Take Charge of Improving Your English

Take charge of improving your English (and your TOEFL score), and preparing yourself for classes at DU! What follows is a list of recommendations from Drury University’s English for Academic Purposes program. (Note: This list is periodically updated/expanded.)

Vocabulary and pronunciation:

  • English Central is a fantastic site for building your vocabulary and improving your American pronunciation
  • To improve spelling, vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar and word morphology, check out: The Electric Company at pbskidsgo.orgYes, we know it’s a kid’s show, but it’s really fun—well-known American Hip-Hop and beat-box artists appear on the show and it’s helpful to build your English vocabulary using the same media resources young people in America use. (At the PBS Kids home page, click on “Electric Company,” then “videos,” followed by “episodes.”)
  • Also at pbskidsgo.org, you might check out the “Word Girl” episodes.
Listening and critical thinking skills:
To improve your listening skills and to adapt to the manner of American professors in the classroom check out the following YouTube video clips:
  • Michael Sandel: What Money Can’t Buy
  • Milton Friedman – Morality & Capitalism
  • An Evening with Toni Morrison
  • Actually, we recommend any of Michael Sandel’s or Milton Friedman’s lectures on YouTube. You can view a number of Harvard University online class lectures through their website.
  • We also really like this debate on YouTube, organized by students at the University of Notre Dame. The students who introduce Christopher Hitchens and Dinesh D’Souza describe exactly the academic values shared by Drury University: The God Debate: Hitchens vs. D’Souza
  • You can read essays often used in first-year seminar classes at DU at: Drury CORE
  • American Rhetoric is another excellent reading/ listening/ critical thinking resource. You can listen to and/or read famous American speeches (excellent preparation for studies in the US). Check out speeches by Martin Luther King Jr., President Barack Obama, or Steve Jobs, to name a few.
Writing and grammar:        
To improve your writing and grammar, check out these resources:
  • The Online Writing Lab at Purdue University—widely known as The OWL: owl.english.purdue.edu
  • Many DU professors require a writer’s handbook for their students, and many use the pocket handbook by Diana Hacker. Some of the resources from this handbook are available in free PDF downloads at: dianahacker.com/pocket