Around the world, non-native speakers now outnumber native speakers by three to one. In Asia, an estimated 350 million people speak English. English has become the language of globalization and of international business, so why is it so many students are reluctant to speak English in class? There could be many reasons, but frequently they lack confidence, do not want to make mistakes and sometimes cannot find the words to express the ideas the teacher wants them to. Here is some advice to help improve both your confidence AND your ability.
Many IELTS students are so focused on achieving a target band score that they concentrate too much on examination technique (and tips) and fail to spend enough time improving their English. To achieve band scores above 6.0 you need to invest in the time and hard work necessary to improve fluency in speaking, learn more vocabulary and develop the ability to give good answers to a wide range of questions on different topics.
How can you improve your confidence in speaking?
Firstly, work hard on your pronunciation. In the IELTS speaking test, 25% of your score is for pronunciation. It is based on clarity (speaking clearly), intonation (the rise and fall of your voice), speed, stress (the emphasis we place on syllables and words) and word linking and rhythm (the combination of all these things). Use someone who speaks well, and try to copy the way they pronounce words – hopefully this is your teacher. Become more aware of your mistakes and work on correcting them. You can do this by reading aloud and recording yourself.
Secondly, practice as much as possible, particularly in class. Use every opportunity to talk to your partner and to your teacher. Listen to your partner and give them constructive feedback on their strengths and weaknesses. Ask them to do the same for you. Good pronunciation is usually the result of lots of listening and copying, so concentrate on speaking clearly and accurately.
Finally, talk about what you know. Your confidence will improve if you can speak as naturally as possible, so use real examples or stories. It is easier to give a description if you talk about something which is true, and it helps you to stop worrying about grammar or vocabulary.