How to Improve English Speaking
You are learning English, and you know it will help you in the future when you study or travel, possibly even if you plan to go to university or get a job. Many people however, do not realise how much effort is required to master a language.
It is not difficult to learn the basics of English quite quickly, but how to actually improve your English speaking does take some effort or at the very least some ingenuity.
Learning a language can either be a dull activity or a fun activity, and it isn’t always easy to know how to improve English speaking.
When you attend an English course to learn English in England, It is very easy just to go to school, come home and do your homework and then speak to your friends in your own language, you can put your ‘language learning’ away for the night. What you need are creative ideas which incorporate the language into your everyday life.
We asked our teachers for some ideas of how you could continue to improve your English speaking while you are studying in England or when you go back home. Of course the most obvious one is to use every opportunity you can find to speak English when you are at school; with your classmates, in class, during practices and during the breaks, but have a look at the following ideas and see if these can help you.
1. English conversation groups are always a great opportunity to practice your speaking. LSI Portsmouth runs a group every Tuesday after school in a local café. But if your school doesn’t have a group, why not start one yourself? Or if you would prefer to go to one that is already established, have a look in shop windows for notices, or in the local library, they often advertise there. In your own country try and find some other people who are also trying to improve their English, and start your own little group. It really doesn’t matter about level that is the wonderful thing, everyone can join in.
2. Ted Talks are a great way of improving your listening skills. But not only that, because you can see the tape script, you can also practice repeating what the speaker says. We recommend you find a talk with a subject that interests you. Before you click the link, try and imagine the language that will come up. Click open the tape script tab. Look through for any new vocabulary, and then go back and listen to the talk. Another fun exercise is to then try and read aloud the script at the same speed and time as the speaker.
Matt the teacher recently did a little video explaining how to use TED talks to help with your English.
For more TED talks:www.TED.com/talks
3. Keep a diary. It is only for you, no-one else ever has to read it, but keep it in English. You will be amazed when you look back, many month from now, how much your English has improved. Try and record yourself reading from your diary (maybe on your phone) and see if your pronunciation is the same as you imagine.
4. Send Postcards. Try and make sure you have the address of some English speaking people. Your host family possibly, definitely the school you have been studying in, some of your classmates? When you leave make sure you send them postcards! Everyone sends emails now, or posts on Facebook, so it is quite unusual to receive a postcard. Maybe before you write your postcard, try saying aloud what you plan to write.
5. Shopping Lists. Shopping lists are always a good idea, they stop you spending money on things you hadn’t planned to buy 😉 Try writing your shopping lists in English, this will show you where some of your missing vocabulary is.
6. English Forums. There are so many places online that have forums. Try ‘Groups’ on Facebook. Find a subject that interests you and join the group and then try and post your opinions in English. Don’t be surprised if you have to start defending your idea, but that will help you build your argument – never a bad thing.
7. Leave Comments. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Instagram etc all of these are called ‘social’ media because you are supposed to interact with them. Try and leave an English comment somewhere at least once a day.
8. Watch films. Another great way to improve your English speaking; If you have Netflix or similar, you can turn on the subtitles. Why not try and be one of the characters, and read aloud their part, maybe get a friend to read another characters part? It is not easy and you have to be very fast, but it is fun and it will speed up your reading and speaking.