How to improve your fluency in Englisharticle written by Bernard Vasconcelos on July 1st, 2021
I have noticed that many English students from around the world get really frustrated because they go to language schools but don’t develop their fluency in English. Students spend months and sometimes years studying English only to quit unsatisfied with their speaking skills and blaming themselves for not having enough time to study. Many dreams are put aside, such as studying abroad, living abroad, or job opportunities, because fluency in English is not obtained. Speaking English is an obtainable skill if you put in the effort with the right method.
Many language schools teach English giving too much focus on content (grammar, vocabulary words) so students can study, do book activities and then pass a test so they can advance in the school’s curriculum. This model is used in regular schools to teach kids history, literature, biology, chemistry, and other subjects that require memorization and understanding. English, however, is a skill to be used to communicate with others. You can produce the language in its written or oral form and you can decode it through reading or listening. Grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation are used thoroughly, but to communicate. Knowing grammar, vocabulary, and how to pronounce words does people no good if they are not using them to communicate. Therefore, the most important way to learn a language is by practicing communication skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
Unfortunately, most language schools don’t allow much time for students to practice their speaking skills, since they are busy explaining grammar rules. Schools do offer some controlled activities where a student may speak in small groups about a topic for a couple of minutes, but this is barely enough. Imagine having to learn how to play the piano by only listening to a teacher play and explain music theory and allowing you to only play for 2 minutes. Or learning how to play tennis from a coach who teaches you the rules, movements, and game strategies, but allowing you to hit the ball only 10 times each practice. This is how I see many language schools teaching English: teaching a lot and not allowing students enough time to practice their speaking skills.
The best way to improve fluency in English (or any language) is by practicing as much as possible. Imagine living in a small town in the United States, where only English is spoken. You will have no other option but to learn it through experience. Not everyone is willing or has the time or money to do this though. So below I will give some tips on what you can do to improve your fluency.
Follow a digital influencer on social media, that stimulates you to listen and think in English. Just listening to someone speak and asking you questions to reflect upon can help you get started. Thinking in English helps you reorganize your thoughts and prepare to speak. In our Instagram, we have one of our teachers produce videos talking about a topic and asking questions for students to respond to in English). Check it out and get started right now. www.instagram.com/conversationalive
Find a hobby that will force you to use English. If you live in an English-speaking country, this may be easier for you. If you join a group activity, such as painting, cooking, sport, church, volunteer, book club, gardening, poker, etc, you will find people with common interests and you will force yourself to practice English. If you live in a country that does not speak English, then you may find something online. Our live online English conversation classes are a great way to meet new people and improve your speaking skills and listening skills.
Find someone to speak to regularly. If you make a friend that only speaks English with you, that works really well. If you have trouble, you can always pay a private teacher to have conversation classes. This may be a more expensive route depending on the professional you find. When you hire a teacher, you will have a professional who will correct and guide you. However, finding someone to speak to that is not a teacher will help you as well, since the goal is to practice your conversation and use the language. You can also search for a language exchange partner online.
Enroll yourself in a course you might enjoy doing in English. It could be in-person or online. You don't have to be in a language school to improve your fluency in English. If you sign up for an accounting course, cooking course, drawing course, etc. you will find yourself learning lots of new vocabulary words and practicing your listening skills. You may not practice your speaking skills if it is an online course or if it does not require any interactions, but if you are studying in English, it helps you think in English. When you think, you are producing the language for yourself, and that also helps you improve your English.
Studying abroad is also a fantastic way to improve your language skills. It is not a cheap option, but it is an experience of a lifetime. If you are able to stay with a host family, this will also help you a lot with your speaking skills, since you will be forced to talk in English with your host family. The more you immerse yourself into using English, the faster you will improve. When a family moves abroad, the children typically learn English really fast because they are immersed in school for 8 hours a day and speaking with friends when not in school.
Finally, if you want to improve your fluency in English, you need to put in hours of practice (not studying). Just like an airplane pilot needs his flying hours to obtain a license to fly a commercial plane, you need to practice and speak many and many hours in order to improve your fluency and use it in a useful way in your life.
Conversation Alive has a unique program for those English students who have trouble finding a way to practice their speaking skills. If you can’t find an English-speaking friend or hobby or course that requires you to speak English, then that is where Conversation Alive’s speaking club comes in. We developed a program that can be your hobby and you will make new friends in the same situation as you are. In our online English conversation classes, you will find other students to speak English with and improve your fluency. We offer 8 classes a week, each 1 hour long, where the main purpose is to discuss different topics with other students from around the world. You will not learn English with Conversation Alive, but you will develop your English skills, learn and use new vocabulary words and improve your listening skills, conversation skills, and fluency. In every class, you will find a live teacher to guide the class and help students out when needed.
Conversation Alive is not an app to do online English exercises, it is not a bunch of pre-recorded videos teaching you English grammar, nor is it private or group classes that teach you English. You will find many programs with these features online. Conversation Alive, however, offers live English conversation classes for you to practice and develop your English skills with a live teacher and real students from around the world. The more you practice, the more you will see your English evolve. Join our speaking classes today. You can get a free demo class by requesting one by email: Info@conversationalive.com