The key to learning English fast is to start speaking early. And also to focus all the time on speaking complete sentences. Not talking about grammar or trying to remember big lists of vocab, or listening to lots of other non-native speakers talk in a large, crowded classroom.
Start making sentences and having conversation today. And make sure you are speaking with a native speaker. One who you can feel relaxed with and supported by.
Speak English every day
“Live is what happens when you’re busy making plans.”
Many English language learners act like this famous Lennon quote. They are always planning to one day actually speak English. But they never begin. They pay lots of money and go to lots of classes, always preparing. Never quite feeling ready to start. Does this sound familiar?
Unfortunately, this can be a big waste of time and money. The truth is you can begin speaking English today. So just begin!
It’s only important that you have daily (or very regular) conversation sessions with a native speaker who understands your level, and also who realizes how you are learning – using sentences and patient, careful repetition, without too much focus on grammar. And they should help you follow the strategies in this book.
Even before you find a conversation partner, why not make a commitment to yourself that you will speak English every day, for at least 5 minutes. Even if it’s to yourself. You can talk to yourself in the shower every morning. Holding two sides to a conversation out loud. Just have fun with it.
You can just describe what you see when you walk into the kitchen for breakfast. Even this little bit of practice every day can make all the difference.
How to find good native English conversation partners & teachers
We live in such a wonderful time for English learners, because we have so many resources to find people to talk to. In a later chapter you will learn all the amazing online resources to help you learn English quickly.
You have websites like Italki.com – where you can find native English teachers to teach you online for as little as $5 an hour. It’s quite amazing. And of course, use Skype – the number one tool of a language learner who isn’t living in a native English-speaking country.
Of course, the very best thing you can do is move to a country where English is the primary language. And when you are there immediately get a job or start a course where you are forced to speak English to communicate. But even then you should find a conversation partner who can take it easy on you. Who can slowly, carefully help you progress. Many people go to live in London and still don’t improve, because they go to classes and make all the mistakes talked about in this book.
So find the right native English conversation partner, and then train them to help you improve as quickly as possible.
How to train your native conversation partner
When you find someone, give them this book. Explain to them how you want to learn – by making
whole sentences immediately. Ask them to:
1. Write down new words you learn
2. Intelligently ask you to repeat those new words in full sentences
3. Come back to those new words and phrases every now and again. Using spaced repetition to help you remember them
4. Keep the lesson light, relaxing and fun
5. Mostly ask you how to say certain things in English, so you have to make full sentences. And also sometimes have little conversations with you about things that you want to talk about
6. Talk less and listen more
7. Be very patient and relaxed. Just let you lead the lesson with your questions
8. Don’t give you all the answers. Wait patiently for you to remember them. Maybe give you clues to help you
In your lessons 80% of your time should be you, the student, carefully forming sentences and learning to really enjoy it. The conversation partner or teacher should be listening and talking less than 20% of the time. This will empower you and make you progress very quickly in your speaking skills.
I taught English in London for a long time and I met many foreign people who came to live there –friends and students – with the aim to improve their English. Many of them failed to improve. The truth is that you cannot go to London or any English-speaking city and just assume that English will flow into you by magic, out of the air. It doesn’t.
If you do plan to visit England or the USA to improve your English, there is one way to really make sure you will fly forward in your speaking skills and confidence. The next chapter will teach you one trick that will make sure you improve your English more in one week than most people do in 3 months!