6 creative ways to practise English online

Learning a language should be fun – and it doesn’t always have to involve textbooks, teachers and IRL (in real life) classes! There are plenty of opportunities to learn English in creative ways online.

So if you’re unable to learn English in a conventional way, it’s time to think outside the box. Here are six fun ideas on how you can learn English online on your own or with friends. 

1. Start your own speaking club on House Party 

A good house party can be a beautiful thing – there’s the chance for interesting conversations and the possibility to make new friends. It could also be an opportunity to practise your English speaking skills with strangers. But if, for whatever reason, you’re stuck in your house with nowhere to go, you don’t need to miss out. 

We’d like to introduce Houseparty! This free app lets you video talk with up to eight people at a time. It’s like a virtual hang-out, making it the perfect tool for hosting your own English speaking club from home. Contacts of contacts can even jump into your chat room if it’s unlocked which makes it a funny way to meet new people.

Don’t have time to plan any fun conversation topics beforehand? No problem. Houseparty has some really great games to break the ice. Just make sure everyone sticks to speaking English. Then sit back, relax and watch new friendships blossom.

2. Learn English with Alexa

Have you ever wanted an English speaking partner that you can talk at for hours and hours but won’t get bored? Look no further than Amazon Alexa

Because she’s a communication device, Alexa is all about speaking and listening. First set the language to English. Then ask her questions to boost your communication skills any time of day. You may need to speak more slowly than usual and concentrate on your pronunciation, which is great practise!

Alexa also has ‘skills’. These are a bit like apps, and many of them are designed for you to learn English. 

Daily Dose gives you a ‘Word of the Day’ or a ‘Lesson of the Day’. There’s also Cleo which lets you return the favour and teach Alexa your mother tongue

3. Host a virtual book group 

Reading a book is proven to decrease stress. So if you’re looking for a way to learn English and practice a hobby, then why not start your own book group? 

You can choose to read a classic novel or re-read one of your favourite books – but this time in English. Invite your international friends to do the same. Use a video platform like Skype or Zoom to meet every week and discuss the book. Create a safe space for you to give your opinions. Talk about what you loved and didn’t love. And analyse some of the figurative language you discover. 

Reading is a great form of escapism. Furthermore, doing it in a group will help push you to the finish line and complete the book in good time. You will get quicker at reading in English too.

4. Practise speech shadowing with a YouTube video

What is speech shadowing we hear you ask? Well if a shadow is someone who follows someone else, then think of speech shadowing as following someone’s voice. This includes their stress, their intonation, and their pronunciation. 

It’s not as difficult as it sounds! Here’s how you do it:

  1. Choose a video online. This could be your favourite vlogger, a recipe video or a clip from that tv series everyone’s talking about. 
  2. Next, listen to a short segment. 
  3. Then replay the clip again and repeat in your voice. Whilst doing it, try to match the accent of the speaker. 
  4. Repeat the segment again. This time at the same speed as the audio.
  5. Keep practising until you feel confident. Then move on to the next clip. 

Walking around can help you focus whilst speech shadowing. Make sure you have some headphones to hand too! 

5. Take a virtual tour of a museum 

Stuck at home? There’s no need to forfeit your cultural education. That’s right, you can experience the best museums from around the world. All from the comfort of your own home, and while practising English too. 

Explore the British Museum, visit the Guggenheim museum in New York, or discover the Palace of Versailles. All virtually, and all for free!

Take advantage of the many artefacts, painting and exhibition descriptions written in English. Then challenge yourself to write a review. Begin with a description of what you saw. Then talk about the kind of crowd it would attract. 

Finally, say whether you enjoyed it and would return for a visit in real life. Ask a teacher or a native speaker to check if it reads well. You could even leave it as a real review!

6. Play Scrabble 

Board games can be a really fun way to learn English, and even better if it’s a word game. What’s the world’s favourite word game? Scrabble of course!

To play scrabble you have to arrange letters to make a word on the board. Letters give you points, and some squares on the board give you extra points. The aim of the game is to beat your opponent by placing the best words you can. 

Scrabble is great for language learners. You’ll be testing your English vocabulary, and you can always look up new words in the dictionary after the game.

Don’t worry if you don’t have an English set at home. There are many online games that do the job. Compete against your friends, or play against other international players to practise your English speaking skills too. Who knows? You may become a Scrabble champion

Looking for more motivation for studying online? Don’t forget we have lots of free resources on our Learn at home page. If you are thinking about preparing for an exam you can take our Oxford English Test demo and find out what it’s really like. 

Can you think of any creative ways to learn English? Go on, use your imagination, and share your ideas in the comments!

Author: Oxford University Press ELT

Every year we help millions of people around the world to learn English. As a department of the University of Oxford, we further the University’s objective of excellence in education by publishing proven and tested language learning books, eBooks, learning materials, and educational technologies.

11 thoughts

  1. Good afternoon,

    Our school has adopted Insight Intermediate and we would very much appreciate receiving specific suggestions to go on with the syllabus on the 3rd term, using video conferences and other resosurces related to the subject matter of the book. Some Portuguese editors offer us great resources, but they are not related to the content of your books. If you google Leya or Porto Editora you can see what I mean. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.
    Ana Pereira

      1. Good afternoon.

        I am actually going through the same problem as Ana’s, as I am also using Insight to teach two 10th grade classes in Portugal, at Agrupamento de Escolas de Valongo, near Oporto, and I would like to get some support, as during the 3rd Term I am expected to teach my students online.

        Thank you in advance.

        Maria Oliveira

  2. Thank you for your reply.Escola secundária Francisco on Madeira Island-Portugal is where I work. Awaiting Oxford’s rep. contact,
    Thanks again!
    Best wishes

    Ana Isabel Pereira

  3. Hello.

    I should to improve my English-spoken. So, in real situation, the words don’t come quickly in my mind to express my idea. My work language (not my mother language) is the french. I’m not sure in the pronounciation. I use everytime the oxford dictionnary to consult the phonetic but not easy for me. Is this way good to achieve my aim ? Thanks

    1. Hi there, that’s a great way to practise. If pronunciation is something you’d like to really improve, please do try the ‘Say It!’ mobile application. Available on ios and Android devices. 🙂

  4. Hi Alex,

    Thank you for your advice. I’ll download the Say It apps and practice. I’ll comeback to you in two weeks.

    Best regards

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