There are many challenges to learning a new language, but none are perhaps more harmful than our lack of confidence. With doubt and hesitation hampering our ability to improve, our journey to mastering English can be especially frustrating.
Here are several learning tips that can help you build your confidence in speaking English:
1. Listen and repeat
We all have a favorite movie, television show or even YouTube channel. But instead of just watching them silently, listen carefully to what the characters or hosts are saying and repeat the dialogue that interests you. Go ahead and pause, rewind and listen to the lines several times if you must. Or better yet, turn on the English subtitles setting to help you identify each word. This is a fun way of practicing both your listening and speaking skills with materials that are both enjoyable and entertaining.
2. Find a friend
It’s always difficult to practice by yourself, especially when it comes to improving your speaking skills. Therefore, find a likeminded group of friends or classmates who shares your goal of becoming more confident in using English. Get together and implement the “English Only” rule while you hang out, meaning that everyone must only speak English for the next hour or two. With such a support system, you’ll feel more secured to open up and speak English without being hampered by insecurities.
3. Read out loud
Whether you prefer a novel or a piece of non-fiction text, spend at least 30 minutes every day reading, and then another 30 minutes reading out loud. This is a great way of developing your reading skills while practicing pronunciation as well as intonation of various words and lengths of sentences. If you are unsure of how to pronounce a specific word, simply consult a learner’s dictionary, Google or YouTube. But don’t get too caught up on the details of every single word you don’t understand. The point of this exercise is to enhance your confidence in speaking, and reading out loud allows you to practice pronunciation in the privacy and comfort of your own home/room.
4. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes
Remember: it’s okay to make mistakes. If you find yourself stumbling across long or complicated words, simply stop and give yourself a few seconds to breathe, then continue speaking. The fact that you’re communicating in a language that is not your mother tongue is reason enough for your to be proud of your accomplishments.
As with every difficult task, the key to speaking English with confidence is to practice, practice and practice some more. Be consistent in your language journey and make sure to set aside some time every day to speak English!