Don’t want to miss any tips and tricks for English?
Is your number one goal in English to improve your speaking skills?
For many of my students over the years, it has been, or their speaking needs much more work than their other skills.
Sometimes, students can be so amazing at reading, writing and grammar, but because they focus on academics, their ability to communicate can be quite poor.
As a teacher, I understand you can’t focus on every skill equally especially if you’ve got lots of homework, a job, or a family to take care of.
This means little time for conversation groups or making friends with native speakers.
So I recommend recording yourself!
Why Record Yourself?
Use YouTube captions for subtitles
1. Catch Your Mistakes
ESL learners want to take classes or talk to a native speakers so someone proficient in English can catch their mistakes.
However, if you are an intermediate or advanced student or if your grammar is one of your better skills, I bet you can catch many of your own mistakes, especially the obvious ones.
Of course, learning with a teacher always helps, but becoming an independent language learner means relying more and more on yourself; you have to decide when to practice, how often, and what you need to work on most.
Listening to your own recording will make it clear what you need to work on the most.
2. Practice Tone & Attitude
When you ask a question sometimes, do your listeners think you made a statement?
Or when you finished talking, do people still think that you’re not done?
When you tell a joke, do your listeners sometimes think you were being serious?
Do people have a hard time understanding the feelings or moods behind your words?
If you have had any of these problems, then you need to work on your intonation. You can listen to even just an audio recording of your voice and see if your tone or feelings were clear.
Or if these misunderstandings are a constant problem, then you can practice making your tone unmistakable through rerecordings.
For instance, check if the pitch of your voice fell at the end of sentences like it should for a statement. And tell your joke again but with exaggeration in tone to make sure the humor is obvious.
3. Work on Body Language
One of the things students don’t get enough practice with in class is body language. I don’t just mean during presentations; I mean during everyday conversation to make your message as clear to your listener as possible.
If you record video, you can see with your own eyes if you’re a boring speaker or an interesting one – be honest with yourself 😛
Try to find the moments when you can add a gesture with your hands or lift an eyebrow or shrug a shoulder to make your message more clear and the expression on your face more engaging.
Now, I’m not saying you should pretend to be a different person; do what comes naturally. But since they say most of our message is delivered through body language, then it makes sense to use more of it.
4. Boost Your Confidence
When I have suggested to my students that they should record themselves, almost everyone is too shy to do so.
Even though we live in a world of social media where everyone shares their lives online, and they really want to improve their speaking skills, the idea of hearing and seeing themselves speak English makes them so nervous.
You know, even though I’ve been teaching for many years, I still got shy at the idea of making YouTube videos for learners like you, but now I’m much more comfortable with how I look on camera, and it’s making me more confident with my teaching business.
I promise you, if you get into the habit of watching and listening to yourself in English, you will get much more comfortable talking to native speakers, either friends or complete strangers.
Language learners always have an idea of how they sound in their head, thinking they sound so terrible in reality. But if you can watch yourself and learn not to get embarrassed, then you can become comfortable with your English voice.
There’s no reason to be shy, no matter what your level, because any level of English is perfectly normal and acceptable.
Probably, you don’t sound as bad as you think you do. But even if that’s the case, by listening and catching obvious mistakes and rerecording, you’ll get better faster, definitely faster than when you’re not aware of the mistakes.