Fluent English New Year Resolution

To become fluent in English is a great New Year’s resolution. If you made it your resolution this year then English Teacher Online wants to help you keep it. I hear that many people give up their New Year’s resolution before the end of January so I thought to myself, “How can I help my students keep going all year long?”

New Year Action Plan!

First, you have to remember why you want to become fluent in English. Do you need it for travel, business, to pass an exam or just so you can speak to a foreigner in your street? Maybe you are doing a number of different activities that require fluent English this year. Whatever the reasons, you need an ACTION PLAN and all good action plans need short, medium and long term goals so let’s start there!

 

Long Term Goal?

Your long term goal may be to become totally fluent in all forms of English but that’s a bit vague for this year’s resolution. Perhaps you just want to be fluent in conversational English or business English. Do you have a specific goal like wanting to pass an English exam or going on a trip to an English speaking country? Maybe you have suddenly realized that you need to refresh your English skills for a completely different reason. Whatever your long term goal is you should write it down at the top of your New Year’s Resolution Action Plan.

 

Medium Term Goals?

Next, try to make some smaller goals that you will be able to check off your list as you reach them throughout the year. This will help to give you a sense of achievement and stop you from feeling disheartened. Start with your plan for January and February. Make goals through to May and June. Also have goals for November and December. These will be your medium term goals and should be achievable over the next six months to a year. Medium term goals could include things like; be fluent in airport conversation English; write responses to customer questions in business English; or read the first 1,000 English sight words efficiently.

 

Short Term Goals?

Within your medium term plan you will also want weekly goals that you can check off when complete. These could include; asking for directions to the transfer lounge at the airport; writing polite English responses or writing in the present continuous tense. They could be simply checking off a number of sight words each week. These short term goals will help to keep you motivated because you can check them off on a regular basis and track your own improvement. Remember that you can become fluent in English if you are willing to put in the time.

 

Make Time!

Make a schedule and stick to it! It’s pretty obvious that the more you study and practice English the quicker you will become fluent in it. Be realistic and don’t over work yourself! If you can schedule 30 minutes a day for reading, writing, listening or speaking English then this can make a huge difference to your progress. As I wrote in Become Fluent English Speaking, keep learning according to your own interests. Maximize your time when studying for goals.

Short term goals are essential if you want to keep your New Year’s resolution going into February and beyond. Learning just two new vocabulary words a day (that’s 14 new words a week) is an excellent way to keep yourself on track and fully motivated.

Reading an English newspaper, book or internet article according to your own interests is also something you should be able to do for 10-15 minutes a day. Writing a short diary entry before you go to bed will help to keep you balanced between input and output skills.

Listen to the radio or watch English television programs. Copy the phrases that you think will be useful in your life. Whatever you do, try to do a little every day.

If you need me to write you a lesson, just email steve@englishteacheronline.org because if you need it, I promise you that others will use it too. I am always happy to write lessons for all my students.

Stick to Your Plan and Keep in Touch.

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive regular weekly updates to help you stay on track. Come back and visit English Teacher Online throughout the year to get even more ideas. Make a list of your long, medium and short term goals. Leave a brief summary of them in English in the comment section below.

Thanks, good luck and Happy New Year!

Learn An English Accent

Learning an English accent is an important path on your quest to become fluent in English so I wrote this blog to help you improve your English pronunciation skills. Focusing on and practicing these lessons everyday will slowly increase your accuracy. It doesn’t matter whether you want to learn an English, American or any other accent, applying these tips and tricks will help you feel more confident when speaking to others in English. All these tips are FREE and designed to help you improve your own unique accent

1) Listening (An Introduction)

Some English sound are really similar and hard to tell apart. Did she say steep or street, fin or thin? Once you can hear the difference, it will be much easier to practice the correct sounds and understand context.

As a teacher one of the hardest skills to teach is listening because not all students have the same interests. People tend to listen more when they are interested in a subject. So whenever you want to listen to something in English, make sure it’s interesting or as we teachers say, “according to the student’s own interests!”

Once you have started listening to English sounds you are ready to copy them. From the start make sure you are practicing English that will be useful for the purpose you are learning it for.

 

2) Listen to Your Own Voice.

Listening to your pronunciation errors while speaking is not always an easy thing to do. It may not be an accurate way to improve because you will be doing 2 things at the same time. Break the 2 processes down. First, try recording the sound of your own voice by speaking into your PC or smartphone. Then, replay the recording and make a note of the specific sounds that you want to improve. If you think you need to improve your “th” sounds, try recording this sentence.

