Do you want to improve your English speaking skills? This week Dr. Heidi explains why speaking is so important, and gives you tips on how to build your confidence to speak!
Watch this week’s video on YouTube below.
Read the text of this week’s video to check your understanding and practice your new words!
Speaking in a language you don’t know very well can be very hard, but it’s extremely important. When you learn a word from listening or reading, it’s still a little fuzzy in you mind. But when you use that word in speaking or writing, your knowledge for the word gets much, much stronger. Today I’m going to talk about gaining confidence for speaking and improving your fluency in English. I’ll give you some vocabulary words that are used more for speaking than reading and writing. Finally, I’ll give you some challenges to practice what you’ve learned.
Many people who are learning a new language are afraid to speak. Why do you think this is? I think there are two possible reasons.
So, let me talk about the first reason, and this is pretty easy: If you are afraid to speak English because you are are worried you will make a mistake, let me tell you something: Yes, 100%, you will make a mistake. Of course you will! It is impossible to learn to speak a new language without making mistakes! In fact, making mistakes is how we learn!
You will say something, and sometimes you will immediately hear what you just said and realize it had an error of grammar or maybe you used the wrong word. If you are speaking to your teacher, he or she may correct the error. But many times, the person you are talking to will notice the error and not say anything. (Or, if they are also a learner, they might not notice the error.) But that’s okay, because the main goal of speaking is not to speak perfectly, but rather, to express yourself, to communicate your thoughts and feelings. Speaking helps us connect with other people, and that is true even if you make a few mistakes.
Being afraid to make a mistake is not a good reason not to speak. Why? Because the more you practice, the fewer mistakes you will make!
The next thing I want to talk to you about is confidence, which is the belief that you can do something. Again, the best way to build confidence is to practice! If I think I can’t do something, but I do it anyway, there is a good chance I will succeed. If I do, that will give me confidence for next time. So, I want you to be brave. Being brave, or having courage, does not mean you are not afraid. It means you do something even though you are afraid. Don’t let fear stop you!
There are some things you can do to improve your chances for success, and the biggest thing you can do is to think about what you are going to say ahead of time, that is, before you say it, and even practice to yourself what you are going to say. So, for example, if there is a person in your class that you think is interesting, and who you would like to get to know better, it might be hard to just go up and talk to them. So before you leave your house, think about what you will say to get the conversation started, and maybe even say it out loud to yourself at home. For example, Hi, I’m Heidi. What’s your name? How do you like this class? Where are you from? and so forth. If you have these ready, it will be easier to get started.
If you want to talk about something more specific, look up the vocabulary words ahead of time for what you want to say, and practice using them in a sentence. Using the same example from last week, if your class went to a museum, you could say to your new friend, how did you like the sculpture?
Every time your practice, you will get more confidence. And having more confidence will make it easier to practice! So sometimes the hardest thing is to be brave and take that first step.
Here are some phrases that you can use in your speech to help you speak more fluently, or smoothly:
Here are some good words and phrases to use to respond to the other person:
This week I want to give you a challenge to practice speaking:
Here are the 20 words for week 16. You may know some of these words already. However, it’s very important with vocabulary that you practice the words that you already know in addition to learning new words. This is all good practice and will help your language skills. All these definitions are from the Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary, which is highly recommended for English language learners.
|to say or write something as an answer to a question or request; reply
|feeling or showing no fear; not afraid
|the people who live near each other
|used to add something to a previous statement
|to have or share a feeling of affection and understanding
|used in speech to show surprise, doubt, or interest
|a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something
|nervous about doing something
|attention that people give to someone or something
|to do something again and again in order to become better at it
|a feeling of trust in the worth or ability of someone
|to talk or write about (something that you are thinking or feeling)
|to get someone to understand your thoughts or feelings
|used when you are saying something that is different from or contrasts with a previous statement
|a statement or fact that explains why something is the way it is, why someone does, thinks, or says something, or why someone behaves a certain way
|to gradually get (something) or more of (something) as time passes
|without any delay
|to test the ability, skill, or strength of (someone or something); to be difficult enough to be interesting to (someone)
|one of a series of actions that are done to achieve something
|something that is not correct; a wrong action, statement, or judgment; error
This week, practice speaking by making a new friend or by posting a “story” video in English! Be sure to tag vocabvictor so we can admire your efforts!
Finally, download our app Vocab Victor which is available for Apple and Android phones. This vocabulary learning software will help you build and strengthen your vocabulary. What does that mean? Build and strengthen. Build vocabulary means it will teach you new words. Strengthen means it will improve the knowledge of the words you already know. Play Vocab Victor for a few minutes every day to help improve your English! Read more about Vocab Victor at our page for students, Vocab Victor - Students.