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Learning A New Language is Embarrassing! How Can I Speak English Confidently?

Consider this a public service announcement for anyone who is feeling negatively about their language learning experience. Here we want to provide you with 3 simple methods for getting your mind out of a rut about your abilities.

learning new language
Learning New Language

3 Essential Confidence Boosters:

1. Create an environment

The first step is to create an environment that does not encourage negative feelings about your learning. If people are embarrassing you for making mistakes when learning something new, then you have the wrong kind of people in your life! Never tolerate a teacher, a pupil, or a colleague that will belittle you for trying to improve yourself! The first step towards feeling more confident, in this case, is to surround yourself with an understanding group of people, like fellow learners and English teachers, who will see your mistakes as steps towards becoming a masterful user of the English language. Give yourself the space to make mistakes, mistakes are steps towards improvement.

learning new language
Learning New Language

2. Look silly before looking Professional

The second step is to accept the fact that you have to look silly before you can look professional! It is absolutely essential to remember that no one starts as a professional. Everyone starts as being bad at something before they can become good at something. Feeling embarrassed is perfectly normal. You, and every single adult learner, will feel silly or ashamed for not knowing something. And that is perfectly okay. You have to feel silly before you can feel good! The silly and embarrassing feelings will pass, and we are here to help you through it! Keep persisting, persevere, and know that you are building yourself up towards competency. It just takes time!

learning new language
Learning New Language

3. Tangible forms of evidence of Progressing

The last step is to give yourself tangible forms of evidence that you are progressing and improving your English language abilities. In a classroom, if you have a good teacher, they will make sure that all their learners are aware of how much progress they are making. You will receive marks, praise, and feedback from a teacher who will keep track of what you are doing. If you are an independent learner, you can produce marks for yourself! Find activities that you will do on a regular basis. Just like in a classroom, and make sure you keep a record of the fact that you did those activities.

Sometimes the way you feel about your progress contradicts the reality: you might feel like you are making no progress at all, when in fact, you are steadily learning. A physical mark or tangible record of this fact will help your mind see the reality of your progress and make you a more confident speaker of English.

By Thomas Marais

Thomas is a native English speaker from South Africa, who graduated cum laude and uses his honors bachelor’s degree in the Humanities to provide professional English tutoring to children and adults. He is a TEFL certified teacher and teaches teach both children and adults at any language level.

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Myths About Learning English: Faellis Wollard

When learning a new craft, naturally we tend to take all the advice we can get. Learning English is no exception. But could it be that somewhere along your English learning journey, you might’ve run with some not so true ideas? While having as many resources available at your disposal, to finally get that fluency and pronunciation you so desire, is great. It is possible that you might be entertaining ideas about learning English that are myths. Let’s discuss three myths about learning English that could be holding you back from reaching your full potential.

English learning

Myth #1 – High English level= Effective communication

It’s easy to believe that the higher the English level, the easier it should be to get a clear message across. However, this often proves untrue because of one key factor; attitude. For a lot of high-level English learners, the fear of being judged causes them to hyper focus on the correctness of what they’re trying to communicate instead of the clarity of their message. This being the reason why lower-level English learners who are not afraid to embrace mistakes, can communicate their message with more clarity and effectiveness.

Tip

  • Instead of focusing on yourself and how you sound, focus on the person with whom you wish to communicate and the message you wish to make clear.

Myth #2 -It’s necessary to move to an English-speaking country

 Undoubtedly, moving abroad to immerse oneself in the language and culture of an English country could be an awesome resource. Needless to say, it is not an option that every English learner can actively explore; for various reasons, such as having responsibilities where they currently reside, not wanting to leave family and friends behind or simply not having the budget for it. I’m sure you’ll find relief in knowing it’s also NOT necessary. You can make English learning a lifestyle without going to live abroad.

Tip

  • Use the resources you do have available, such as English learning communities with like minded people who also wish to sharpen their skills.

Myth#3 – Grammar is not important

No, Grammar is not the key to learning English and communicating effectively. It’s no secret that grammar is not the most fun part of it either. It can seem boring and tedious to have to go over rules that admittedly sometimes seem to not make sense. However, combined with the other areas of English Learning, grammar is an excellent tool to achieve fluency and effective communication. So, don’t be so quick to kick grammar to the curb!

             

Tip

  • Grammar is another resource. It will help you in achieving your goals of Learning and communicating in English like a champ.

So, there you have it, three English learning myths debunked. Surely everyone’s experience is different, but that’s the beauty of it. This is the key to do what’s best for you with the resources you have available and you will be on your way to success!

