Get a Tutor
Many students find an English school and get help with grammar and reading skills but do not make the time to focus on speaking and improving fluency. For as little as $15 an hour, you can have a one-on-one session with an experienced English speaker who will help you with all those sneaky little grammar and pronunciation mistakes. The best part? It’s fun, interactive and you won’t even feel like you’re working!
Become a Member of A Conversation Club
Similar to the last tip, but here you pay for time with an English speaker who will lead a conversation and get you talking about all kinds of subjects. You can have one-on-one time or, if you want to save a few dollars, you can participate in a small group conversation with a teacher. The real advantage to this is the emphasis on error correction, with your guide pointing out your personal mistakes. You get real bang for your buck!
The English Only Rule
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told my students to respect the "English Only Rule" only to walk in on them speaking in their native language a few minutes later. The rule-breakers just don’t get it!
Breaking the "English Only Rule" will just slow down your progress. The more you speak in English, the more you improve! And no excuses. If the subject you're discussing is new or technical and you're having trouble finding the right words, that means you're making headway (getting better). So remember; English, English, English…only!
Look and Listen to The World Around You
How many times have you spent hours travelling to and from school or work, staring out the window, playing Angry Birds or listening to your favorite song? Well, this is precious time you could be using to read through a free paper or listen to those teenagers chatting on the subway. Every second you commit to trying to understand an English sentence is another boost to your fluency!
Join a Fun Community
Another great way to practice your conversation skills and have fun doing what you love is to join a club, team or hobby group. For example, in almost every city around the world, there are Meet-Up groups, where people share their love of cooking, biking, politics and even English conversation itself. These groups are usually free to join. Find them by doing a simple Google search. For example "Meet Up, Running, Vancouver". It’s also an exciting way to build up a social network and meet people from your host country.
Native English speakers, from Canada to Australia, all grew up reading aloud in school from a very young age. I'm sure you learned your native tongue in the same way. Well, it's back to basics! This simple exercise builds vocabulary, improves pronunciation and helps develop grammatical skills. Next time you’re sitting at home, bored out of your mind or with 10 minutes to kill before you head out, use this simple technique. Pick up a book, newspaper or on-line article and start reading it out loud to yourself! Hey, why not start now? Try reciting (say out loud) the next two tips as if you were giving advice to your best friend.
Turn Technology into ‘Talk-nology'
A no-brainer because it’s both fun and easy. Is there a video game you love to play or do you love chatting online with your friends? Perfect! All you have to do is combine your daily use of technology and your love of social networking with English. Most video games have dedicated chat rooms where players can share tips, strategies, and complaints. If you don’t already have a Facebook profile, create one and write updates in English, post pictures with short captions and keep in touch with all the awesome people you meet!
And if you want some contact right away and you don't no where to start, head over to our Facebook Page and leave a post or a comment (in English, of course!) You'll find us at:
Make Foreign Friends
Connect this tip to #8. If you surround yourself with friends, classmates or maybe a home-stay family who do not share your native language, you will be forced to communicate in English. More free practice! Besides, why travel to a new country to learn a new language, only to live the very same life you left behind? There's a wonderful bonus too; you’ll learn all kinds of new things about the diverse cultures of this big, beautiful world.
Be Fearless and Talk To People
So, you’re standing in line at a bus stop, waiting. Or you’re at the coffee shop getting your morning cappuccino. Take advantage of this time and strike up a conversation with the folks around you. It’s as simple as, “Have you been waiting long?” or “What exactly is a London Fog? Is it a coffee?” If you’re eating out for dinner, ask the server what they recommend. I like to ask, "What's your favorite dish?"
And do you want to know the best part? This practice is free and connects you with the city you’re studying in! (Of course, use common sense here. If any part of you feels unsafe, listen to your inner voice and trust your instincts. Always stay safe!)
Don’t Be Afraid To Make Mistakes
Okay, without a doubt, our number one piece of advice for all English learners! In fact, this is for everybody out there who has ever wanted to achieve anything. It may sound like a cliché, and we have all heard it, but have you taken it to heart? Are you ready to fail to succeed?
There are always two kinds of students in any class; the ones who are afraid to make a mistake and the ones who are fearless and say what they think without being self-critical or comparing themselves to their classmates. This second group will see their speaking ability improve quickly. One thing you should try to keep in mind: many of your teachers cannot even speak a second language! IMO (in my opinion) you are super heroes! So be proud! Speak up!