Seven Tips to Speak English Fluently

You may have been studying English for many years but still feel that English is stuck in your mouth and you can’t express yourself freely to people. When it comes to talk, you may realize that your English is frozen and you don’t remember any word. You may think that your English level isn’t enough to speak fluently and you need more practice to increase your level from intermediate to advanced one.

Feeling stuck is frustrating and discouraging. Sometimes, you might lose confidence and give up. The good news is you can fix this problem. Here are some tips you can use to begin to move forward and avoid feeling stuck in your English.

1. Make English a part of your everyday life:

Practice English regularly, just for 10 or 15 minutes daily. Do something in English every day. For example, listen to different English podcasts every morning, read something in English before you go to sleep, watch something in English in your free time.

2. Read out loud and record yourself talking in English:

Read aloud to practice the pronunciation. You can also record yourself talking about what you understood. Record yourself talking in English and then you can see what you need to improve if it is grammar, vocabulary or pronunciation.

3. Engage in a conversational class:

Enroll in a class of English conversations to learn how to express yourself in each real-life situation. In this course you can learn new vocabulary and grammar and how to use them in conversations. Moreover, you will practice speaking and listening.

4. Watch series or movies in English without subtitles:

That way you will sharpen your listening skills plus you will get the real language that native speakers speak. In this case, there is a great chance to remember the spoken language because of your high concentration and desire to know what they are talking about in the movie.

5. Listen to music lyrics with their scripts:

It is fun for you and you can learn new words from lyrics of songs you love. These new words you learned are used in sentences so it is easier to remember them.

6. Use what you learn the same day:

If you learn a new word, a new phrase or some grammar, you should use it the same day. For example, you can write a comment on Facebook or an email, tell your friend or relative about it.

7. Communicate with a native speaker:

The best way to develop your confidence in English is to communicate with native speakers so they can help you practice authentic English.

Five Things You Must Do Well If You Want to Be Effective Teacher of English

There are some important characteristics and skills which are a must for any teacher of English to do his job effectively. Without these things, it’s preferable for the person to try another job or for the teacher of English to teach any subject other than English language. These things are as follows:

1.Talk well:

As a teacher of a language, you will not be able to teach it if you prefer to be silent most of the time especially during the class. You should be a model for your students in talking well using the language. Talk and encourage your students to talk to learn the language.

2. React well:

Good reactions are the main element in the learning process. You should have the ability to react to your students’ talk, questions and responses. Your reactions should not only be in a verbal way. Non-verbal reactions are often more effective. In your reactions you should use all means you have to give the suitable and effective feedback.

3. Explain well:

The core of teaching is explanation. You need to learn how to clarify language items to your students. Explanation includes many skills; e.g. giving examples, presentation, clarification, wrapping up, … etc. it’s a joke if you are a teacher and not having the skills of explanation. But it is not too late. You still have the opportunity to learn to teach, I mean to explain.

4. Enjoy:

Learning a new language is and must be usually an enjoyable experience. Suppose that you don’t feel excited when you learn or teach the language, how come to make your students enjoy learning this language. Enjoyment and excitement make learning permanent and guarantee achieving all learning objectives.

5. Create:

Teaching a language does not only mean presenting some certain individual words or teaching grammatical rules directly using very controlled activities but it should include creating real-life situations to use the new language. If the teacher of a language is not creative, students will not have the opportunity to live with the language. Language will be something stable for them. Teacher of English should go beyond controlled and guided tasks to free production stage. This kind of transfer will not be possible unless the teacher has the sense of creativity and encourages the students to be creative, too in their use of the language.

Start the School Year with Teaching Students These Four Skills

I recommend teachers help their students develop the following four skills from the very beginning of the school year as they set the tone for powerful, engaging and self-directed learning.

  1. Researching

Tell your students that your main job nowadays is not to give them the information but it is to teach them how to find the information.

  1. Contribution

Encourage students to make meaningful contributions to their surrounding environment. Teach them how to do so. When they have the opportunities to make such contributions they will be motivated and working hard.

  1. Working on projects

Let and help students determine projects that they are passionate about to work on during a certain period of time. Teach them how to plan their projects and provide them with useful resources.

  1. Working together

Help your students build teams or groups. Teach them the rules of teamwork.

20 Tips to Develop Thinking in the Classroom

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If you want to increase your effectiveness at teaching, the first thing you should do is to encourage your students to think, and then develop their thinking skills. Here, I would like to share with you some actions to do in the classroom to encourage students’ thinking and develop their thinking skills.

