Have you been studying English for years but still can’t speak confidently? Do you get stuck when speaking in English? Are you still shy to speak in English because you make mistakes in grammar? Is it hard for native English speakers to understand you because you have a thick accent?
Improving English speaking is a challenge for most non native English language users. Even English learners who can write well in English sometimes struggle to communicate properly when speaking. This specially becomes a problem if you are working with clients or business partners from an English speaking country or if you are studying abroad as an international student.
How do you overcome this challenge and learn to speak English like a native speaker? The good news is with a few adjustments to your English learning process, you can learn to absorb English the same way you absorbed your first language. This is possible even if you an adult. You just need to completely stop doing the 5 things below.
NEVER spend time or money on English speaking software such as Rosetta Stone. Firstly, most English learning software (or any time of language learning software) is designed for beginners and not intermediate level students. Secondly, English is practically everywhere so you have a lot of ways to immerse yourself in English. Check out free resources such as TED Talks and NPR to listen to native English speakers. Find friends on Skype and online forums. Join English conversation circles.
English learning software is of zero value after you have learned the first 50 words of a language. If you can learn English through software, Iphone Apps or newsletters, then we would be able to do the same thing to learn swimming!
Most English courses focus only on teaching grammar and vocabulary. It is important to have a basic understanding of grammar and to know about 200 words to get started but once you have done that it is all about practice. However, most English course still employ old, ineffective teaching methods such as role plays and flashcards.
When picking an English course, find one gives you lots of opportunities to practice speaking with native teachers.
Business English Courses, Adult English Courses, General English Courses, English For Working Professionals, English For Young Adults, English For the Workplace, Corporate English Training…The list goes on and on.
Don’t get fooled by fancy names used by English language institutes. Most of courses and taught by the same teachers and cover the same curriculum. Rather than wasting time trying to decide between these select an English school where you actually get opportunities to have conversations in English, with native English speakers.
Most non native English speakers think in their own language and translate to English before speaking. This is why they speak slowly and look like they are not confident when they speaking.
Avoid this mistake and your English will improve dramatically in a short period of time. Speaking English, just like dancing or singing has to happen naturally. If you process grammar rules in your head while talking, you will not speak in a natural, fluent way.
How do you stop translating English in your head while speaking? PRACTICE SPEAKING everyday. That’s the only way you can speak English naturally.
Textbooks just like phone apps and software is good when you are learning basics. But once you have done that, textbooks add little value. Most real world conversations in English don’t happen in English taught in textbooks. Native English speakers use a lot of slang and idioms that are not in textbooks.
Using a Dictionary or textbooks is not a bad idea but don’t make them your primary method of learning English.
Learning English takes a lot of time so it is important to spend your time (and money) in the most fruitful way. These ideas will help you spend your time effectively and avoid frustration.
Happy English Learning!