to help yourself speed up your English learning. But, the main thing is you must know what is the most important area for you, and how you can accomplish it.

Early in January, I will discuss some ways to make your New Years resolutions realistic AND achievable. In the meantime, if you hare having trouble choosing resolutions that DON'T involve learning English, try this  Resolution Generator from Monin Verlarde.

In order to get ready, try reading or listening to:  

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  1. I must say, you write an excellent blog.

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