  1. Act the role of a facilitator or a guide not a lecturer or a preacher.
  2. Show enthusiasm for challenges and complex tasks that require students to think.
  3. Present your lessons in a logical and organized sequence.
  4. Use the kind of language that invites students to think (e.g. compare, classify, predict, suppose that, etc)
  5. Ask open-ended questions, wh-questions, why do you think so?, what if? and other kinds of questions of higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy that require students to think.
  6. Create problematic situations and encourage students to find creative solutions for them.
  7. Encourage students to ask and answer each other’s questions that provoke thinking.
  8. Encourage students to apply their past knowledge and experience to new situations.
  9. Move around the class and encourage students’ mobility.
  10. Encourage students to interact and cooperate in doing certain projects.
  11. Organize your class in various and different ways for different activities (e.g. pairs, groups, individuals and whole class)
  12. Value thinking and show creative works of students around the class.
  13. Use a variety of visual media to facilitate learning and encourage thinking (e.g. charts, wall sheets, videos, maps, pictures, flash cards, body language, etc)
  14. Encourage students to respond in any way without fearing of making mistakes and give supportive comments on incorrect responses.
  15. Create various and different evaluation activities.
  16. Always ask students to clarify and justify their answers.
  17. Always ask for alternatives or different points of view.
  18. Ask students to expand their answers adding more points.
  19. Encourage students to reflect on their thoughts or points of view.
  20. Ask students for clear and realistic ideas and asking about how to apply them to everyday life.

Hard but not impossible

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Learning a new language is not easy. It is hard for adults and busy people to learn a new language that sounds differently from their mother tongue and that they don’t use outside the classroom.

It is really hard, but not impossible. Recent studies suggest that you can get better at a foreign language simply by listening to it, without speaking it yourself.

In other words, if you listen regularly to podcasts in the language you’re trying to learn, you will learn it at the end.

One hour listening practice a day following with some simple tasks is a good start to improve your listening comprehension and increase your ability to distinguish sounds.

Also, it is recommended to watch TV shows or short video clips and read material written in the language you are learning.

The goal is to be surrounded by the target language at all times and immerse yourself in it. Still, you should be both passive and active when you learn a foreign language, that is to listen and speak, read and write. In other words you should receive and produce something in the language you are learning EVERY DAY.

 

Understanding Your Low-Achiever Students

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Who is the low-achiever student?

If the student doesn’t or achieves to a low extent the required objectives at the end of the lesson, unit or course, it is important to recognize and identify him/her as a low achiever. In this case, a remedial plan should be designed to allow him/her to learn the required knowledge and skills to achieve the established objectives.

Why are some students low achievers?

Some students are low achievers due to different and various reasons. Some of them are as follows:

  1. Perhaps the content is too difficult or the students must learn a large amount of it in a short time.
  2. Maybe there was no time for practice, revision or recycling the previous content.
  3. The students may use wrong or poor learning strategies or study habits when learning or studying their lessons.
  4. The students may suffer from stress, depression, physical illness or learning disability.
  5. The attitude of the students towards education may be negative. They may lack motivation to learn and study.
  6. The reasons may relate to the teachers and teaching. Teachers may be unclear concerning to the objectives their students should achieve. Teachers may use poor or inappropriate teaching or assessment techniques. Feedback and assistance that must be provided to low achievers may be totally absent or provided too late.

How to assist students to prevent their failure and ensure their achievement of objectives?

  1. Set the objectives that should be achieved at the end of learning sessions and prepare how to assess their achievement. Objectives should be SMART (specific, measurable, acceptable, realistic and timed) and be informed to the students orally at the beginning of each learning session.
  2. Diagnose the difficulties as soon as possible or anticipate them and prepare how to deal with and react to them.
  3. Observe the students and provide them with immediate feedback concerning to their points of weakness.
  4. Prepare some procedures the students should follow or design and implement a remedial plan to remedy your students’ points of weakness.
  5. Consult and get advice as early as possible from your colleagues, supervisor, psychological and social specialist regarding to learning issues of your students.

What to do if unable to prevent failure or remedy weakness?

  1. Never give a passing mark to the learner who doesn’t deserve it.
  2. Make professional judgments about your students’ performance.
  3. Document your judgments and let the school principal and parents be aware of them.
  4. Don’t feel “bad”. Failure in a course can be a signal for students to re-consider their choices of the kind of learning or specialization or at least it will mean that, unless they work hard, they won’t pass.

Seven Tips for Teachers to Help Low-Achiever Learners

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1. Know well who low-achiever learners are. They are learners who usually:

* lack basic knowledge or skills.

* have difficulty in comprehension.

* lack concentration.

* confuse easily in the classroom.

