"What can I do to improve my speaking
and listening skills in English?" This is a question that I have been asked
several times. I usually advise my students to expand their learning of
English—to take it beyond the classroom and into their daily lives.
Watching television programs, listening to the radio, or making conversation
in English can help you improve your confidence and ability in English
conversation. Chatting with others while waiting at a bus stop and making
conversation on a Skytrain ride are perfect opportunities to practice these
skills. They will probably make the wait a lot more enjoyable too!
Ask your cashier how his day is going.
Tell your next door neighbour how beautiful her holiday decorations are.
Discuss the weather or your son's baseball game with your co-worker.
Dinnertime conversation with the family is another great time to practice
your English! Describe your trip to the dentist or the traffic accident you
witnessed, or discuss the increasing price of bread (all in English, of
It is not necessary to set aside huge
amounts of time from your daily routines to practice English. By including
English conversation in your everyday activities, conversing in English will
become more enjoyable and less like a homework assignment.
Back in the classroom, one way to ensure increased interaction in English is
to sit beside a classmate who does not speak or understand your native
language. This encourages you and others to speak and listen in English.
Very often I find that before, after (and sometimes even during!) classes,
students revert back to speaking their native languages. I remind them that
their learning of English should not be limited to just the 2.5 hours
lesson. Don't limit your your learning to a few hours per week in the
classroom! Make English a part of your daily life!
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