Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Skills for Learning

English Language & Academic English

Overview

When and where you learnt English will have influenced how you were taught. There are many different methodologies in use around the world. This, and how much you have used English, will influence your language proficiency. Have you noticed differences between what you learnt and how language is used in the UK? Then these resources will be a useful starting point for you. 

We run interactive workshops to help you develop your academic skills. Find out more on the Skills for Learning Workshops page.

We have online academic skills modules within MyBeckett for all levels of university study. These modules will help your academic development and support your success at LBU. You can work through the modules at your own pace, revisiting them as required. Find out more from our FAQ What academic skills modules are available?

Where do I start?

Reflect on your language strengths and weaknesses. You can book an appointment to discuss this in more detail. Common issues can be areas such as vocabulary, fluency or pronunciation. It is important to remember that there are many aspects to language proficiency. Identify areas for improvement and follow the guidance on this page. You will soon feel more confident. Many of the activities have been adapted from this book on learning languages: 

Nation, P. (2014) What do you need to know to learn a foreign language? 

How do I improve?

To study at a British university, you need to be proficient in using English. All aspects of this are important for your studies.

Academic English is a more specialised use of language for studying. It builds on your general language proficiency and any weaknesses can affect your studies. For example, if you have pronunciation issues, an academic presentation might be difficult. Apply these language learning principles to the aspects of your English you would like to improve.

Improving your English

Choose the aspect you want to improve and follow the guidance. Set yourself regular goals and keep records so that you can see your progress. 

ACCORDION: Converted tabs - this tab opens by default
ACCORDION OPTIONS: enable collapse / start fully collapsed

Tips 

  • Use a monolingual dictionary, such as the Longman Dictionary, as well as a translating one so you can read and listen to examples. 
  • Focus on the most common written and spoken words which are highlighted in the Longman Dictionary.
  • Learn words which are often used together (collocations). 
  • Learning new vocabulary is a big task. 

Listen to this advice from the British Council about learning vocabulary.

Download this worksheet to help you improve your vocabulary.

Tips 

  • Focus on improving your grammar through using language rather than, for example, doing exercises. 
  • Reading and listening allow you to meet common grammatical structures. 
  • Speaking and writing allow you to try out new constructions and develop your confidence. 

Download this worksheet to help you improve your grammar.

Tips 

  • Focus on achieving comprehensible pronunciation rather than native-like pronunciation. 
  • Focus on the English sounds which don’t exist in your language. 
  • The sounds of many words change when they are part of connected speech, and this is normal. 
  • Notice to the stress pattern of words (ba.NA.na – 3 syllables with the stress on the middle syllable) and copy.

Download this worksheet to help you improve your pronunciation. 

Tips 

  • To improve your fluency, you should repeat the same material several times. 
  • If you feel nervous, try pretending to be someone else. 
  • Learn by listening to other people speaking.

Download this worksheet to help you improve your fluency when speaking. 

Tips 

  • Choose easy topics you are familiar with and interested in. 
  • Use short recordings at first and increase the length as you improve. 
  • Work in a quiet environment and make sure you are relaxed.

Download this worksheet to help you improve your fluency when listening. 

Tips 

  • Read lots of easy and familiar material. 
  • Read for at least a few minutes every day.
  • Read books in English you have previously read in your own language.

Download this worksheet to help you improve your fluency when reading. 

Tips 

  • Read as much as possible to improve your writing. 
  • Be positive about feedback and use it to improve. 
  • Write a diary every day. 

Download this worksheet to help you improve your fluency when writing. 

Further resources for English Language

Books in LBU Library

Web resources