What is independent language learning?

Independent language learning

I love teaching English.

I love almost everything about it, except for one big problem that affects many English teachers and learners… the price of good-quality English lessons.

I want to help as many people as I can to learn English, and at the same time support my family and pay my bills, but many of the people who need to learn or improve their English can’t afford to pay for regular long-term one-to-one English lessons.

One excellent solution to this common problem is independent language learning (ILL) combined with some teacher support.

I created the Botanical Linguist site to share advice about independent language learning, and to support learners of English on their ILL journey.


So, what’s an independent language learner?

An independent language learner is someone who is in control of their own learning, and who doesn’t rely on a teacher to learn a new language or to improve their language skills.

They make choices about what they want to learn, and how, and they are responsible for how much progress they make, and how successful they are.


How do I become an independent language learner?

Build your own language learning path

Build your own language learning path

You create your own learning path to follow.

♦ You know yourself better than any teacher and you will know exactly why you are are learning the language, and you will be able to set your own aims and goals.

♦ As an independent language learner you learn the language elements YOU need or want to learn, at the level or levels you need.

♦ You choose topics that interest you or that you know you need to focus on for your work, your academic progress, or your social life.

♦ You decide where you are going to learn and when. You study when it’s convenient for you and you plan your time to make the best use of it.

♦ There are many different methods and strategies for learning a language so you choose the methods you enjoy the most and that work the best for you and your goals.

♦ You also know how to find, organize and use good-quality resources for your language learning so you can choose materials that interest you and will help you achieve your goals.


What’s the teacher’s role in independent language learning?

mazeThe teacher helps you to be a self-directed or independent learner and provides knowledge and support to help you build your path to success and to achieve your goals.

Here are some of the things a teacher can help you with:

  • language skills e.g. grammar, new vocabulary
  • improving your study skills,
  • planning your time efficiently
  • showing you where to find the best materials and resources, and how to use them
  • motivation and organization
  • assessing your level of English
  • evaluating your progress
  • practising your new language skills (e.g. speaking, pronunciation)
  • tell you about new and innovative language learning tools and show you new and interesting ways to learn English
  • explain the language learning process and the most effective techniques or methods for learning a language

Being an independent language learner doesn’t mean you have to learn alone or without support. You can get help from a teacher when you need it – as well as from family and friends and online communities of other language learners.

If you have good study skills and access to good resources, you can be almost entirely independent – but don’t forget you’ll still need native or fluent English speaking partners for your speaking practice. And of course an English teacher can be an excellent speaking partner 🙂

Your success will depend on your motivation and commitment and you’ll still have to practise your English regularly – but knowing how to improve your English on your own means that you will need fewer formal English lessons which will save you money.


What are your favourite ways to learn English on your own?


If you’d like to schedule an informal (and free) 20-minute chat with me to see how independent language learning with my support could help you learn English, send me an email 🙂



Send to Kindle
Angela Boothroyd

Angela Boothroyd

English language teacher at Botanical Linguist
Hi, I'm Angela, the Botanical Linguist, and I show learners of English how to become successful and self-directed or independent language learners. If you want to improve your English accuracy and fluency and learn everyday strategies and activities that will help you learn English without spending a lot of money on lessons, subscribe to my free newsletter here.
Angela Boothroyd
Angela Boothroyd
Angela Boothroyd

Latest posts by Angela Boothroyd (see all)

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge