Learn English by Learning to Program


I’ve written about learning new skills such as cooking and learning the specialist vocabulary can help you get great English. How about computer programming? You like computers and the internet because you’re using a computer now (even a phone is a computer nowadays) unless you had someone print out this page for you. Why not learn to program using English?

Learning a few basics about programming or web design is not difficult to do. If you make mistakes, it is really difficult to break your computer unless you are trying to change your computer’s basic functions.

Codecademy is an interesting place to start practising basic programming and all of the instructions are in English.

W3Schools is a useful site for practising web design and Javascript programming.

You could also look into programming Ruby or Python because both have large communities discussing problem solving in English.

Stack Overflow is also a useful site for solving problems. One of my former students said he improved his English by reading Stack Overflow every day.

Use Kindle and Kobo to Study English


Even if you don’t own an e-book reader (or ebook reader), you can still download free samples to your smartphone or your computer.

Download the app and go shopping in the Kindle store or the Kobo store (search for your local store) and download free samples of books. You’ll need to sign up but if it’s useful for you, it’s not really a big deal. You have the ability to highlight and search dictionaries for the words you don’t understand, which you can’t do in the middle of a real book shop.

You can then take notes in Evernote or make word cards.

How to Shop Online in English


You can shop online using your own language but sometimes you want to buy something that is only on sale from an English website. It isn’t difficult to shop online in English but it is sometimes tricky to understand what to do. Remember only to use websites you trust.

Choose the item

Choose the item you want to buy. Make sure you choose the right colour (‘color’ on American websites) and size.

Check out

On every website there’s a check out or check-out link. This is where you finally buy the item, like taking it to the cashier in a ‘real’ shop.

First, you will need to sign up (join) with an email address, maybe a username and password. You will need to give your address, too. Some websites do not deliver internationally.

Pay for your goods

You’ll need a credit card. Here are some diagrams with the information you need.

Card number, Expiry date, Cardholder's name

Sometimes the expiry date is called the ‘Expiration date‘ or is labelled ‘Expires‘.

You’ll also need the security code which is the last three numbers on the back of your card on the signature strip.

Security number/security code. The last three digits of the number on the back of your card.

If you use a Visa or Mastercard, your card company may ask you more questions in your own language.

Give the delivery address

You need to write your address or the person you want to deliver it to. As I said above, some websites do not deliver internationally. Other websites that sell very expensive items may only deliver to the cardholder’s address.

You might also choose your delivery options, such as express delivery or cheap delivery.

Check your information

Next, make sure you have the right address, the right card information, the right price and also the right item, colour and size and number of the item.

Proceed, and wait

Your item should arrive soon and you should get an email to tell you when it will arrive.

Using Web Apps for Study

Since I became a teacher I have been interested in how people use technology to help them study. When I was setting up this website and the social media that I use to let people know about it, I found some interesting ways to use Pinterest and Evernote for language study.

Use Pinterest as a Picture Dictionary


Some people use Pinterest as a visual dictionary. This is an interesting way to study vocabulary and helps you to study by remembering words with pictures even if you can’t draw.

If you use Pinterest, you should follow my English pinboard.

Use Evernote as your Internet Notebook

If you use Evernote, you can take photographs of paper notes, posters and signs and search for the text in the photographs. You can also add web pages, emails, document files and audio. It syncs between devices easily. There is a post on the Evernote blog about how to use it to study in more detail here.

Why not join Evernote by clicking here.