This is a guest post from Jack Askew, the creator of To Fluency
Most learners I speak to are intermediate speakers of English. And they have been at this level for some time. If you feel the same – if you feel like you’ve not made real progress, then it’s time to make changes.
My five-step plan will show you what you need to do to reach an advanced level of English.
Before I continue, it’s important to know that going from an intermediate speaker to an advanced one can’t be done in two-three weeks. However, you can improve your English much faster than the average learner.
It all starts with knowing your why.
Step One: Know Your ‘Why’
Your why is the reason for which you are learning English. Thinking about the reasons why you are learning English, and writing them down, helps you:
- Get focused on what type of English you need to learn
- Feel motivated about learning English
Let’s say that you need to learn English for your job. Your reasons for learning English could be:
- because it will help me at work
- because it will help me get a promotion
- because I’ll earn more money
- because I can move abroad
Thinking about the possibilities will give you motivation to create a plan and to stay consistent with it (more on this later). Additionally, it will help you focus on doing things that will specifically help you.
Step Two: Set a Goal with a Deadline
“A goal is a dream with a deadline” ~ Napaleon Hill
The next stage is to set a specific goal with a deadline. Setting a goal for English learning is powerful because:
- it gives you something specific to aim for
- it keeps you focused
- it helps you create a plan of action to reach that goal
- it holds you accountable
Don’t just say that you want to learn English. Say that you WILL reach a specific level at a specific time in the future.
If you are unsure what your goal should be, evaluate your level of English (click here to do that) and then choose a level that you want to reach within the next 12 months.
But going back to step one, set a goal specific to what you want to achieve.
Step Three: Create an English Fluency Plan
Once you have your goal, you’ll need a plan of action.
Take your goal and ask yourself, “What do I need to do in order to reach this goal?”
For example, let’s say your goal is to reach a C1 level of English within the next 12 months. You’ll need to use methods that will help you reach this goal.
Here are a few quick tips:
- Learn new words and phrases in context (learn through sentences)
- Improve your pronunciation by learning the different sounds in English (this will help)
- Improve your speaking by mimicking English speakers (here’s a video on this)
- Always be listening to English (this gives you the input you need)
- Make English-speaking friends and practice in a natural way
- Get feedback on your speaking and writing from a teacher
Write down what you need to do in order to achieve the level you want.
Step Four: Make Your Plan Part of Your Routine
The perfect plan is pointless if you don’t do it.
In order to improve your English and reach your fluency goals, you need to be consistent with your plan.
This means doing things that are sustainable and making English part of your daily routine. Here is what I recommend you do…
Take a look at your daily routine and schedule more time to learn English.
You might be thinking, “But, I’m too busy to learn English.” I understand that. We’re all busy. But if your why is important, then consider making English more of a priority.
Additionally, do things in English instead of in your native language. For example, watch movies in English; do research in English; read books in English and change the language of your devices into English.
Step Five: Take Action and Stay Consistent
You have your ‘why’, goal, and plan of action. It’s time to take action.
Don’t wait to start. There won’t ever be a perfect time to learn English. The right time is now.
And once you start your plan, it’s important to stay consistent with it. Reaching an advanced level of English is a long-term project. Those who consistently learn English are those who progress over time.
I understand that you want to have a high level now. But think back one year: what if you have started this new plan one year ago? You would be speaking with confidence today.
So, invest in yourself now and stay consistent with your new fluency plan. Reaching a high level is all about doing lots of little things right. Start doing that today.
Jack is an English teacher and creates lessons and videos for English learners over at tofluency.com. You can download his book, “The Five-Step Plan for English Fluency” for free – click here to get your copy.