There are lots of ways to personalize your learning and study plan without signing up for expensive classes and committing to inconvenient schedules. Here's how you can learn English on your own, from home!
Develop good study habits
The biggest challenge for people learning English on their own is developing a study plan that they can stick to. It takes a long time to build proficiency in a new language, so staying motivated is really important!
Here are tips for getting into the habit of studying English on your own:
- Make a study plan that works for your schedule. Ideally, your study plan will allow you to do some lessons or practice English most days of the week, by doing a little at a time. That's much better for learning than binging for a couple of hours on Sunday!
- Set realistic expectations. Language learning is hard, and it takes a long time! Think about the proficiency level you'll need to achieve, and remember that you don't need to be "fluent" to be comfortable and conversational! For adults it can be uncomfortable and discouraging to feel "bad" at something, after we've spent so long sounding "grown up" in our first language. Go easy on yourself!
- Decide on personal goals to help you stay motivated. Setting smart goals will help you notice your progress. Consider what you want to do with English after a month, instead of looking a year ahead or to "fluency." Think about why you're studying English and what's important to you: Is it speaking with family? Studying in another country? Getting ahead in your career? Then set related goals, like: "After a month, I want to be able to recognize words on a menu" or "By the end of the summer, I want to ask my little cousins about their school."
Make Duolingo your personal tutor
You're motivated, you've set personal goals—now it's time to learn English! With Duolingo, you can study English for free with a course made especially for speakers of your language. The Duolingo English course was designed by English teachers and learning scientists, and we use AI to tailor our English content just for you. You'll get instant feedback on your responses and mistakes, and your practice sessions adapt to your strengths and weaknesses to keep you making progress.
Our English course is aligned to the Common European Framework of Reference for languages (CEFR), so you can be sure that you're learning the most important vocabulary and grammar to get you communicating. The current course includes B2 material—that's the upper intermediate level you'll need to get a job in English. You'll also find Duolingo's most sophisticated learning features, including pronunciation practice, advanced Stories, and Duolingo Podcasts for intermediate and advanced learners.
Build practice into your regular routine
You'll learn English best when you are interacting with it, so at-home learners should take advantage of their hobbies and daily routines for extra English practice. Incorporating English into your interests will make it easier to stay motivated and get practice throughout the day (instead of cramming lessons or classes just once a week)—and you'll be learning the English words and phrases most important to you!
To keep your learning fresh, engaging, and effective, mix up the ways you practice English. Doing the same things over and over again makes learning feel like a chore, so instead incorporate a variety of activities and balance the 4 skills you'll need in English: reading, writing, speaking, and listening.
Here are easy ways to get English practice throughout the day:
- Turn your favorite TV, movies, and music into English practice. Turn on subtitles the next time you're watching TV! You'll learn new words from context and will get a lot of practice reading fast. Naturally, TV and movies are a fun way to get listening practice, too. There are several different combinations of English audio and subtitles to test out, so you can find the right combination for your level and priorities! Advanced learners might be ready to try English audio *and* English subtitles. 👀
- Follow social media accounts that post in English. Adding English accounts to your usual scrolling helps you read (and learn!) a little English at a time. For extra practice, challenge yourself to write comments in English! You might start with a simple Great! or Cool, and as you get more comfortable, you can write more and even ask questions. Maybe you'll make posts of your own in English, too!
- Re-read books that you already know and love. Even familiar kids' books can make for good language practice, and being familiar with the characters and story makes it easier to pick up new vocabulary and grammar.
- Daydream about destinations in English-speaking countries. Even if you're not really planning a trip right now, you can have a lot of fun with English by exploring city streets on Google Maps, reading articles about top restaurants at the destination, and checking out websites (and menus!) in English.
- Build personalized English-language playlists. Music is a great way to get used to the sounds of English! It's also helpful for early learners to get used to the rhythm of the language, even if they don't understand what they're humming along to yet. The catchiness and repetition of music also means you'll be practicing in your head long after you've closed Spotify.
- Change your phone's language for authentic practice. Intermediate and advanced learners will find that setting your phone to English makes vocabulary learning easy because you already know the apps, buttons, and menus so well!
- Take notes in English. Part of the challenge of writing is just knowing what words go together, so there are a lot of benefits to writing to yourself. For example, start writing your shopping list in English—it'll really help you remember the English words for your favorite foods! Anything you put in your Notes app can be written in English, whether it's personal reminders, to-do lists, or even your own personal reviews of restaurants. Best of all, if you're an intermediate learner who has changed your phone's language, you'll automatically get English corrections and autocompletes.
Make your home your personal classroom!
All the tools you need to study English on your own are right at your fingertips! Find the combination of study habits and fun practice activities that work best for your schedule and learning goals. Start learning English today!