I know learning English can be tough sometimes. There are many rules, exceptions, different accents, different words for different English speaking countries, the list goes on!
So just what is the best way of learning English? There isn’t one answer, as every person is different and has their own way of learning. However, I do know a few tips you can follow that can help you, especially if you are learning English online. Here are my top tips for improving your speaking skills – all by turning on your TV!
If you happen to live in a country that offers English speaking channels on TV, tune in! Watching English TV is an easy way of exercising your ears and testing your listening skills. At first, have subtitles in your native language, but don’t use this as a crutch. Eventually you will need to try and listen and not be kept busy reading the text at the bottom of your screen.
If you need to do some chores around the house, have the TV on in the background. Although you might not notice, your brain is still absorbing the language. If you get channels from different English speaking countries be sure to alternate and listen to all of them so you get exposure to the different accents.
Speaking of accents, do you find yourself speaking only to teacher from America, or only Aussie teachers? I know some students get comfortable with certain teachers or accents but this can really limit your English speaking skills in the future. It’s a good idea to switch your teachers so you can hear what English sounds like around the world.
If you’re studying English online with EF English Live, then try out a Private Lesson, they are awesome! However, don’t miss out on Group Lessons either. Conversation classes are great because they give you the opportunity to speak to other students around the world, and maybe even meet new friends.
While attending a Group Lesson, some students turn down the volume on others until it’s their own turn to speak. That’s a bad idea! Listen to everything your fellow classmates are saying. Firstly, they might make a mistake that you also make, and you can both learn when the teacher makes the correction. Secondly, English is universal. You must really get your ears used to listening to people from around the world. A French person speaking English will certainly sound different than a Chinese person speaking English. English is the language of the world, so it’s important to understand all variations.
I hope some of this advice helps you in the future. Although it might be your main goal to improve your spoken English, improving your listening skills is half the battle. How can you respond to someone if you don’t know what they are saying? Good luck exercising those ears!
image: Jon Blathwayt