Faellis Wollard

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Writing the perfect business email in English

To whom it may concern –

Sending an email in the modern era is more casual and convenient than it has ever been before. Making plans with friends and keeping in touch with loved ones from across the world is only a few button presses away. But there exists a clear line between personal and business emails, a line that needs to be defined.

Writing the perfect business email may seem like a daunting and frightful task, but fear not. Addressing official recipients does not require a pocket-sized thesaurus (although I’d imagine it would certainly help!). One of the most important considerations when sending emails that are more official in nature is the language used. Slang words, colloquialisms and inside-jokes should be avoided at all costs. A note of formality is something that should be foremost. Politeness is key!

email
Writing the perfect business email in English

Professionalism is something that transcends language. Ensure that mentality is reflected throughout any business email you may send. Address the recipient with their full name and title, ensure you have signed off with your full name and credentials. Be concise, informative. Do not beat around the bush, this email ought to have a clear and defined purpose. This ideal should be reflected in the basic outline of any formal email:

  1. Subject
  2. Greetings
  3. Main Text
  4. Signature

And of course, check thoroughly for any grammatical and spelling errors.

Tonally, it is important to remain neutral. Do not let the subject matter sway you, emotionally. Allowing that to seep into the language you use and the emails you send can be quite problematic. You could potentially come across as hot-headed and extremely unprofessional.

This sort of neutrality and formality is all indicative of the unspoken law of Corporate email. Personal emails have a completely different set of standards and etiquette. Would you speak to the Queen of England in the same way you would speak to a childhood friend?

Yours sincerely,

Sadun Chamira Perera, B.Eng

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A Message from the Founder

Hi, my name is Toni Parks, and I’m the founder of World’s English. I think I already know a little about you—let’s see if I’m right. First off, you want English lessons that are at your English level. The lessons should have topics important to your goals. They need to challenge you and keep your attention. You also want an English teacher who is experienced, compassionate, and a native English speaker—a teacher you feel comfortable with, should have a clear plan for exactly how to improve your English in the shortest time possible. You also need to have lessons at times that fit your busy schedule. Online lessons are best for you because you can study from anywhere.

Founder
Founder of World’s English



Does this sound like you? If so, I have great news—you’ve found what you’re looking for! World’s English is an online language school with specialized courses in business English, exam preparation, medical English [you can insert a list of the courses you’d like to highlight here.. can end with “and more” if not all of them are listed]. When you sign up for a course with us, you’ll take an exam to determine your English level. Then you’ll receive a detailed plan—called your Personal English Action Plan—that shows exactly what you need to work on to improve your English. In your lessons, your teacher will use the plan to teach you exactly what you need most–so you’ll see real improvement from every lesson. I customized the Lessons what you need. If you need to progress very quickly, your teacher will assign homework so you can practice what you learn outside of class. If you don’t want homework, that’s okay too. At World’s English, we believe your English course should fit your needs.

I love helping people improve their English because I know it can make such a difference in their lives. It can open doors to better educational opportunities, higher paying jobs, and more confidence in English-speaking settings. As a World’s English student, you’ll have our 100% support in reaching your goals. We believe in you and want you to succeed!

So, this is my personal invitation to you—don’t wait to make this commitment to yourself. If your English is holding you back, sign up for a World’s English course today and let’s get started! See you in a lesson!

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Tip #4 : Identify and Strengthen Your Weakest Skill

The IELTS test is comprised of four parts: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Each of these parts represents a language skill. Your overall IELTS score is the average of your scores on the four parts of the test, so if you receive a low score on one part, it will lower your overall score. Many people feel that some of their English skills are weaker than others. For example, a student might feel like she can read and write English well, but she is nervous about speaking and listening. If you feel that one or two of your English skills are behind the others, this tip is for you!

For your first step, take a practice IELTS exam and note the part of the test that you score the lowest on. Don’t assume that you know the part you will score the lowest on without taking a practice test. Your scores may surprise you! If you notice that your scores on one or two parts are significantly lower than the others, and you agree that you generally struggle with those skills the most, you will likely benefit from focusing on those skills as you prepare.

How do you focus on a specific skill? The most important thing to remember is that in order to improve a skill, you have to practice it! Although it seems simple, many people don’t realize that they aren’t practicing English in a way that will improve their weaker skills. For example, if you need to improve your speaking skills, you must speak English. Reading or writing English will only help your ability to speak a small amount, and it likely won’t be enough to improve your score on the IETLS test. Or, if you need to improve your writing, then you need to write; speaking and listening will not be the best way to prepare.

