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For new students General English Listening News Uncategorized Vocabulary

Listening on your own? By Ana Sierra

Listening on your own?

When I was a little girl, I was made to study English as my second language, and I hated it. It was really boring, I was taught lots of grammar rules and writing, but I was never made to speak! So after many years of studying, I couldn’t say a word or express an idea of my own. We never listened to any English either.

One day I realized that it didn’t make any sense.It came to my mind that when we learn our first language, we listen a lot and then we speak. We learn by listening,not by studying rules or reading. And when we start speaking, we usually make mistakes – that’s normal. It doesn’t matter if we don’t use our grammar correctly.We just go on listening until we self-correct our mistakes. Right?

So I thought, why can’t we do the same with a second language: listen a lot and then try to speak; first by repeating what we hear and then, when we get the right words and phrases, we can say what we want? The thing is to listen to our second language as much as we can, so we need to find resources. Fortunately, today we have plenty of stuff on the Internet. We have many sites for students of English. We have different social networks. We have news pages with special activities for students of English, We have movies, and of course Youtube, among other resources.

Let’s see some ideas here:

What do you think? What about this?

The thing is to listen as much as we can! Listen! Listen! Listen!!! It makes sense, right? It’s logical. It’s practical. You can do it while you clean up or tidy your room. You can listen when you walk to school. You can listen when you have a shower!  It’s “ready-to-use” material. You listen and then you can say or repeat what you have just heard.

 

At all levels. You can listen and repeat simple words or phrases first. You can start with some basic vocabulary words:

 

And then build up, add some ideas and learn new expressions:

 

Have you enjoyed Ana’s lesson on listening so far? Well come back next week because she has more fun and listening for you! In the meantime, why not put those listening skills to work by communicating with your fellow students in a group lesson? You can schedule yours here.

 

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Construction English For new students General English IELTS Preparation Listening News pronunciation speaking Uncategorized Vocabulary Writing in English

Strengthen Your Accuracy or Fluency for the IELTS Speaking Test:Tip # 5

The speaking portion of the IELTS test makes some students particularly nervous. It is unlike the other parts of the test. The speaking part involves talking to an actual person who will ask you questions. But there is no need to fear this part of the exam! You can think of your examiner as an acquaintance who would find out about your life and opinions. Imagine that he or she is a colleague at school or work. This can help you to speak naturally and spontaneously as you would in any other conversation.

Jump-start your Speaking Fluency and Accuracy

In order to speak English well, both fluency and accuracy are important. Fluency refers to your rate of speech. Some people speak very slowly and frequently take long pauses to think about grammar or vocabulary. That person is probably not very fluent. However, this same person may be very accurate. Accuracy refers to how often you use the correct grammar and vocabulary for the ideas you are trying to express. Usually, a language learner is stronger in one of these than the other. You can improve your speaking ability by focusing your practice on whichever is weaker for you.

Find out whether you are stronger in fluency or accuracy. A trained English teacher or tutor could help. However, you may not have an English teacher or tutor. You can explain these two terms to an English speaker that you know. The English speaker you choose should at least speak English at a higher level than you. A native speaker would be best. Then ask this person to evaluate your English after a conversation with you. You could find some practice IELTS speaking questions online and ask the English speaker to ask you the questions. Ask this person to consider the question, “What is more distracting or difficult to understand in my English? Is it a problem with fluency (stopping frequently, speaking slowly) or accuracy (wrong grammar or vocabulary)?”

After your conversation, ask this person to honestly answer this question for you. Even if you think you already know the answer, try this activity with a few English speakers. You might be surprised at their responses!

Clearly identify whether your fluency or accuracy is more problematic, then you can take steps to strengthen whichever is weaker.

speaking

For improving fluency:

If your fluency is weaker, it can be helpful to practice. Try answering the same IELTS speaking practice question a few times while recording your voice. Each time you try to answer the question, try to give the same information. Do not change the basic idea of your answer. By the second or third time you answer you might see improvement. You should notice that you are able to say the same information in less time and with less pausing. This repeated process is very important! You may not be able to answer your IELTS question more than once on the day of the exam. Practicing the same question more than once helps you to know what it feels like to speak English more automatically and fluently. With practice, you’ll find that you will speak more and more fluently even on your first answer.

For elevating accuracy:

If your accuracy is weaker, it’s important to pinpoint specific vocabulary or grammar that you are using incorrectly. Then create a new habit of using that vocabulary or grammar in the correct way. To do this, the feedback of a teacher or tutor can be very helpful. But, you can also improve on your own if you can learn to recognize your own errors. To do this, record yourself answering a question. Then with a piece of paper and pencil, listen to your recording. Do you hear any errors? If you aren’t sure, it can also help to try to write or type the words you recorded.

If you hear or see an error, think about why you made that error. Is this error a habit, or in other words, an error that you make often? If this is an error that you usually don’t make, you can ignore it. If it’s a mistake that you make often, you want to work to correct it. Write down the corrected form and then practice speaking your answer to the question again. This time repeat with the help of your written notes. Repeat this until it becomes natural to use the correct form. Then brainstorm other questions you could answer. They should require you to use the same grammar/vocabulary, and continue to record and listen to your answers. Make the word or the grammar principle you are trying to correct your new favorite part of English! Try to use it in conversation with other English speakers—and when you do, ask, “Did I use that correctly?”

Improving your speaking accuracy or fluency will not happen overnight—it takes time and consistent practice. However, it’s absolutely possible! And when you do, you’ll feel well-prepared. You will be ready to give a fluent and accurate answer to any question your examiner might ask!

Categories
General English Listening News Uncategorized

Listening on your own? By Ana Sierra

Listening on your own?

When I was a little girl, I was made to study English as my second language, and I hated it. It was really boring, I was taught lots of grammar rules and writing, but I was never made to speak! So after many years of studying, I couldn’t say a word or express an idea of my own. We never listened to any English either.

One day I realized that it didn’t make any sense.It came to my mind that when we learn our first language, we listen a lot and then we speak. We learn by listening,not by studying rules or reading. And when we start speaking, we usually make mistakes – that’s normal. It doesn’t matter if we don’t use our grammar correctly.We just go on listening until we self-correct our mistakes. Right?

So I thought, why can’t we do the same with a second language: listen a lot and then try to speak; first by repeating what we hear and then, when we get the right words and phrases, we can say what we want? The thing is to listen to our second language as much as we can, so we need to find resources. Fortunately, today we have plenty of stuff on the Internet. We have many sites for students of English. We have different social networks. We have news pages with special activities for students of English, We have movies, and of course Youtube, among other resources.

Let’s see some ideas here:

What do you think? What about this?

The thing is to listen as much as we can! Listen! Listen! Listen!!! It makes sense, right? It’s logical. It’s practical. You can do it while you clean up or tidy your room. You can listen when you walk to school. You can listen when you have a shower!  It’s “ready-to-use” material. You listen and then you can say or repeat what you have just heard.

 

At all levels. You can listen and repeat simple words or phrases first. You can start with some basic vocabulary words:

 

And then build up, add some ideas and learn new expressions:

 

Have you enjoyed Ana’s lesson on listening so far? Well come back next week because she has more fun and listening for you! In the meantime, why not put those listening skills to work by communicating with your fellow students in a group lesson? You can schedule yours here.