Are you just starting out on your goal to English fluency? Before traveling to a new country, many people buy guidebooks to help them get the most out of their experience. Here is a guide to help you get the most out of your English learning. Watch the video below to hear Gabby reveal the ultimate guide to fluency in English conversation.
Be an ACTIVE and MOTIVATED learner
You cannot rely on others, be proactive in your yearning to learn English. Blaze your own trail, mark your path, push forward and do not wait for others to carry you up the hill. This is about you and your strong desire to learn English. Let that push you.
Know your goals
What do you want to learn in English? Do you want to become a Medical Doctor, or do you want to travel to the USA and be able to carry on a conversation with a native English speaker and not feel lost? Knowing your goal with English will help “set the dial” for your learning, the intensity and focus will be different depending on your needs and goals.
Change your thinking
Think of yourself as an English speaker right now. This will help change your mindset. If you perceive yourself as an English speaker already, you will be less likely to give up. Even if you do not understand a lot right now, you have a foundation to build up from. You have already decided that you are an English speaker. Be proud of this.
Find a conversation partner
It is important to have someone to practice with. This could be tutor, teacher, or friend. You may even be able to find a conversation partner with someone willing to do a language exchange. The internet opens up this possibility to many people. If you live in a larger City you may find language conversation groups.
Get MORE out of listening to English
Do not just focus on meaning, but pay attention to how the words are said.
Don’t stress out
If you make a mistake just keep going. Have fun with it. Let it go. It is not the end of the World when you make a mistake. What a mistake shows is that you are moving in forward motion. You are making progress.
Try keeping a speaking journal
Try keeping it on your smartphone, or any other device where you can record yourself. Keeping a record allows you to see where improvements can be made or to track progress. When you look back to when you first started, it will be a remarkable feeling to see how much has been achieved.
Practice common sentence structures
If you have a few simple sentence structures to build on, it will make it easier for you in conversations, especially if you are just learning, or if you get nervous and lose your confidence when speaking to native English speakers.
“I think that ________”
“It is interesting that ________”
“I feel that _____”
“The best part about ______”
Don’t expect to remember everything! You will need to review to retain your new knowledge. This is the case with everyone. Our brains need to see and use things a few times before they get stored in the larger data bank.
Learn to think in English
Use English in every way you can. Start with your thoughts. Instead of thinking in your native tongue, think in English. Ask yourself in English “what am I going to do today?” and think your day through in English.
Do not just study grammar
Studying grammar will help you with a grammar test, but not conversation. A conversation between native English speakers is not based on proper and perfect grammar. If you want to connect naturally through conversation, drop the rulebook for a while and just enjoy yourself.
Do not translate things from English to your native language
It will take more time and might not work. It distracts you from the conversation you are right in the middle of. Focus instead on English and English alone.
Balance yourself between reading, writing and speaking!
Try and make sure you study a little of each area, to be a more well-rounded learner. There is something each of these skills brings to strengthen your English fluency. When working out at the gym, you do not go in and practice lifting with your arms only and neglect the rest of your body. If all the focus is put on your arms, what good are the strong arms if your legs or back are weak? Focus on all the different areas of English, reading, writing and speaking for a more complete and total fluency.
Consume a variety of sources and topics
There has never been a better time to study English.The internet opens a large World right from your desk, with so many different sources and topics to attract many interests. Find your favorite websites in English and bookmark them. Explore science, or cooking, or travel blogs, whatever it is that gets you excited – feed your interests to keep you motivated in your learning.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
Mistakes are not a bad thing, they actually bring you closer to fluency. Making mistakes is better than doing nothing. When you are paralyzed or stuck in fear it does not give much opportunity for growth. Be a fearless English speaker.
Start speaking immediately
Start speaking right away, do not tell yourself “I will when I get better”. This will delay your learning. Jump right into it.
Focus on the phrases you already know
Find the phrases you are already strong in, and build on them. Do not start somewhere completely new where you are likely to feel overwhelmed and possibly confused. Start out on your strongest foothold.
Use keywords and phrases
When you are building up your fluency, try to find keywords, vocabulary, and phrases that apply to your daily life and will work for you. If you are going to travel to the USA, for example, you are going to want to know the language of navigation. “Where do I catch a cab from here?”, or “Will this bus take me to the ferry terminal?”. As a Medical Student, you are going to want to know the lingo around education and the human body. What you needing most from English is the best place to start your learning.
Listen to podcasts
Podcasts are great because you can take them where you go. You can tune in while doing dishes, on a train or just before bed. There are topics for everyone. The great thing about podcasts is there are only words to listen to and focus on. It draws you right in, the way a very engaging book can do.
Did you know that Go Natural English has a podcast? Tune in here.
Plan your day in English
Make these noted in English. Mark them on your calendar, create a list of things to do or even a simple grocery list. This is useful to help remember day-to-day words, and also build up your vocabulary.
All learners are prone to these. It is hard work, it is human nature to try and get out of it. Stop giving yourself permission to excuse yourself out of learning. You are cheating yourself out of an amazing accomplishment.
Get outside the classroom!
If you want to speak English fluently, you need to get out of the classroom now. Expose yourself to conversational English, the kind native English speakers engage in.
When listening during a conversation – focus on the main idea!
If you do not understand every word – let it go. Even native speakers may not hear every single word in a conversation. Relax and try and understand the main idea.
Listen and Read in English daily
15 minutes a day is all it takes to make progress.
Keep an English writing journal
It could be a real notebook, or on your computer or smartphone.Track your studies, journal your thoughts, practice new words in sentences, or write out your opinions so that it is easier to share them in the moment.
Surround Yourself with English
Join activities in English. Find an online English learning group (or find one in your community), listen to English music, as long as you have the internet anyone can immerse themselves.
Be confident in English, do not be shy
Stop speaking negatively to yourself, or talking yourself down. Repeating positive messages to oneself is important in order to remain confident. Your English may not be perfect, but you can still have self-confidence. Believe that you can improve. Tell yourself that people want to hear what you have to say (because they really do!!).
Watch for patterns
English is not always logical, especially in conversation. There are not black and white rules, but do try and look for patterns and try and copy them. If you hear a phrase, use it too!
Consider the type of learner you are. How do you learn best?
Do you enjoy writing stories or singing songs? Know your learning style and find new ways to engage it.
Make English a part of your morning routine
While you are getting ready for work, try listening to music or the news in English. Read a bit about Gabby’s morning routine and try and implement your own morning routine.
Create your own conversations by writing down potential dialogues. Then practice speaking them out loud with yourself. Once you are comfortable with them, try using them out in a conversation with a native English speaker.
Do not wait for permission to learn English
The greatest part about being an Independent learner is that you set the pace. In a classroom, the teacher tells you when to turn the page. When you are in charge of your own learning, you decide when to learn to the next page.
Use English as a tool
Make English useful to you. It is not just something to learn or memorize. Use it as a tool to connect with others, to do research, to learn something, so that it has more meaning for you in your day-to-day living.
Watch Gabby now as she provides you the ultimate guide to fluency in English conversation!