Tuesday 28 July 2009

Learning Method: How to improve your English skills? (Speaking)

Chapter 2: The Shortcuts for improving your speaking skills

When it comes to speaking, many learners think that you must have a partner to speak to in order to practise and improve. My answer is, you should, but not a must. Having someone to speak to, like an English teacher, definitely would benefit you because you should receive feedback from them, and the feedback should be trustworthy. If you don't have an English teacher, get a friend who can speak English well, such as ABC, BBC, CBC, etc. and meet up once a week for lunch or dinner, and all you need is to offer them a treat. If you don't have friends like that, make one! (This is particularly beneficial to the single) However, no matter what, you can still apply the tips which I am going to share with you.

Tip 1: Sing! Sing! Sing!

Singing songs and you will learn to acquire accents, intonation, linking, assimilation and liaison skills. This is a great way to practise even if you have no one to speak to. (This answers the comment on the previous entry) My sister has never been to America, but she has a great American accent, because she sings, sings and sings American songs. You'll be surprised how native you can sound if you apply this method! And the best about this tip is, it is almost at $0. So this tip is always the top of my shortcut list.

Tip 2: Read out a story book loud!

Get a book that you are interested and read out loud! Why?

  1. You will mostly be reading something authentic.
  2. It helps to enhance your level of comprehension as you need to understand the mood and the atmosphere before reading out correctly.
  3. It helps to expand your vocabulary pool.
  4. You don't need a partner.
  5. Even if you don't like reading books, you will gradually fall in love with this really good habit.

Tip 3: Read out a grammar book loud!

This tip has the benefits of Tip 2's point 1 and 4, and in addition to that,

  1. it should be grammar proof (and this is usually not guaranteed for novels or story books).
  2. It helps to improve your grammar while reading, thus killing two birds with one stone.

Tip 4: Speak to your self!

This tip is taken from IELTS preparation. Quoting from the website:

Remember that students can also practise speaking on their own. Even though there is no response or feedback, simply speaking gives the opportunity to try different ways of saying things, which can help to increase confidence. Describing what you see around you and what is happening in the street when you walk or drive somewhere, predicting the events of the day in the morning and then remembering them at night, even telling yourself what you need, and why, as you walk around the supermarket: all these give additional practice in expressing ideas in English and ‘loosening the tongue’.

Next entry: Chapter 3: The Shortcuts for improving your reading skills