Often, weak skills are weak for a particular reason that is related to a student’s environment or background in English. For example, if you are strong in speaking but weak in writing, maybe it is because you use English for work conversations, but you have never studied it in school. If you are strong in reading but weak in listening, maybe it is because you read English in school but never had many conversations with native speakers. So in order to practice your weak skills, you may need to change your environment or routines a little. Here are some suggestions of changes you can make to practice each language skill:

Skill
Listening Skill
  • Listen to the news in English online instead of in your native language
  • Find in-person or online English conversation partners and practice listening to and responding to them regularly. Prepare questions to ask them so that you can listen to their answers. Don’t be afraid to say that you don’t understand and that you’d like your partner to repeat what they said.
  • Watch films in English. First, you may want to watch movies with English subtitles. Then, repeat the movie and turn the subtitles off.
Reading Skill
  • Start a habit of reading something in English every day. Especially if you don’t enjoy reading in English, find a topic to read that is interesting to you so that you are motivated to read every day.
  • Choose things to read that are at your reading level. There should be about 1-3 words per paragraph that you don’t understand. If you are reading something with many words you don’t know, you’ll have to start reading and start looking up works. Then you will be studying vocabulary instead of practicing reading!
Writing Skill
  • Find someone that you can regularly write to in English. Maybe it is another English student like you; this can be great practice for both of you! Decide together whether you will text, write e-mails, or write paper letters, and discuss how often you will communicate.
  • Keep a daily written journal in English.
Speaking Skill
  • Find in-person or online English conversation partner sand practice speaking with them regularly. If your speaking skills are weak, explain carefully (maybe in writing) that you need to practice speaking English. Ask your conversation partner to be patient and allow you to think if you need time before you speak. Be honest with your partner if you feel you are not getting enough time to practice speaking during the conversation.
  • Keep a daily audio journal in English. Record yourself speaking about your day, your feelings—anything that you would like to record and remember!

You might think that it would be great to practice all of the skills, and so you want to use all of the suggestions. Remember, though, that being consistent is key. Most people can’t start many new habits at once and continue doing all of them. For most people, it is better to pick just one or two suggestions for the skills that need the most improvement and start implementing them consistently. Then, when these suggestions are part of your normal routine, you can add others. As you continue, you’ll feel more confident and more well-rounded in your English abilities!

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Tip #3 Study Vocabulary

Grammar is like an engine, and vocabulary is the fuel for your engine. If you can use past perfect progressive and passive voice like a pro, you have a powerful engine. But if you don’t have enough vocabulary “fuel,” your powerful engine of grammar skills still won’t take you anywhere! This article covers what vocabulary you should study for the IELTS as well as how to study it.

What Vocabulary to Study

First, something that can’t be stressed enough—the vocabulary you study should depend on the type of IELTS test you are taking. Why? Because the IELTS General Training test and the IELTS Academic test have different reading and writing sections. These sections will have different types of vocabulary. If you’re studying for the IETLS General Training test, you should be studying general high frequency words. If you’re studying for the IETLS Academic test, you should be studying academic high frequency words.

vocabulary

What are high frequency words? Simply put, high frequency words are the words that people use the most. General high frequency words are words that are most commonly used in English as a whole. Academic high frequency academic words are most commonly used words in academic settings—for example, in scholarly articles or in interactions between professors and students.

How do you know what words are “high frequency” words? Luckily, you don’t have to figure it out yourself! Linguists have spent much time developing high frequency words lists based on careful research. If you are studying for the IETLS General Training test, you might try studying the New General Service List. If you are studying for the IETLS Academic test, you’ll find the New Academic Word List more helpful.

You might wonder why you just shouldn’t study any words that you don’t know. After all, it’s always good to study new words, right? While that may be true, to study for the IELTS, some words will be much more useful than others. You likely have limited time before you will take the test. These vocabulary lists will help you study the words that you’re most likely to see, hear, read, and want to say on the IELTS—maximizing your time spent studying vocabulary.

How to Study Vocabulary

Study vocabulary every day. Even if it’s just a few minutes, some study every day will be better than several hours once a week. Most people need a lot of repetition of new words. You will get the repetition you need only by reviewing vocabulary daily.

To use repetition to your best advantage, practice “spaced repetition.” To do this, study the same words several times, but always increase the time between study sessions with those words. For example, say you study seven words one day. The next day, study those same seven words again. After that, study those words again in two days, then in four days, then in a week, in two weeks, in a month, etc. During the days that you don’t study those seven words, introduce new words that you will also repeat with spaced repetition. This will mean that you have different groups of words following different study schedules. Make a system for yourself so that you can keep track of what group of words you should study each day and when you should study each group again.