“Thirty-three thin things I thought of this Thursday.”

Remember to slow down and speak clearly, focusing on each syllable and stress.

Replay the recording and make a note of the sounds you don’t like or need to improve.

 

3) Imagine It and Do It

Find the correct mouth position for the sound you are trying to improve. Imagine saying the “th” sound and then just say it slowly and clearly. If you worry too much on theory you will never practice. Practice without the correct theory
is equally wasteful. Find a good theory that works for you and practice till it’s perfect. We are going to keep practicing the “th” sound to give you an example.

To make the “th” sound, first put the tip of your tongue between your teeth. Keep your tongue inside your mouth put just behind your top front teeth. Then blow the air out slowly and smoothly between your tongue and your top teeth. Do NOT make a strong voiced sound while you do this. Try it now. Did you make the “th” sound ok?

Practice these pairs of words.

mouse – mouth

sin – thin

thin – thing

dirty – thir-ty

tree – three

bought – thought

sink – think

is – this

Sirs – Thurs

 

4) Look in the Mirror.

Now you know the correct mouth shape, have imagined and practiced saying the “th” sound. Next you need to check your progress. Before you record yourself again, look in the mirror and make sure your tongue and teeth are in the correct position when making the “th” sound. Compare what you see to what you should be doing and make corrections. Practice again. “Thirty-three thin things I thought of this Thursday.” How did that sound? Have you made any improvments yet? Don’t worry if you haven’t because there are other tips to think about too.

 

5) Practice Intonation and Stress.

Intonation is, “the rise and fall of the voice.” Stress is where, “some words are louder or clearer than other words.” Creating a good English accent is about understanding how to use intonation and stress correctly.

Thirty and Thursday both have 2 syllables. The stress is on the first syllable so we say the first syllable a little louder than the second syllable. “Thirty-three thin things I thought of this Thursday.” Keep practicing this tongue twister until you are happy with the pronunciation.

Be careful because changing the stress on a word can change it’s meaning. An example of this is present. Say “present” out loud. Do you know the 2 meanings for “present?”

If you said PREsent, where the stress is on the first syllable, you are using it as a noun. Like the present tense or a birthday present. If you said preSENT, where the stress is on the second syllable, you are using it as a verb. Like to present a show.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to memorize all the rules. The best way to learn is to listen and practice with a native English speaker.

 

6) Copy Native English Speakers.

Listening to native English speakers is the best way to hear the correct stress and intonation in sentences. I am sure you watch television and movies in English. Have you ever tried listening to radio programs or online recordings. Listen to them and imitate what you hear. It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand what they are saying just try to copy the accent, stress and intonation. How do English people sound like in your own language? Can you imitate the accent English people make? Make this exercise fun by trying to imitate foreign accents in your own language and in an English accent. Finally, focus what you have learnt and try to mimic the English accent using English sentences!

 

7) Practice Alone.

Most people have pronunciation problems because they don’t practice, usually because they are afraid of making mistakes. You have to break that cycle of fear and just do it. Practicing alone is a great way to get started and build confidence. Recording your voice and replaying it sounds strange to everyone the first few times but after a while it will become easier. Practicing alone can be really fun too. Sing songs, read out loud, say tongue twisters or just copy your favourite actresses on television. The secret is don’t be shy, be brave!

 

8) Find a Study Partner or Teacher.

Keep practicing lesson 1-7 until you feel confident or just feel bored of studying alone! It’s now time to find a study partner or teacher. It’s really important that you practice everything you have just learnt alone with another real life person. Study friends or teachers can offer valuable feedback. They can help you focus on a particular problem you may be experiencing. Moreover, practicing with others is really fun too!

If you are ready to study with others you can find a teacher by clicking here!

Become Fluent English Speaking

I know you want to become fluent English speaking so I am going to share with you today my top 5 FREE tips and lessons for any serious student who wants to become a fluent English speaker. Nearly everyone knows more English than they think. It’s quick and easy to pick up the first 100 words of vocabulary. I am sure you can put them into a sentence and be understood by a native English speaker if you think and speak clearly! With a bit of dedication, I am going to help you become fluent in English sooner than you think.

