3 minute read

I was asked to speak at Ha Huy Tap High School in Vinh. They have an English club. The topic of the meeting is how to learn English effectively. These are my speaking notes. I haven’t finished writing this post. It’s meant to go along with my talk. For now, anyone can use this to get better at English.


Effective for you might be different for someone else

Try different study techniques

What works best for you?

Start a new technique, define what success looks like

For example, Are you better at remembering words by writing them instead of reading them?

Make English part of your life

Do what you enjoy, but do it in English

For example, do you like video games? Play them in English

Do you like music? Listen to songs in English

Learn more about your hobbies and interests but in English


Learn English as a tool to complete a goal

For example, your goal is to go to university in another country

Tool you’re using to complete that goal is English

When you look at English as a tool, it’s easier to focus

Make an English study schedule

Stick to it

Each study item should have: What you’re doing and which skill it’s practicing

For example, every Wednesday night at 9 I will complete 3 Lingoclip songs to get better at listening


Be persistent and don’t give up

Lisa’s Study Guides on YouTube


Don’t be afraid to talk to foreigners

You will still be alive after you talk with them

Ask simple OPEN questions like, “What do you think about Vietnam?”

CLOSED question example: “ Do you like Vietnam?” (closed questions can be answered with yes/no)

OPEN questions are better


Sid Efromovich and SHOWER TALK

5 techniques to speak any language by Sid Efromovich on YouTube

Go to English clubs often (make it a habit, go every week)

List of English clubs in Vinh on my website

Use apps like Tandem and Speaky (talk with people the same sex as you who are close to your age with shared hobbies, don’t share your location)

tandem.net and speaky.com

Talk with your teachers, friends and family in English often

Ask OPEN questions

Have conversations, not just 1 or 2 sentences


Try casual, easy games even if you’re not a gamer

For example, Verb Smash


Real English for Gamers


Langarcade on YouTube

Change the language of your game to English

Talk with other people in English when playing online multiplayer games (chatting or voice chatting)



YouTube videos, movies, shows, anime

Watch with subtitles and without

Learn English with TV Series on YouTube

Friends, Harry Potter, Stranger Things


Make list of new words every 2 weeks

Practice pronunciation every night before bed for 10 minutes

Use ELSA Speak and Google to check your pronunciation


Search Google for “how to say (new word)”

Getting better at pronunciation is like going to the gym


Keep a notebook of new words

Write the English and Vietnamese translations

Make example sentences with them

Put them on the wall next to your bed so you see them often

Don’t let the new words die in your notebook

Use new words in conversation to make them part of your life

Use Google to check your pronunciation


WebToons and other webcomics


Pictures help you understand what’s happening in the story

Find a webcomic with a story you’re interested in


Keep a simple journal (write in it every night)

Try writing short stories of your life experiences

Use Grammarly to check your grammar



Improve your English skills along with your self-confidence (talk in English as much as you can)

Take initiative (seek out foreigners to talk with)

Be proactive (complete your self-study schedule consistently)

Be persistent (don’t give up)

Students page on Sean’s website for more advice