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Tutor Greg R 's Column

The Importance/Joy of Practicing English Conversation

Jan 12, 2019 | 2 Comments

Many times students are worried about speaking in English because they are afraid of making a mistake.  Instead, they choose to read the textbook they found in the bookstore or to spend hours studying English grammar or listening to podcasts. These are all good things to do, but they do not prepare the learner for a “real word” English conversation.  Often times, the problem is a lack of confidence or fear of making  a mistake, of not believing they are ready to start speaking English.  To this, I always say, Trust Your English, if is better than you think it is and Do Not Worry About Making a Mistake – nobody speaks perfect English, mistakes happen all the time, we learn from our mistakes.

When you were just a baby, you did not know any words in your native language (Japanese, Korean, Chinese, etc.), the way you learned to speak was through trial and error.   Your mother talked to you and you slowly began to learn a few words and then gradually your started to connect those words together into sentences.  Before long, you were having conversations with your mother.  As a small child, you didn’t study grammar books, you just talked and listened, you learned naturally how to speak your language.  It is the same with English, the more you talk, the more your grammar will improve, your vocabulary will increase, and you will gain confidence in your speaking ability. 

I know having a conversation can be stressful.  You worry that you may not find the perfect word to use or you (you think) you are speaking too slowly or maybe your grammar isn’t perfect.  Honestly, none of that matters!  Give yourself permission to not be perfect, it’s okay, no one is perfect.  Allow your mistakes to simply be an opportunity to learn and improve.  And most importantly, do not make learning English a job!  Learning a new language should be fun, a chance to meet and talk with new people from around the world.  Enjoy English, enjoy meeting new people, have fun with English!

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