Learning anything on your own is hard, and learning a language independently can seem even more challenging.
So, the theme for our first Members-only session of the new decade (yes, the decade does start in 2021, not 2020) was “Strategies for Independent English Learners”.
Before the meeting, everyone was asked what was the hardest thing was about learning English independently.
The main themes included:
“I have trouble motivating myself to study”
“I would like a 'path' to follow”
“I don’t have anyone to practise speaking with”
“I don’t know when I’m making mistakes”
If you’re an independent learner, these problems will probably not surprise you.
So, instead of throwing our hands up into the air in despair, we asked ourselves “well, what can we actually do about it”.
In the session we started with an introduction from me on some of the strategies I recommend as an independent learner - from the importance of building your own course through to not defaulting to passive activities (and instead, doing things like Shadowing).
Then came the fun part.
We split into three smaller groups, with a great mix of nationalities, to allow everyone to share their ideas on what strategies they have used, what works for them, what doesn’t work for them, and what they would recommend to other members of the group.
I went from (virtual) room to (virtual) room, and there were some fantastic ideas.
From a suggestion on how to create your own immersive English environment through to the best places to find an English conversation partner, from why one member swears by printing out all her materials through to a great suggestion about a place to improve your English speaking, from tips on how to fit English into a busy schedule to the pros and cons of Shadowing, there were some excellent ideas.
After splitting into three smaller groups, we came back together as a larger group to share ideas.
The time flew by, but I certainly found it to be an extremely valuable session, and I left feeling energised and excited about the future of independent English learning.
Learning English independently can feel lonely, but having a supportive community and sharing ideas about how to do it effectively can make it a truly magical experience.
Our members-only sessions happen every month, and are a great way to exchange ideas and practice English in a friendly, interesting environment.
If you would like to attend the next one, you should consider becoming a member of Leonardo English.
Want to know all of our tips about learning English independently? You might like our guide on How To Learn English On Your Own.