For those looking to move to Canada, writing and speaking skills in English are a must. In fact, most visas to live in Canada require a demonstrated skill in English, often shown through a high enough mark on a standardized English Test like the IELTS (International English Language Testing System). Before you take that test, here are some ways you can improve your English skills.
Follow English Social Media Accounts and Content Creators
For those looking to immigrate to Canada from non-English speaking countries, most of the content you consume online is probably in your native tongue. One small step you can take to immerse yourself in the English language is changing your online habits. By following English creators, you can substitute part of the screen time you use for creators that use your native language for content that can help teach your English. Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok – you probably consume content on one of these platforms. English-speaking creators can help improve both your English-speaking and reading skills.
Subtitles are your friend
It’s never been easier to (A) watch content in other languages or (B) watch content in your primary language in a way that helps you learn another. The reason why it’s never been easier to do those things are subtitles, which through services like Netflix are widely accessible for streaming. When South Korean Director Bong Joon Ho won the 2015 Best Foreign Language Film Golden Globe award for Parasite, he famously said the following in his acceptance speech:
Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films. Just being nominated along with fellow, amazing international filmmakers was a huge honour. I think we use only one language: the cinema.
Subtitles, which can be distracting at first, are a great way to hone your English skills. Be it watching an English-language show with subtitles in your own language or a movie in your native language with English subtitles, you’ll be learning English and engaging with art at the same time. Push through the initial discomfort of subtitles, and not only will your love for art grow richer, but your English skills as well.
Gamify your English learning experience
When it comes to learning a new language or skill, you can’t escape good old-fashioned studying with textbooks, workbooks, or lectures. However, to supplement that “hard” learning, you can do “soft” learning through way of gamification. Gamification is “adding game mechanics into nongame environments, like a website, online community, learning management system or business’ intranet to increase participation.”
Even if you don’t know gamification, you’ve heard of it. For example, a well-known app that combines gamification with language learning is Duolingo. Duolingo has millions of users across the globe, learning languages such as Russian, Korean, French, and yes – English. The game rewards you for completing language tasks every day by way of streaks, and lessons adjust depending on your competency in the language. If you get bored of black-and-white textbooks, the colourful, quick language lessons in Duolingo are a great substitution.
Of course, Duolingo is not the only gamified language learning app out there. Lingodeer is a great app that uses gamification to help beginners learn languages such as English. Another great gamified language learning app is Knudge.me, which has three competency-based levels. The higher levels are specifically made to help users get the grade they need for English tests such as the IELTS.
IELTS and other English Language Courses
Like we said above – gamification and consuming content to help learn English is great – but nothing replaces good old-fashioned learning. That old-fashioned learning helps you master the IELTS, which countries such as Canada use frequently as a requirement for visas.
Now, the great thing about the IELTS is that it because it measures English skills, you can study for the IELTS through all the methods above. However, especially for those who are starting with little English aptitude, your needs for “hard” studying cannot be neglected. Thus, it is important to engage in more formal methods of education, such as tutoring or enrolling in IELTS and English classes, in order to properly prepare yourself for the visa application process.
At SkilledWorker.com, we offer 6-month IELTS courses, paired with toolkits of the best resources available, to prepare you for test day. We have a General IELTS Course, an Academic IELTS Course, as well sub-courses in each category to hone in on specific skills such as speaking, listening, reading, or writing. Maximize your ability to learn English and come to SkilledWorker to take your English education to the next level.