While this approach makes financial sense for motivated learners, it has a tendency to leave knowledge gaps, especially in the student’s practical ability to converse freely in English. For this reason, more learners are choosing to improve their English speaking online through a variety of methods. Where local opportunities may be limited, the internet provides infinite scope for regular speech practice.
Many disciplines that we learn in life have two aspects – theory and practice. Imagine you are learning to drive. You read all the theory books, study the road signs and answer test questions. This should guarantee you a good pass mark on your driving theory test, but what happens when you get behind the wheel of a car for the first time? Will you be a great driver from day one? The answer is: probably not. Your theoretical knowledge of driving must be balanced by your practical experience of actually driving a car. The two aspects of the discipline are essential and interconnected. This is the same when studying languages and you should make a conscious effort to improve your English speaking skills.
When learning a foreign language, there is no substitute for real speech practice (or conversation). It is a vital part of the language acquisition process and should not be ignored. Many non-natives who claim to “know” English tend to be good at theory but much poorer at speaking and listening. This is often explained by their lack of opportunities to converse regularly in English. In reality, there is no excuse for being out of touch because the internet connects us all. Where local opportunities are limited, learners can improve their spoken fluency online.
There are a number of ways to gain English conversation practice online. Some of these are free, while others are paid services. It is a good idea to start by making a list of your possible options. Use the “resources” that are already available to you through your family and friends, work, studies, etc. For example, if you have an old friend in New York, maybe you should re-establish contact or if your colleague at work speaks great English, perhaps you should converse with them in English sometimes. Every little helps.
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