How to improve spoken English

How to improve spoken English

I imagine that one of your big objectives in English is to speak better. More vocabulary, more fluency, and more confidence, right?

So what’s the secret?

Today you’ll learn the methods and mindset you need to be better at speaking English. Let’s go!

A little story…

Before we start, a little story about today’s episode. Last month, I was at Europe’s biggest international conference for English teachers, where I went to a presentation by Scott Thornbury, who is one of the most influential authors and teachers in the industry of teaching English.

His presentation was “Hyperpolyglots: What can they teach us?” (Just so you know, a hyperpolyglot is someone who speaks 11 languages or more. So people who know how to learn languages!) As I listened to Scott’s talk, I thought of you guys, and asked him if I could share his research findings with you, because it’s so powerful.

Here’s what you need to know:

Learn by speaking, not by studying

One thing you need to do is speak. Hyperpolyglots learn languages by speaking immediately and as much as possible. Don’t wait until you think your level is good enough. Start speaking immediately, with other people, even if your English is slow and simple.

Also, focus on fluency and don’t worry too much about making mistakes. You’ll correct them progressively, but don’t avoid speaking because you’re afraid of mistakes.

english conversation practice

Mix up your resources

Today, you have so many resources available to learn English: apps, like MosaLingua and Quizlet. Sites like, BBC Learning English, podcasts like All Ears English, and of course episodes and online courses from Speak English with Christina.

Use the variety of resources you have available, and use a mix of things that work for you. Try different apps, podcasts, videos, articles, courses. But mix it up and find what works for you! If you need help with this, I can coach you!

Set goals and work regularly

Now, don’t just do a lot of random activities in English. Watching Game of Thrones, listening to the radio while you drive to work, and writing emails in English is a mix of activities, but there’s no strategy.

To learn better, you need to set goals and work towards them regularly. This keeps you motivated, and your progress will encourage you to continue until it becomes a habit. Fix your goals, very specific goals, and then define how you will reach your goals, little by little.

If you need help fixing specific, strategic goals, this episode, and this (old) episode will help you. And you’ll laugh at that one because it’s so old and I’m so bad in it. Like with languages, you have to start somewhere and improve from there.

Be strategic with your practice

There are lots of strategies that help you become fluent: memorizing chunks (fixed expressions) that accelerate fluency, translating from your language to English and back, shadowing to improve your pronunciation, finding mnemonic devices to remember vocabulary better, spacing revision sessions so the vocabulary stays fresh in your mind, until it becomes automatic.

With good materials, discipline, and perhaps even a coach to guide you, you can accelerate your progress by being strategic, and not just doing random things in English.

And remember, it takes time to learn what works best for you.

Experiment. Be adventurous. Ask for help if you need it.

But don’t hide behind excuses like “I don’t have time” or “I’m not confident.” You can do this, if you’re serious about improving.

Start by watching this episode, and practicing your listening skills!

Now, what about you?

What’s one thing you’re going to do this week to implement today’s advice?

Share it in the comments, and then go out and do it!

And don’t forget, if you want to implement some of these tips starting next week, join my Faster Fluency Conversation Club.

It’s a live speaking club with me and other students, where you can have fun becoming more fluent in English conversations. Registrations are open until Tuesday May 22, 2018.

Thanks for watching Speak English with Christina, and I’ll see you next time!

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