Speaking and listening are important parts of learning to speak English as a second language. People all over the world want to converse both socially and for business in English. Building confidence is needed when starting a new language and plenty of encouragement ensures good progress. Understanding a new language is very important and the following creative spoken English activities will help all ESL beginners:
Watch news and weather on the television or internet in English
Watching any news and weather on the television or internet is a good way of having regular practice of listening to spoken English. Even if you watch with sub-titles in the beginning, this will build help to build your confidence. You can also watch English items on YouTube. This helps increase your knowledge of vocabulary.
Watch films and television shows
Choose film(s) or television show(s)/series that you already know in your language. Start by watching with sub-titles and then progress to watching without these sub-titles so you can concentrate on the language and how it is spoken together with learning new vocabulary. This can include watching travel and nature programmes and any other programmes of interest.
Use online English apps on your mobile
There are several apps, which can be downloaded onto your mobile, which will help you learn English. Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, Mind Snacks are just a few examples. Some apps like Duolingo are free whilst others can be purchased for a fee. This apps have the advantage in that you can practice at any time of the day (or night) when convenient several times a week.
Reading and writing activities
Start by reading easy books and writing easy exercises using simple words and the present tense to build your confidence and then progress to intermediate books and written exercises. It is important to keep a note of new words and their meanings by using a dictionary. Choose books, which you know already in your language, to then read in English.
Playing board games with other English speaking students
These games can include Simon says, hangman and Pictionary. These are the easiest games to play when beginning to learn Spoken English and then you can progress to more difficult games including snakes and ladders, monopoly, scrabble and charades. Learn with others who also want to learn English.
Speaking with a tutor
By practicing with an English speaking tutor, this will help build your confidence and teach you how to talk on many different subjects using the correct sentence formation, correct tense and learning new vocabulary.
Meet other English learners
Meet friends or join a club to practice learning English. You can meet for coffee, tea, lunch or dinner to discuss many subjects including food, shopping, fashion/clothes, family, weather, numbers, hobbies, travel, pets, colors, numbers. This will help improve all aspects of your English together with building your confidence, as you will be speaking with others who also want to learn English and who are also beginners. Make a note of all new words used and their meanings by using a dictionary and see how many you can remember later that day, or the next day or the following week. A good dictionary will also show you how to pronounce the words by breaking them down into syllables.
Singing songs and saying tongue twisters
Learn to sing songs starting with songs you already know in English. You can sing these songs on your own in the beginning until you improve when you could sing with others and join a choir when you are more advanced if you like singing.
Also practice tongue twisters by saying out loud, which will improve your vocabulary together with learning Spoken English. Start with easy ones then progress to more difficult tongue twisters. Here are some examples of tongue twisters:
Black back bat
I was born on a pirate ship.
Santa’s short suit shrunk.
He threw three balls.
She sees cheese.
Silly sheep weep and sleep.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.
Four furious friends fought for the phone.
I wish to wish the wish you wish to wish, but if you wish the wish the witch wishes, I won’t wish the wish you wish to wish.
There are many more tongue twisters, which will help you with your pronunciation. You can practice these anywhere. Start by saying slowly and then repeat more quickly.
Very regular practice reinforces all aspects of learning Spoken English, which includes vocabulary, listening, speaking and grammar (including understanding which tense to use). By practicing several times a week you will make good progress. Learning a new language takes time so in the beginning learn a little and often – every day if you can even if it is only for 15 minutes per time/day. Then as you progress, you can increase the time spent learning Spoken English to 30 minutes at least three times a week. This will help you improve very quickly and build your confidence.