You can practice spaced repetition with vocabulary using paper lists or paper flashcards, but you can also use technology to help you. For example, Anki is a program that allows you to create or download electronic flashcards. This program can automatically regulate spaced repetition so that you don’t have to keep track of what words you need to study each day.

Don’t let vocabulary hold you back from getting your ideal score on the IELTS. Commit to studying vocabulary every day, and look for opportunities to use the vocabulary you learn when speaking and writing in English. To improve your spoken vocabulary, you can ask English-speaking friends to tell you when you use a word incorrectly. However, because English speakers don’t always feel comfortable pointing out mistakes, you may want to consider working with an English teacher who has been trained to help you fix vocabulary errors.

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Tip #2: Set a Realistic Timeframe for Your Preparation

Many students ask how long it will take to prepare for the IELTS test. Some students hope that they can do well on the test with only a few weeks of study—and some can! For others, studying will take much longer. It’s important to have realistic expectations about the preparation you will need. How much time you will need to prepare depends on two major factors:

1. The scores you hope to achieve and

2. The scores you can achieve now without studying.

The scores you hope to achieve are likely determined by your reason for taking the IELTS. For example, if you’re interested in applying to an undergraduate program at the University of Toronto, you’d need an overall band score of 6.5 with no band below 6.0 in order to be admitted. To apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa to the UK, you’d need at least a 4.0 in each of the four bands. You will need to research the requirements for the school, country, or program you are interested in to determine the score you’ll need. Find out these requirements as soon as possible—you need to know what you’re aiming for!

Then, to determine the score you can achieve now without studying, find and take a practice IELTS test. There are two types of IELTS tests: the Academic IELTS and the General Training IELTS. The two types have different reading and writing sections. So it’s important to find a practice test with reading and writing sections for the type of IETLS . The British Council offers high-quality, free practice test materials for both types here.

When you take the practice test, imagine that it is the real IELTS. Read the instructions carefully, do not use any dictionaries or other materials, and do not allow yourself extra time. Your goal is to make the practice test as similar as possible to the real test. If you spend extra time answering questions or allow yourself to look up words on the practice test, your scores will not reflect your true ability. Be honest with yourself so that you can get a clear picture of how much you will need to study.

Preparation

Once you know the scores you need to achieve and the scores you can achieve now, you’ll have a better idea of how long you should plan to do preparation before taking the test. If your practice test score is only one band below the score you’ll need, you may only need to study for a month or two. If your score is more than one band below what you’ll need, you will probably need to plan a longer time for studying—likely at least a few months, and maybe longer. How much time you will need also depends on how much time you can study each day. How consistently you study, and whether you study in a test preparation course with an instructor to provide feedback.

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Keep Your Brain Engaged With Conditionals, Slowly, Steadily, Forward

Conditionals
Keep Your Brain Engaged With Conditionals, Slowly, Steadily, Forward

It is exceedingly important to continuously introduce yourself to new conditionals or rules and vocabulary when learning a new language or when trying to improve your skills in an existing one. You might not realize it, but you can easily become bored or frustrated with yourself if you start feeling like you are not making any progress.

So here we want to introduce conditionals to you, and perhaps expand your knowledge on them if you are already familiar. This grammatical rule is a multi-layered one that will keep you engaged for a long time, as it also incorporates many other language rules that will encourage you to get creative with your knowledge on how to apply the rules of English.

‘If’ Clauses

Conditionals are known as ‘if’ clauses. They are present in every language. In English, they express the result of something that has happened. Also something that might happen, or did not happen. It relies on conjugations of verb tenses, and so will expand your speaking abilities.

There are four conditional rules, as well as their uses and meaning. Keep in mind that these rules are attempting to talk about situations and events that may or may not happen:

Conditionals:

The Zero Conditional refers to what is now/always real/possible. Use them to make truthful statements, so ‘if this happens, then that happens’. For example: “If you press the flick the light switch, the light will turn on”.

The First Conditional is used to talk about future events. It describes possibilities. So ‘if this happens, then this might happen/this won’t happen’. For example: “If the sun shines, then I will take my dog for a walk”.

The Second Conditional has two uses. We can use it to talk about future events that will probably not happen, and we can use it to refer to something in the present that is impossible. In the first use, we might say something like: “She would go to college if she ever made an effort”. In the second use we might say something like: “If I had gone to MIT, I would be an astronaut”. The second conditional is used for unlikely or impossible events.

The Third Conditional speaks about the past, particularly a situation that did not happen. So ‘if this had happened, this would have happened’. For example: “If I had eaten more, I wouldn’t have been hungry”.

