How To Learn English: The P.L.A.N.E. English Method

To have another language is to possess a second soul. ~ Charlemagne

Learning a little English is easy. Anybody can learn some new vocabulary words or memorize a few phrases. But understanding the language perfectly and expressing yourself fluently like a top language-learning maven is hard. That’s just life.

Frankly, there are a thousand different teachers out there who can tell you how to learn English. There are a thousand different methods. The best one for you is the one that works for you.

How To Learn English

Girls Studying The English Language

In this article, I’d like to share with you what works for me and the thousands of English students I’ve taught over the past decade. One of my most popular courses is ‘How to Learn English Online’ using what I call The P.L.A.N.E. English Method. It’s actually the most popular course on my site, and I’ve taught it to 500 students in a single month. So, you can guess that a lot of people have found it useful. But you may not, and that’s fine by me.

Look it over, decide what might work for you, and ignore the rest! Different students learn different ways. So, if this method gets you rolling, I’ll be happy. So, I’ll do my best to explain my way of planning and organizing your studies. But in the end, you get to be the final judge of what works best for you. Have fun…and learn lots of English.

The Scientific Formula for English Learning Success

Did you know that there is a Scientific Formula for learning English successfully? I want to share it with you so that you can improve your skills and learn English online. It’s quite simple actually, and it’s just like any other formula.

Plan + Praxis ( P + L + A + N + E ) = Fluency

That’s it. It just means that you need a solid plan to achieve your goals and a Daily English Praxis to follow-up on that plan while developing positive habits that make your goals come to pass as you learn how to improve English speaking language skills.

Your How To Learn English Plan

The first thing you should do to learn English is develop a solid plan to reach your language goals because it will give you focus and direction. Now, the planning is the easy part. You can create a solid plan fairly quickly.

See, the problem is that students have different reasons for learning English. For example, one student may want to travel to New York while another just wants to read magazines for fun. But they end up signing up for the same course and study the same material. Even though that particular course or material may be appropriate for one student, it may not necessarily be the best for another. Soon one of those students won’t feel like they’re progressing. Then they’ll get frustrated and soon give up.

So, if you want to learn the language efficiently, you must define your objective, develop a clear plan to reach it, and set goals that keep you on track. Read my article on ‘How To Create The Perfect English Learning Planwith the three downloadable worksheets here.

Your Daily English Praxis

Now, it’s time to put your plan into action and learn to speak English. This will take dedication and discipline. It will require the use of your ‘Daily English Praxis’ to make sure you complete your plan and hit your goals.

Now don’t worry! Your Daily English Praxis isn’t complicated or difficult. A ‘praxis’ just means that you do something frequently and consistently. By doing something often, it becomes a habit. And creating positive habits are the key to your success because they make things easier and automatic. It’s like learning to tie your shoes or drive your car. At first they seem hard and require a lot of attention. But as time goes on, it gets easier and easier.

The more you do your Daily English Praxis, the easier learning English on line will get. If you are persistent and stick with it, you will develop a new a habit. Soon learning and practicing English will become almost second nature to you. You’ll be flying almost on auto-pilot.

The P.L.A.N.E. English Method

So now, you’re probably asking yourself what your Daily English Praxis involves. What habits should you develop? How can make sure that you stick to your plan and motivate yourself to stick with it? We’re going to focus on five specific things you should do each day. This will help those of you who are asking, “How Can We Learn English?” You can remember them easily by remembering the word P.L.A.N.E. These are:

  • Prepare
  • Learn
  • Activate
  • Network
  • Evaluate

That’s it. Just focus on doing these five things each day during your language study time and watch yourself steadily progress towards English learning success. Here’s a downloadable Cheat Sheet you can print off and stick on your wall to remember them each day. So, now let’s look at each of these things in a little more detail.

P.L.A.N.E #1: Prepare Thyself

Each day you will need to prepare yourself. Don’t just jump into things haphazardly. Make a ritual out of your study time. Now, that doesn’t mean it has to be some sort of magical or even boring routine. Ritual just means that what you are doing is significant to you. This is the time you are setting aside each day to reach your goals. This is your time to improve your English. It’s your time to make your dreams come true.