Let’s get one thing straight. If you can’t read this page you are probably not going to be speaking English fluently in 2 weeks. That is because the 4 skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking English are linked much in the same way as in your native language. So, because you can read this page we know that you already have a good knowledge of English and you really just need to fill in the gaps in your fluency.

Some of you think you need to speak English fluently because you have an exam like IELTS coming up and want to practice with a native English teacher or friend. I am sure you have spent many hundreds of hours studying English at school and using it on social media. You already use English almost every day and you just need to fill in the gaps so you can pass that exam.

Business people will be here for a slightly different reason and your vocabulary needs will be slightly different too. Maybe you need to make chit chat on the golf course or entertain your associates with a joke over lunch! Whatever your needs EnglishTeacherOnline.Org has a proven strategy that works for YOU.

There is a science to speaking English fluently. First you have to fill in the gaps of your vocabulary. Next you have to
use those new words in sentences on a regular basis so they stick! Finally, you have to move away from pigeon English and immerse yourself in good English habits. That doesn’t mean you have to give up all your friends BUT you are going to have to choose friends who like YOU are serious and want to become fluent English speakers.

Below are my top 5 tips and lessons for getting you ready to meet your English teacher online. Follow these steps carefully and then contact me if you want a face to face Skype lesson.

Make sure you are comfortable and have at least 30 minutes before you continue to the first lesson. Ready? Let’s go!

 

Lesson 1: Increase your Vocabulary by a Few Words a Day.

Think like a native English speaker. Look around your room and in English speak aloud the name for all the “things” you know in English. Try to use full sentences like, “That is a television” or “Those beautiful red flowers need some water”. How many “things” do you know the English word for? How many words do you not know? Now go back and using an online dictionary, find all the “things” you don’t know the English word for. Mark these new things with a post-it note. Great job. You have just increased your vocabulary in an area relevant to you by a few words today!

 

Lesson 2: Practice Makes Perfect.

Use the new vocabulary every day so you don’t forget it. You can start by asking questions about the “things”. Where is the first thing? The first thing is on the table. Now make sentences using the other new words you learnt in lesson 1. If you have a friend or teacher, you can take turns thinking of more questions. Help each other to find and say the correct answers. Wow, what progress! You have already started to think and talk like a native English speaker!

 

Lesson 3: Read Something EVERY DAY.

Read English every day! Just reading this article is going to help you understand English grammar because it was written by a native English speaking teacher. When students speak English with their parents, teachers and friends those experienced people help them by correcting any mistakes they make. Reading good English sentences reinforces the correct way to write and speak English. Books can be like the native English teacher that you don’t have. The more you read English the quicker you will become fluent English speaking.

 

 Lesson 4: Write a Diary.

Keep a diary or journal in English and try to write in it every day. Start by writing full sentences about what you are doing right now, where you went yesterday or what you are planning to do tomorrow. Add descriptions, feelings, emotions or dialogue. The important thing is that you write full sentences and use the things you are learning from reading these lessons. If you see a good new sentence in a book that explains how you feel, write it down in your diary. You don’t even have to write it in today’s diary entry, go back if it’s relevant to a previous day in your diary! Writing properly is the foundation to speaking properly so check your written work carefully and correct any mistakes you find. You may want to ask a teacher or friend to help correct it for you. Remember to always learn from your mistakes and use the corrected sentences when speaking next time.

 

Lesson 5: Conversations with Native English Speakers.

Find a native English speaker who can be your teacher or collaborator. There are lots of people who think they can speak English but it is essential that you don’t learn bad habits practicing with people who teach you incorrectly. Native English speakers are everywhere so look around your own community first and try to find one in the real world. Is there someone you know who is a native English speaker? Is there some way you can trade with them? Maybe you could teach them your language in exchange for getting more exposure to native English dialogue. There could even be a non-native person in your own community who is already fluent English speaking. Find them now and make some kind of agreement to help each other reach your goals. If you can’t find a native English teacher near where you live, then you can find one online by clicking here.

 

Lesson 6: Let’s Recap and Repeat!

  1. Learn new vocabulary. Use fun tools like post it notes to help you.
  2. Use your new words in full sentences on a regular basis so you don’t forget them.
  3. Read English books, newspapers or online literature every day.
  4. Write a diary or journal in English, check for and correct any mistakes.
  5. Find someone who is fluent in English to practice the skills you are learning.
  6. Repeat these lessons every day until they become second nature. Try lesson 1 in a different room or a completely new environment! Good luck on your quest to become fluent English speaking.