Keep Learning

All of these deserve their own section, since there is also a mixed conditional clause, and they come with a specific set of rules. Now that you are more aware of them though, feel free to click on the above links and learn more about these essential clauses and how to apply them. You will see that learning a rule will allow you to keep introducing yourself to new kinds of vocabulary and even more rules, which will give you a tangible way of proving to yourself that you are making progress and improving your language abilities.

By Thomas Marais


Thomas Marais is a native English speaker from South Africa. He graduated cum laude and uses his honors bachelor’s degree in the Humanities to provide professional English tutoring to children and adults. He is a TEFL certified teacher and teaches teach both children and adults at any language level.

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Don’t Give Up! 3 Tips for Maintaining English Learning Motivation

Every morning when you wake up, your first thought is, “I am so excited to study English today!” Right?! …Okay, maybe not. Honestly, even the most dedicated English students have days when they don’t want to study. So if you’re feeling like opening that English book and learning English is the last thing you want to do, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad student! It just means your motivation is running a little low. Fortunately, there are things you can do to increase your motivation—let’s look a few.

Strengthen your vision of your future

Take a step back for a moment. Why are you learning English? Is it to get a better job? To be comfortable in a new country? To complete university studies in English? Whatever your goals are, imagine that you’ve finally reached them. You’re speaking fluently, writing without mistakes and able to read English easily. Think about exactly what you’ll be doing and how you’ll feel. Write down your thoughts and feelings on a piece of paper that you can keep nearby. Then, when you’re feeling like you don’t want to study, pull out the paper and review what you wrote. Remind yourself of the great opportunities that English will bring you. Sometimes remembering your reasons for studying English will be all you need to get yourself ready for another English lesson!

Find someone you really want to talk to

Do you have an English-speaking friend? If not, make it a priority to find one. If you can find a friend who is a native English speaker, even better! When you have English-speaking friends, not only will you be naturally motivated to communicate, you’ll also probably start using some of their vocabulary, phrases, and accent without even trying! And even if you live in an area far from where native-English speakers live, with today’s modern technology you can meet and have conversations with people throughout the world. You might try to find someone interested in learning your native language; then, split your conversation time between English and your native language.

Have a clear plan for learning English

You’ll be most successful at learning English if you know exactly where, when, and what you’ll study. Having a set time and place for your study can help it to become a habit. When you have a habit of studying English, you won’t be tempted to do other things if you’re not feeling motivated. Studying will just be regular part of your routine! A plan for your what you’ll study is also important.

Without a plan, you won’t know what English learning activity you should start first. You also won’t be able to measure if you’re making progress. To avoid this, spend some time creating a plan of what you will study each day and what you hope to learn as a result. Then at the end of your study time, review your plan. Did you learn what you hoped? What more do you need to study? Change your plan as necessary to help you meet your goals.

If you’re looking for an easy way to incorporate all three of these tips into your English studies, why not take a course from World’s English? As a World’s English student, you’ll receive a free Personal English Action Plan so you’ll know exactly what you need to study. You’ll also have access to our dedicated, native English-speaking teachers who will love to talk with you! Let World’s English know about your goals, and they’ll help you reach them!

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Ways to Reduce Stress When Taking the IELTS or TOEFL

To Reduce Stress is very important as we all know IELTS or TOEFL exam is a hard-line exam. For the test takers, it doesn’t matter that how many hours of preparation they had done or what level of English Language they have. They spend their time on too much preparation of writing skills, grammar, speaking, and vocabulary but they just fail for one reason and that is exam stress. They are so busy in preparation that they almost forget about exam nerves.

Here are some ways to reduce stress when taking the IELTS or TOEFL.

Reduce Stress

Get some rest and relax before the exam

On the day before the exam, you are not likely to learn anything. So, the best you can do is to relax, get some good sleep, play games, watch movies or do something other than exam preparation. Just save your potential for the exam ahead.

Have a positive attitude with yourself

Remember that you have done full preparation for the exam and you will do your best in exam. Many students have bad assumptions about themselves. They think that they will fail in the exam and get stressed out by their expectations. If you have a positive attitude with yourself then you can give your best to the exam.

Be in a good mood and take a look at other candidates

One more way to control exam stress is to be in a good and refreshed mood before the exam. Chat with people, eat healthy stuff, listen to music and just relax. When you enter the exam center just take a look at other students, you all are same on the exam day. Everyone is getting nervous so make sure to get into your comfort zone.

Do your best and don’t worry about failure

In the exam, you just have to focus and do your best. If you don’t get the marks you want then don’t worry about failure you can try again and give yourself another chance. Don’t give up on yourself and always take a step forward so that you can reduce your stress.

By HIFZA RAHAT