Helpful links for learning English

I think the Internet is a great place to find information, especially websites where you can practice and improve your English.

One of the first places I'd suggest you get try to get help is The British Council. The purpose of this organisation is to promote Great Britain, and so they will have an office in every capital, and possibly other major cities. The British Council isn't just a great place to find help for learning English, but will also help you if you want to do business with or in the UK. They will help you find language schools close to your work or home, as they have 110 offices around the World. Each office has lots of materials; books, CDs and anything else you need to help with your learning.

The British Council also links with support material for both learners and teachers.

The BBC is another big organisation that has offices in most capital cities around the World. You can set you own location from their home page. With the news provided in 33 languages, the International version of the BBC is especially helpful for learners. The BBC isn't just a TV station or news organisation. They also have a website simply to help people learn the English language.

One of the best ways to improve your English is to watch and listen to different programmes. You can use your TV and the Internet to watch a wide range of programmes.

To understand English, I think it's especially helpful to listen to the BBC World Service on the radio. If you follow this link to the BBC World Service, you can enter your nearest major city and find out which frequency to use to tune your radio to in your car, home and office. The BBC World Service also broadcasts some radio programmes every day especially for people who speak English as a second language. They broadcast the international news in English but spoken more slowly, with easier words to help learners understand more.

When I taught English in the Czech Republic I recorded several radio programmes and used these in my lessons each week. One of the best radio programmes was for pop music, in which they explained the words to a song that was being played at the time. They'd discuss the slang and what it all meant. My teenage and university students loved these lessons in the afternoon. If your teacher isn't using the radio or recordings, tell them to contact the British Council who will have a list of programmes that are broadcast each day. You can of course also do this yourself because listening to English on your car radio is also free.

There are lots of websites with help and advice about learning English. If you're especially interested in getting internationally recognised qualifications, then I'd suggest you visit the Cambridge ESOL website. The Business English Certificate (BEC) is available at three levels, with the lowest being slightly easier than the First Certificate in English (FCE). For anyone wanting to work in the UK or another country where English is the first language, I'd certainly recommend you complete the BEC or the FCE, even if it isn't a legal requirement. Here is a link to books and learning materials for the BEC.

I will continually update this page by adding more websites that I recommend and help for improving your English.

Help for learners in Central Europe

Czech Republic
Go to www.bridge-online.cz where you will find information about an English magazine in the Czech language. They produce a very interesting magazine with lots of articles, each with a Czech-English key word help section. You also get a CD with each magazine, which has some listening exercises. You can buy the magazine each month for less than 50CZK. You can e-mail the Bridge magazine at: bridge@bridge-online.cz to find out more information.

Slovakia
There's a Slovak company called Foreign Language Publications; www.flp.sk that print 4 magazines in English, French and German. The English magazines are called Friendship and Hello. You can look at them on their website and also download some articles from all of these magazines before you decide whether to subscribe to them. The price is even less than the magazine in the Czech Republic.