Tara’s ESL Blog: How to make English a Priority in your Free Time

How’s it going everybody! So, today I want to talk to you about your free time and learning English. Many students ask if it is necessary to study English outside of class. I respond with a question, “If you want to do something really well, must you put in the time and effort to become good at it?” The answer is always the same – YES. Even if you are a natural (born with the abilities) you still have to practice, a lot! As a student and teacher of foreign language it is my personal and professional opinion that the level of effort invested equals the level of language fluency achieved. Simply put:


I have a student from Brazil who is extremely devoted to his English learning. He only meets me for an hour every week, but in his free time he makes English a priority, part of his daily routine. He watches lots of YouTube videos, listens to lots of music, reads books and is an online (video) gamer – and he does all of this in English! Sometimes he goes to English speaking social gatherings in his local area, and on occasions he has even insisted on “English Fridays” at work. He has a social life, goes to university, has a full-time job, attends online English classes weekly, and still finds time to fit English into his day. For him English is not just for a job or school. It’s more like a hobby that has taken on the same importance as brushing your teeth or doing laundry – It became an essential part of his life. His attitude is what makes him successful.

Attitude makes a big difference.

Although you might not be able to find the time or the energy that my Brazilian student has, you CAN change the attitude you have towards the process. If you enjoy learning English and you make it a priority in your life, you will speak better English. So, how much of your free time should be used for English? How many hours of class per week is enough? Obviously, the more the better! If you can take three hours of class per week, and study for 30-60 minutes every other day, then this is great! But if that is not possible in your life then I suggest:

The Bare Minimum (= the least you can do)

AT LEAST 1 hour of 1-on-1 class per week

AT LEAST 20 minutes per day doing something that is enjoyable in English

So, what can you do to get the most out of those 20 minutes? To get you started with making English a priority in your life, I have put together some lists of my favorite ESL websites that I use in my classes and suggest to my students for use in their free time. There are resources for Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced students so there is something for everyone!

Click here, to see my Top 5 Lists

ESL YouTube Channels

ESL Book and Story Websites

News Websites for ESL Students

Speaking and Self-Expression Websites

Grammar and Vocabulary Websites

Pronunciation and Accent Websites

Fun and Unusual Websites

For more information about classes with me, please send an email to englishwithtaramusich@gmail.com