Prepare Your Study Area

So, the first thing I recommend you do is get away to a quiet place. Find a place where you can focus and concentrate on learning the English language. Go ahead and clear your study area. Get rid of any and all distractions. Turn off your cell phone if possible. Log off Facebook. Turn off your instant messengers.

Review Your English Learning Goals

Now, take a minute to review your short, mid, and long-term goals. This will rekindle the flames of passion and interest in your learning. Remember, this is your big ‘Why’. It will provide you with motivation to continue. And it will also provide clarity of focus in what you need to study and learn. I recommend using Simpleology free tools to keep track of the goals you set.

Set Your Daily Learning Targets

Take a few moments to decide what you are going to study today. Think about your goals and what you can do to take the next step towards reaching your short-term goal. This will lead you closer to your English learning success. Now go ahead and write them down, so you don’t forget them later. Simpleology also has a great free to-do list you can use to set your targets with as well.

Gather Your English Learning Material

Go ahead and gather your material before you start studying. Get your dictionaries, grammar books, worksheets, exercises, CDs, DVDs, English magazines, and study guides. Also, make sure you have plenty of paper, pencils, pens, etc. And don’t forget your laptop, MP3 player, electronic translator, or any other fancy English learning gadgets you have handy. Otherwise, you could easily be distracted each time you get up to go find something later. You can download the English material we create here at EXLenglish if you are a VIP Member.

P.L.A.N.E #2: Learn The Language

Good! So, now you’re psychologically prepared. You also know what you need to learn today, so it’s time to get started. The P.L.A.N.E. English Method is not exclusive to any single material. You probably have a lot of speaking English course books on the shelf already. Dust them off and get them ready for use. So, let me share a few ideas to help those who are asking, “How can I learn English?”

Study Any Material You Have On The Topic You Want To Learn

Let’s say, for example, you want to learn how to answer the telephone in English. If you have a book that teaches that information already, then go ahead and use it. Learn the words and practice the dialogues. If you don’t have any material readily available that will help you learn what you need…then do a quick search on Google to find some lesson plans or worksheets you can use.

Read To Increase Your Vocabulary

You need to learn new words in English and increase your vocabulary because a better vocabulary will allow you to express yourself well. Reading is a fantastic way to increase your English vocabulary because it will allow you to study the words in context so you will master the sentence structures and learn how to speak in English properly.  While reading underline words you don’t know. Read several texts with a similar theme that may contain that word. You can easily find them by searching on Google. Try to learn the new words by understanding how they are used in context. If you still don’t understand them, then go ahead and look them up in a good English dictionary like Babylon. Keep track of the new words you are learning in a notebook to review later.

Listen To Audio To Improve Your Pronunciation

If you really want to improve your spoken English skills, then you will need to learn how to pronounce the words correctly as well. So, it will be extremely beneficial if you look for texts that have audio files. That way you can hear the pronunciation of the words you are learning. One simple way to do this is to find podcasts on the internet with transcripts for you to follow along with while listening by running a search on Google. You can also create exercises with your audios to practice speaking in English. I’ve created an ‘Exercise Model To Learn And Practice English’ worksheet to teach you 16 different kinds of exercises you can create.

Write Out Your Own Transcript To Grasp The Sentence Structures

If your goal is to improve your writing skills or learn how to spell better, then I also recommend that you write out a transcript of the audio as well. Just listen to a phrase and then pause the audio. Try to write what you heard. Listen to the phrase again and make any changes. Continue doing this phrase by phrase. Once you have finished go back and compare what you wrote to the original transcripts that came with your audio. See if there are words that you forgot or misspelled. If so, practice writing them a few times correctly to learn them well. You can even use grammar and spell-checking tools like Whitesmoke or Grammarly to correct your mistakes.

