Learning a language can be very difficult, and most people are often quite hard on themselves. They degrade themselves for every small mistake they make, and, as a result, their self-confidence goes in the gutter, so to speak. But the best way to improve, and continually see improvements, is to keep your self-confidence up.
Okay, easier said than done, right? How can you actually improve your self-confidence?
Well, do you remember the first time you ever said an English word correctly? The first time you talked to an English speaker and understood what they said? And better yet, they understood what you said? Do you remember how great you felt?
I bet you felt proud, excited, confident, and you wanted to keep going.
So because you realized you can say/write/understand something in English, you wanted to do more! You wanted to learn more, speak more, and pretty soon you visualized yourself having Pina Coladas with all your English speaking friends, discussing politics.
With anything, the more you practice, the better you will become. The better you become, the more confident you feel. The more confident you feel, the more you will be motivated to keep going, and the sky will be the limit for you.
Before you know it, speaking English will feel very natural to you. Before you know it, you will be drinking Pina Coladas with your English speaking friends discussing politics.
So what are some good ways to get some English speaking practice in?
1. Online Resources
There are many online resources where you can practice your English with people. You could even get an ESL e-mail buddy. You could connect with ESL teachers/learners through Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. This is a great, and fun, way to make connections, and sometimes, lasting friendships.
2. The Phone
I’m sure you get a couple telemarketers who call you every so often. Why not practice your English with them? Listen to them, and respond. Ask them about the products they’re selling, or politely tell them you’re not interested.
3. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
Whether you’re listening to music, television, the radio or even reading a book, repeat all the words you heard. This will help you with pronunciation, fluency, and grammar. You might even learn some new phrases!
4. Everyday Errands
Whether you’re getting groceries, volunteering, helping a neighbour, getting gas or going to a store, practice your conversation skills with anybody who seems nice and friendly. Ask a cashier how much a product is, or how they’re doing. Talk to somebody in line, and ask them how they are. Take advantage of any speaking opportunity you can.
5. Practice With A Friend
Friends are going to be encouraging, and supportive. So try practicing with them as much as you can. Ask them if they noticed anything you can improve upon. Even if you feel discouraged, your friend will be sure to cheer you right back up. Another way to make new friendships is to join English-speaking groups and activities: chess club, dance classes, swimming classes, glee group, join a gym, or go to events happening around the community. Try to go to places where you know you’ll find English speakers and get some good practice in.
Even if the conversation doesn’t go as well as you’d like, don’t worry – we learn from our mistakes. And you’ll have plenty of chances to practice more, and improve.