Setting SMART goals

Do you have language goals? You should if you want to improve your English. Research shows that people who set goals are more likely to achieve success. Goals help you identify what you want to achieve, keep you focused on what’s important, save you time, and provide a way to measure your progress – which helps improve your motivation to learn more.

60 strategies to improve your English

This is a hodgepodge (a mixture) of strategies I often share with my students in Japan to encourage them to become more accountable for their own learning. Good language learners are very proactive. Do you use all these strategies? Are they any you think you should use more?


Recently, a Japanese acquaintance expressed surprise when I told her you could basically get a university education online for free. Of course, without paying you’d miss out on getting the piece of paper certifying your accomplishments, and you’d definitely miss out on networking opportunities and the irreplaceable aspect of face-to-face communication. Plus, you would unlikely get a great deal of personal feedback on any research papers you write. But the fact that technology has expanded access to knowledge is nothing short of amazing, and I thought I’d create this post to share some top resources I know of, so you learners out there know your options.

Circumlocution strategies

Part of communicating in a foreign language means that we have to negotiate meaning when we lack the vocabulary. The more you are able to apply circumlocution strategies, the faster you will learn new things and the more fluent you will become. This post includes some strategies to help you to get someone to guess the word you are thinking.

Control language

Language of Control or Control Language is a group of phrases you should memorize and start using right away to communicate in EFL (English as a Foreign Language). Using control language enables you to have control when talking with native speakers. Use the phrases to increase the rate at which you learn! This post includes a set of phrases for English (with Japanese translations), but if you are learning another language, find out what similar phrases would be in that language and learn those. At first, remembering just one phrase from each group is OK.