As a global English speaking school that works with millions of ESL students, a question we get all the time is : How to learn English speaking without getting frustrated in the process?
This is very logical question.
Learning English is a process that is tiring and sometimes you will feel like you are not improving.
Do you agree?
Many English students don’t know how to use English language.
They know tons of grammar and vocabulary but need encouragement and practice speaking.
Most of the students have received lot’s of grammar lessons in their formative years, but struggle with conversation in real life situations.
Being an ESL student is demanding but you should not over complicate your journey by going down “wrong” paths, which would not only make you frustrated over time but all make you inefficient.
Here is a list of mistakes that ESL students should avoid and how to learn English speaking without getting frustrated.
Focusing too much on grammar is a common mistake that most ESL students commit.
The English language has a lot of grammar rules and trying to learn all of them is practically impossible.
(Fun) Fact, only 20% of native English speakers know all the grammar rules of English 🙂
Grammar is the most difficult aspect of English for non-native learners.
It can be frustrating for a variety of reasons.
The rules are sometimes confusing, or don’t exist at all.
For instance, there are too many ways to talk about the future.
Little words like “was”, “were” and “had” have very big jobs in forming a sentence.
Regular vs. irregular verbs are flummoxing even for some native English speakers.
Focusing too heavily on grammar will slow your English speaking down and will make you frustrated.
Instead, try to have as many conversations with native English speakers as you can. Learn more about how Spoken English Practice does this through Skype English classes.
(A question that comes up a lot is – how to learn English grammar? Do I need a teacher?There are tons of free resources that will help you improve basic English grammar such as Grammar Girl. You really should not pay someone to learn grammar!)
Another mistake that is widely common is speaking too fast.
If you are a non-native English speaker trying to improve Spoken English fluency, you should focus on speaking clearly and slowly so that people understand you.
Speaking English too fast will only make you sound nervous and unconvincing.
At Spoken English Practice, our unique approach to teaching English over Skype will allow you to practice the correct speed to Speak English as a non-native English speaker.
Our English classes would address this by introducing a wide variety of topics we could speak about, including travel, business, lifestyles, cultural differences and topics/terms, etc.
We would be gentle and kind and correct any incorrect pronunciation or grammar in the moment and introduce new vocabulary as we speak.
Corrections in an natural organic way while having the conversation. This keeps the conversation going and the student will not lose confidence.
Vocabulary is very important, as the broader a student’s range of vocabulary, the more easily they are able to be understood.
English language students generally need the most help with increasing their vocabulary.
Students need to have context for the use of the words they learn.
They need to use the new words they are learning in a series of sentences using past tense, present tense and future tense.
This is a change for many students who think in their own native language and then translate into English. This is true for many students who listen to English.
At Spoken English Practice , we get students to “think only in English” during 30 minute Skype conversation sessions.
This is easier in our program because all our teachers are Native English speakers. You can only speak in English!
Speaking English fluently is not about how many words you know in the English language but about how many words there are in your active English vocabulary.
Learning a lot of words is useless, if you do not know how to use them in real life conversations.
The best way to build your active vocabulary is having spoken English lessons in the form of real English conversations and not wasting energy on memorizing vocabulary lists.
Side note: Are Flash cards good or bad for learning English?
Flashcards can help students break down sentences or information into more manageable chunks, which should be easier to recall.
It also gives students a chance to see which pieces of information they have come to grip with.
There may be things they keep forgetting, and focus their study on that part they are having trouble with.
However, most intermediate and advanced students of English already have a vocabulary of around 2000 words. They know enough words to speak English. They just don’t have the practice and confidence.
Our recommendation is to use flashcards more with beginner level students.
This is the BIG one!
After someone masters the mechanics of the language, the actual output can be much more complex given the level of nuances, variations, slang terms, idiomatic expressions and so on.
The English language has multiple words with the same meanings, and words that sound the same with different meanings.
This can all be overwhelming to someone who is trying to take their English language skills to the conversational and even professional level.
No matter how many words you know or how much grammar rules you have memorized, if you don’t practice speaking English with native speakers, you will NOT be able to be fluent in English in a short period of time.
Trying to improve spoken English without having conversations with a native English speaker is like trying to learn swimming without having access to a swimming pool. It is impossible! Spoken English Practice on Skype is a great way to do this.
Writing in English and Speaking in English are two completely different disciplines. Some ESL students confuse the two by working on one and expecting improvements on the other.
One huge difference is that when you write you get time to think and correct multiple times, but in the case of speaking, you need be spontaneous to put your ideas together real time.
This is why improving spoken English is more challenging and requires you to practice speaking skills with natives using services such as Skype.
English writing, on the other hand, can be improved in your own time through self-study and research. You really should not be paying anyone money to improve your written English skills.
Most English language learners are in the process of developing their capacity of equating their own language to that of English.
In other words, students have difficulty in identifying and relating their own language to English. They are in the process of developing ‘brain patterns’ in learning a new language such as English.
The best way to overcome this challenge to practice with Native English speakers.