Practice Dialogues And Speak With Robots To Develop Fluency

I’m also assuming here that one of your goals will be to begin speaking in English with other people. And most students I know are afraid of making mistakes and embarrassing themselves when speaking spoken English. However, it is important to develop this skill soon as possible. It’s the fastest way to learn a language. So, the best way to prepare yourself to speak spoken English with real people is to practice dialogues ahead of time. If you are really shy and or don’t have anyone to practice with yet, then you can chat with robots. You can find robots that talk in English…like Tutor Mike. You can practice asking them questions and answering them. This can really help to boost your confidence.

Study English Grammar To Develop Proficiency

I recommend that you try to learn how the language works though use and practice as much as possible…just like little kids who learn their mother-tongue without studying a grammar book. However, there will be times that you’ll have specific questions about the language structures or verb conjugations that a simple explanation will help you understand English better. So, I definitely recommend you study a bit of English grammar in these situations to learn to communicate correctly. Just make sure to practice what you are learning a lot. Try to find grammar books like ‘Essential English Grammar In Use’ with lots of exercises for you to really grasp how the language is used.

Using English Learning Mini-Stories

Students always want to know how to learn and speak English. And part of the secret in using stories because that is how we communicate in any language. So, you’ll notice that I like to teach English with mini-story lessons because it helps students learn English naturally and in context just like native speakers. Learning the English language with mini-stories really helps my student learn faster and develop fluency much more easily.

If you are interested in learning more about learning English with mini-stories and how they can help you develop fluency faster, you can find out more about them from the links above.

P.L.A.N.E #3: Activate Your New English Knowledge and Skills

You’ve already learned many new things today. Now you have to get out and practice them because practice makes perfect and permanent. You can learn many things. But if you don’t practice them and use them, you will soon forget them. Practicing what you learn is important to speaking English fluently and proficiently.

Language Is Culture

The big secret is to focus on learning and practicing English on line by doing things you enjoy. This will motivate you to keep studying. This is because language is all about culture…which means that to learn English well you have to like something about the culture. It’s important to find things about the culture and people that you identify with and motivate you to continue learning. This is why the obvious things that most students like…such as watching movies, listening to music, and playing video games are so powerful. However, there are over 90 different ways for you to learn and practice the English language. Try many different things and see which ways to learn English work best for you.

Learn About Things You Like…In English

Something else I recommend, is that you study about topics that you already have an interest in…only that you learn in English. This means that you aren’t trying to learn about the English language…you simply use the English language as a medium to learn about something else that interests you. This is also extremely powerful because you learn about two things you enjoy at the same time which provides you with extra motivation to continue. Let’s take a look at a practical example to help you understand this better.

Example of A Guitar-Playing English Student

I’m currently learning how to play the guitar so it’s an easy example for me to use. So, let’s say that you want to learn how to play the guitar too.  So, you can continue learning how to play the guitar, just that now you learn in English. First, you could read a few articles about guitar playing to learn new vocabulary and see how they are used in context. And you listen to some podcasts or watch to develop your listening skills. You can also leave comments as you practice your writing skills. Other people will reply and you can become friends with them. Then you can add them to your social networks to keep in touch with them. As your friendships develop you can even speak English with them on Skype or MSN. Once you get to this level, your English skills will really begin to take off.

Share You Knowledge With Others

You could even start your own blog in English about the thing that you. Or you could even start your own blog about your English studies. You can talk about the things you are learning and even point out resources that will benefit other English students. You can answer their “how can I learn English language vocabulary, grammar, or pronunciation questions. Not only will you improve, but others will help correct mistakes that you make. This will help you learn even more rapidly. The big benefit is that you will also be the person everybody looks up to. Instead of you having to go out looking for friends, they will join your social network. They will initiate the conversations. You may soon have more friends than you can handle.

