Well, the New Year is here. December is such a festive time in Heidelberg and throughout Germany, I hate to say goodbye to the Weinachtsmann, but he’s already gone, and handed the job over do the baby New Year. In the U.S. some of us start thinking about goals we want to set in the new year. I’ve had German friends tell me that it isn’t a German tradition, but let’s get the new year off to a good start by making improving your English a goal.
Now, is the time to put a routine in place. Start with 5 minutes a day. Bauenglish.com will give you fun short lessons or a discussion topic that can be completed in 5 minutes. Besides checking out Bauenglish, here are some quick lessons that take more or less 5+ minutes:
www.newsy.com Check out the news on newsy. You can hear the broadcast and read along as well as pick something of interest to you from their watchlist. You can watch the video and listen along while reading the text- five minutes and you will be up on international news.
http://www.ecenglish.com/learnenglish/ Sign-up and receive one new English lesson every day, delivered to your inbox.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/general/sixminute/ The BBC provides six minute English lessons to listen to and learn vocabulary -this is also an app. Six minute English offers general topics that can help with developing small talk conversation, as well as making you a bit more savvy on history and science.
http://www.macmillanreaders.com/reader_level/intermediate You can read for 5-10 minutes before you go to bed. Macmillian Readers are graded (elementary –advanced); you can buy them from Amazon, or order them from any of your favourite book store. If you have a Kindle Reader you can download them to your Kindle or smart phone.
http://www.audible.de/ Download a book from Audible and listen to it in the car as a cd or MP3 and learn English on your way to work. They have a 9.99 a month plan and you get one free audible. You can also just take advantage of their 30 day offer or pay as you go.
Create a routine, when you can’t do your five minutes of reading, translate a song in your head while you’re driving home from work. I am not listing sites that take more concentrated time and effort, but here are two more if you enjoy being social: Babbel is a site for language learners https://de.babbel.com/ that has a online community you can chat with, or you could go to http://www.meetup.com/find/and join a “stammtisch group” in your area, that has English conversation. They usually meet at a café, or go to a movie together.
Find ways to enjoy learning and make the language yours. Be creative. Heck, you can even try listening to English language tapes while you sleep. What is the message here? – You don’t have to do much, but you do have to do something.
ANNABELLE B-BAUMANN, Communication Coach
"Annabelle I've learned alot from you .....with your friendly art and your diversified lessons... it is never boring!!!" -Doris
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