Beating the ‘fear factor’!

Learning English is intimidating. What’s even worse is learning English in a country you are unfamiliar with. If you are ever uncomfortable using English, whether it’s inside, or outside the classroom, it narrows down to one thing- fear! Use these simple steps to help you increase your confidence and beat the fear factor when speaking English!

Concentrate and listen carefully!
Simply reading words is very different from being able to produce them out loud. Listen to native speakers during natural conversation. Pay close attention to their use of rhythm and stress. Attempt to replicate (that means copy) any of the words, or better yet, sentences you hear. It is also wise to spend at least 1 hour a day engaging with Engllish through any form of media. Newspapers, television and online resources can rapidly boost your level if you are disciplined enough to find the time to study.

Don’t worry over small details
One problem many students face is that they let small details prevent them from displaying pre-exisiting, high-level knowledge. Don’t panic if you didn’t understand everything that lady just said. If you’re confident you understood the general idea of what she was saying, you’re probably capable of continuing the conversation! Locals are often very forgiving of those students making an effort to both learn and use the native language. Have faith in your ability and you’ll see for yourself that confidence brings with it fantastic results.

Imagine you are a native speaker of English.
Pretending to speak fluent English means you would have to think in fluent English. By getting into the habit of actively ‘thinking’ or at least, ‘trying to think’ in English, you are forcing yourself to become familiar with something unnatural. However, as time goes by our knowledge and confidence increases. Language then becomes natural and progressively ‘built into our system’. Yes, thinking in this way might be tiring, but if you’re really motivated you’ll see that it pays to ‘fake it until you make it’!

Good things come to those who wait
Learning English is like riding a bicycle, playing chess or studying chemistry. It takes time to reach a certain level of proficiency. Sometimes your personal goals and ambitions might be unrealistic. Yes, it’s great to aim high, but don’t be ashamed to lower your standards if it means avoiding disappointment. Achieving lots of smaller goals that are realistically attainable is much better than putting all your energy into something ‘big’ and missing out. Keep things real! Finally, use your classmates to help you strengthen areas of difficulty. It is likely that your partner would appreciate your help with just as many areas of English. Remember, two heads are always better than one.

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