P.L.A.N.E #4: Network With Other English Students, Mavens, & Teachers

So, you can see that it is important to develop your own Personal English Network of people you speak English with every day. This will help those of you who are asking, “How do you speak English – or rather with whom do you speak English?” I recommend you find at least 12 people you can speak English with on a regular basis. I think twelve is a good number because that way you can talk to at least two people a day. If you contact them too often, they could find you irritating. If you don’t contact them enough, then you lose touch, and your friendship doesn’t develop. Here are some ideas for people you can add to your Personal English Network:

  • English students from your country – They speak your own native language and can help you when you have questions or doubts.
  • English students from other countries – They are learning a new language too and you won’t feel tempted to speak them in your mother-tongue.
  • English mavens who have learned English fluently – They can give you great tips because they understand the difficulties you face.
  • Native English speakers – They speak perfect English which will help you improve your pronunciation and reduce your accent.
  • English teachers – They are professionals and can help you with questions and doubts that other students might not know how to help you with.

Even if you only contact each person once a week, you still have plenty of people to speak English with each day.

How To Make Friends With English Teachers and Native Speakers

If you don’t have money to pay a private teacher, or don’t know how to talk to native English speakers it’s okay. Remember, this is about making friends you can practice with. Right? You could make friends with English teachers or native speakers who like playing the guitar too. You can talk with them about playing the guitar in English. Or if you are really good, you could offer to teach them to play the guitar if they help you with your English.

Jump Into Language Learning & English Speaking Forums

You should also find a few language-learning forums you can get involved in to develop your Personal English Network. There are English learning forums like UsingEnglish, EnglishForums, and the EnglishClub Forums where you will find other English students and mavens who want to know how to learn English. You can also learn a lot about language learning in general in forums like How To Learn Any Language and Unilang. Make sure to participate in forums about your own language. You can help native English speakers who want to learn your mother-tongue and add them to your Personal English Network as well.

Some Extra Language Learning Advice From Other Mavens

If you’d like more advice about speaking English from day 1, I recommend you take a look at Benny’s Language Hacking Guide. He’s an awesome multi-lingual maven you can learn a lot about languages from. Or you can take a look at Robby’s English Harmony system focused specifically on spoken English.

P.L.A.N.E #5: Evaluate Your Progress For The Day

Finally, at the end of your Daily English Praxis…evaluate how you did and what you learned. This will help you see your progress. Seeing real progress is important to keep up your motivation because you’ll be able to see that you are learning the language. Even though you don’t speak fluent English yet…you still know that you are moving towards your goal.

Observe The Things That Are Helping As Well As Hindering Your Progress

Also, it is important to pay attention to the things that are helping you…as well as the things that are slowing you down.  Pay attention to the things you do that really help you learn English. Increase your time invested in things that help you reach your goals. If something isn’t helping you reach your goals then eliminate it. Stop wasting time on things that don’t help you learn English. This is very important to help you stay focused and on track.

Make Note Of Problems And Difficulties

Now, go ahead and make note of the difficulties and problems you faced today. This will help you see areas you can work on tomorrow to improve your English. Did you see or hear words you didn’t understand? Was there a sound that you couldn’t pronounce? Write these things down so you’ll remember to study them tomorrow. This already preparation for tomorrow’s Daily English Praxis. You already know what you need to learn next.

Organize Your Material And Resources

And finally go ahead and organize your study material from today. That way you can come back every few days or weeks to review them. So, keep things organized in a way you can easily find them later. I’ve created a simple ‘English Exercise Classification Model Worksheet’ to help you out. It’s very simple…because I like simplicity as you can probably already tell. However, you can feel free to adapt and personalize it as you see fit.

On The Road To English Learning Success

So, there you have it. The complete Scientific Formula for English Learning Success. If you followed my suggestions, you should have chosen your objective, created a plan, and set your goals. All you have to do now is follow through on it with your Daily English Praxis to develop positive habits that will help you learn English much more quickly, easily, and efficiently while developing your Personal English Network. Here’s a Cheat Sheet you can download and print to remember the P.L.A.N.E. English Method.

How To Learn English Based On Your Level

Alright! So, now you know what the P.L.A.N.E English method is and are ready to put it to use. Now, it’s important to realize that you can put it to use no matter what your level of English skills are. So, no matter where you are or how far you’ve already come, you can still get started today and put the method to work for you. Let’s look at some practical ways to get started.

