For those serious about learning English I suggest using what I’ve coined the “triple threat” learning approach to language studies. A stool needs three legs before you can sit on it, and learning a language requires a multi-disciplined approach.
Take an academic English program/course. Finding a reputable school or academy with a program that matches your learning objectives is the first step to language learning success. They should be able to provide quality learning materials, samples of student’s work before and after their program, an itinerary and ample opportunity to put the material your learning into action. Looked for TESOL based education programs that understand the process of how people learn second languages.
Work with a Tutor to target problem areas. The next step is finding a tutor who can meet with you one-on-one to target the areas you’re having problems with at the academy. They should be able to guide you to the point where you do the homework yourself, clarify any lessons you didn’t understand, polish your grammar, and hone your communication skills. Before going with anyone advertising themselves as a tutor, be sure to ask for their teaching credentials and experience, and references. If they can’t give you a quality reference, keep looking!
Find a language exchange partner, preferably a native speaker whom you can practice with. Practice makes perfect is especially true with language learning. They help you with pronunciation, gently correct your mistakes, teach you natural spoken English, slang and expressions. Try to find a language exchange partner that will either help you out of the kindness of their heart or one that you actually have to pay. To find a suitable companion who you can engage as a language exchange partner, consider: joining church groups, finding free language programs offered by immigration and government services, joining sports teams and other social groups; as well as placing ads in local newspapers and online. (When using the online approach, make sure to always meet in a coffee shop or other busy setting and never give away your address or personal information!)
For students in Seoul, South Korea, please see my schedules or contact me for available classes, tutoring and language exchange opportunities.