2. Change your attitudes towards them.

3. Give them clear, step by step instructions.

4. Be ready to give them extra help or explanation.

5. Motivate them all the time using all possible ways.

6. Be aware of their learning or studying habits and try to improve them.

7. Know their leaning styles and adapt your teaching to them.

 

20 Tips to Foster Motivation in Your Students

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1. Create a supportive environment where students are respected and feel a sense of belonging.

2. Believe in the ability of each student to learn.

3. Set up clear classroom rules from the very beginning and appreciate who follow them.

4. Be aware of the strengths of each student and focus on them not on their weaknesses.

5. Use your students’ interests, talents and goals to encourage them to learn.

6. Maintain disciplined, organized and calm classroom to increase your students’ concentration.

7. Vary your teaching methods and make the lessons interesting and enjoyable.

8. Adapt your lessons to your students life and needs.

9. Let students be aware of the objectives of each lesson so that they can realize the feeling of achievement.

10. Teach your students how to prepare and study their lessons, help them acquire good study habits at home.

11. Always provide positive feedback. Never embarrass or ridicule a student.

12. Assign homework that is specific and clearly related to the objectives of each lesson.

13. Emphasize cooperation rather than competition; support pair work and group work to create opportunities for students to help each other.

14. Teach students how to find solutions to the problems they may face.

15. Avoid practices or exercises that can cause frustration, instead adapt them to students’ level.

16. Provide rewards for unusual effort and success.

17. Establish a close relationship with students’ parents to assist their children in forming good habits at home so that they will be ready to learn at school.

18. Give your students the chance to lead a classroom activity.

19. Treat each student fairly, show no favoritism.

20. Discover your strengths, learn from mistakes and concentrate on doing your best.

Learning Strategies & Learning Styles

strategies and stylesLearning strategies vs. learning styles:

* Broadly speaking, learning styles can be defined as general approaches to language learning, while learning strategies are specific ways learners choose to cope with language tasks in particular contexts.

* Learning strategies are the ways in which students learn, remember information and study for tests. They refer to the actions and behaviors students use to learn but learning styles refer to the general approaches that students use in acquiring a new language or in learning any other subject.

* The strategies a student uses to learn depend greatly on his/her own learning style.

Learning styles:

Each student has his/her own style of learning. As a result we have different students with different learning styles inside the classroom as shown below:

1. Visual or spatial learners:
They need to see things to fully understand them. They learn best from visual objects such as diagrams, charts, etc. They prefer to write things down.

2. Auditory or musical learners:
They learn mainly through listening so they learn best through discussions and talking. They benefit most from reading texts aloud and using a tape recorder.

3. Physical or kinesthetic or tactile learners:
They learn through using their body, hands and sense of touch. They tend to use their muscles so they can be used well in playing, tidying, cleaning the board, collecting activity books, etc. They learn best through using their hands making things, fitting things together or taking them apart so hands-on activities are ideal to help those students learn best.

4. Social or interpersonal learners:
They prefer to learn in groups or with other people. They have the ability to understand others’ feelings and intentions.

5. Solitary or intrapersonal learners:
They prefer to work alone and use self-study. They have the ability to understand well their feelings, strengths and weaknesses. They tend to write personal diary, achieve independent projects, discuss feelings about certain topics, express likes and dislikes, etc.

6. Verbal or linguistic learners:
They prefer using words, both in speech and writing.

7. Logical or mathematical:
They prefer using logic, reasoning and systems.

Learning strategies:

Many students use learning strategies automatically without any awareness of them. The role of teachers here is to:

* recognize their students’ learning strategies,

* make them explicit to students, bring them to their attention and talk about them.

* encourage students to use them in the classroom

* make them more effective to the learning process,

* base teaching process and techniques on these strategies.

Students use the following learning strategies most often when learning a language:

1. Cognitive strategies which enable the learner to manipulate the language material in direct ways, e.g. through reasoning, analysis, note-taking, and synthesizing

2. Metacognitive strategies which are used to manage the learning process overall, e.g. identifying preferences and the need for planning, monitoring mistakes, and evaluating task success.

3. Memory-related strategies which help learners link one item or concept with another but do not necessarily involve deep understanding, e.g. using acronyms, sound similarities, images, key words.

4. Compensatory strategies which help make up for missing knowledge, e.g. using gestures, miming or guessing the meaning from the context.

5. Affective strategies which help learners manage their emotions, such as identifying one’s mood and anxiety level, talking about feelings, rewarding oneself, and using deep breathing or positive self-talk.

6. Social strategies which enable the learner to learn via interaction with others and understand the target culture, e.g. asking questions, asking for clarification, asking for conversation help, talking with a native-speaking partner, and exploring cultural and social norms.

To be able to use the suitable strategies for you, you should know first your learning style BUT What is your learning style? Click and take a few minutes to do a quiz to be aware of your learning style.

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