How Can I Learn English As A Basic English Student

Focus on learning vocabulary and basic sentence structures to express yourself in English correctly. It is also important to develop your listening comprehension. This is the first ability a child develops when learning their mother-tongue. And it’s important to help you learn to pronounce the words and speak English properly.

As you develop your Personal English Network, focus on English students who speak your mother-tongue. They will understand your difficulties, and they can answer basic questions that you wouldn’t know how to ask in English yet. The sooner you can get over the fear of speaking in English, the faster you will develop. Even if you only know a few phrases at first, just greet them and introduce yourself. You’ll already be developing your network even while you practice what you are learning.

How Can I Learn English As An Intermediate English Student

Focus on lots of conversation and dialogues. Since you’ve learned the basics, now you can start to get fancy. I recommend you read a lot to try doubling or even tripling your vocabulary. This will help you learn words you don’t know so you can use them when you speak.  Also, continue learning new sentence structures and grammar rules to express yourself more clearly and proficiently. Try learning better and more efficient ways to express yourself in specific situations. That way you will begin to sound more fluid and natural.

One of the best ways to learn is by making mistakes. If you make a mistake and someone corrects you, be very grateful and thank them for it. They are helping you learn. And that is awesome. So, as you develop your Personal English Network, begin to add more ESL students from other countries so you don’t feel tempted to speak in your mother-tongue. You could even look for some native speakers if you feel ready.

How To Learn English As An Advanced English Student

Focus on key areas you are still having trouble with. Take a standardized test like the TOEFL or FCE to find out what your current level is and figure out what you need to do to take your English to the next level. Are there grammar structures you need to master that will help you speak much more correctly and proficiently? Do you have a strong accent and need tools to help you reduce your accent and improve your pronunciation? Or you could even take some English for Specific Purpose courses or workshops.

Also, develop your Personal English Network by finding several native speakers you can talk with who have different accents. Make friends with people from England, the United States, Australia, Canada, etc. That way you’ll be able to understand people from different parts of the world. Try to immerse yourself in the language as much as possible.

What’s Next?

So, there you have it! Now you just actually have to apply what you learned here. Create your English learning plan and then apply your Daily English Praxis. To help you out, I’ve also created a couple of extra resources for you like the Free English Learning Software Guide and the ESL Resource Links for Learning English Online. You can even see what Wikepedia says about how to learn English.

If you really want to give your English learning a boost, then I highly recommend the English learning mini-stories that we’ve been developing for our students. They have almost all of the elements I’ve mentioned above to help you learn and improve your English. I’ve had students who have been able to talks with native English speakers in as little as ten months – less than a year using this method. And you can access the same resources we create for our students in the VIP Member Area.

If the P.L.A.N.E. English Method works for you or you want to share something about How To Learn English, I’d like to hear from you. You can reach me through the contact page on my website.

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  1. This P.L.A.N.E English Method is exellent. Thank You.

  2. It´s really impression. Thank you so much!


  4. i need this tutor to teach me on skype , is it possible and i would like to know the fee. kindly reply me on

  5. I will follow your instructions and Iam certain from the benefits I will have God willing thank you.

  6. Vijaykumar Kapse says:

    Hi dear,
    I am Vijaykumar Kapse, I am interested to learn English Language, but there is small problem. The problem is there are no any English speaking friend so How Can I create my English speaking network. I have reading lots of articles, magazines. But there is nothing improvement in my English speaking, I have too many problems of hesitation, So please guide me, How Can I develop my English speaking skill.
    I know you can help me. Because you are very good person in world.
    I am tried to email you but I’m not able to send an Email to you so please help mi.


    • Hey Vijaykumar! Basically, you have to find friends online who want to practice English. You can find them on skype groups, English speaking groups on Google Hangouts, students in your English school, or even a teacher. When I was studying French, I found most of my network through Google Hangouts.

  7. Jarri nitiseno says:

    Hay David,I am Jarri.I am a beginner in English. Your article is very important for me to improve and increase my English skill.I really happy find your site and I study English like your method and your sugest.I really appreciate.

  8. Hi David, I’m Farah, I am a bignner in English, so that i want to improve my English speaking, and I will follow all your advices,thank you for this site

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