Speaking

Chances are you’ve got no problem chatting away to your friends when you should be quiet in class, but in your language class that’s what your teacher wants you to do.

The best way of gaining confidence in your language is to practice saying everything out loud. Everyone has a different accent in English, so it’s ok that you don't sound the same as your friends in a different language; it’s nothing to be embarrassed about.

Tips for improving your speaking:

Handy hint:

“Don’t be afraid of making mistakes - we all make them (even in English) and we all learn from them. ”

  • Make the most of being able to speak in class and answer questions from your teacher.
  • Choose a friend to work with whenever you practice speaking as you’ll be more confident talking to someone you know well and feel comfortable with.
  • Take your time, don't rush what you want to say.
  • Be clear with what you have to say; clear pronunciation is important.
  • Don’t be afraid of making mistakes - we all make them (even in English) and we all learn from them. 
  • Speak as much as you can, the more you do it the easier it’ll get and the more confident you'll find speaking out loud.
  • If you can go to a language assistant, go with a small group of people you know so you feel at ease.
  • Try speaking to your teacher one-on-one in the foreign language as much as you can - at the beginning of class chat about the weather or how rubbish your lesson before was or talk about sports. 
  • Practice as much as you can when you’re on holiday. Not everyone speaks English and when you're abroad the local people really appreciate you speaking in their language.

Tips for confident speaking in class:

Confidence boost:

"Try to prepare an answer in your head to any question your teacher asks. Even if you’re not the one to give the answer to the class, it all helps for when it is your turn and you won’t be left on the spot trying to think up an answer."

  • Don’t be shy, always try to answer a question your teacher asks.
  • Make a real effort not to slip into English in group work, it can be tempting when the teacher isn’t listening but you’re not going to improve speaking in your foreign language in the long run.
  • Try to prepare an answer in your head to any question your teacher asks. Even if you’re not the one to give the answer to the class, it all helps for when it is your turn and you won’t be left on the spot trying to think up an answer.
  • If you are confident and happy speaking, try and encourage others. Support from friends and classmates is often more effective than from a teacher.
  • The more you speak in class the more confident you’ll become. Although it may seem really daunting at first, it will be really beneficial if you get involved in your language classes - and you'll enjoy it!
  • Memorise some simple phrases to use in class, such as 'I don’t have a pen', or 'I don't understand', 'please can you repeat', 'please slow down' or 'I need the toilet'. Knowing these will give you the confidence to speak in class as they’re things you say all the time.
  • Learn conversational fillers such as '...well...', 'let me think...', 'hmmmm...' etc. These expressions are great because they make you sound like a native speaker and give you a little more time to think of the answer.

As well as using these tips to improve your speaking, there are also loads of other things you can do. When you meet up with your friends, you could chat about your favourite food, drink, colours, pets, even who you fancy or the latest gossip. See what you can do to make break times more fun.