Learning English speaking: The 5 best methods

Abstract

Language proficiency is usually judged by the ability to speak the language as fluently as possible. This means making intelligible sentences without worrying about grammar or which words to say. Our daily communications take place mostly via talking. We express our feelings in words and we listen to other people when they talk. The human voice is used to express emotions and wants.  

Learning English Speaking is no different than speaking any other language. But since learning English Speaking for most non-natives happens at an older age, when the brain system has become resistant to change, it comes at a greater cost and effort than the mother tongue.

The ability to master other skills declines with age, so learning English Speaking becomesdifficult as we grow older. The vocal folds are capable of producing intricate arrays of sound in combination with brain regulators. The coordination between these elements becomes fixed over the years, and it rarely changes after a certain age. 

At the first glance, learning English speaking may be seen as equivalent to learning English in general. But learning English speaking is just one aspect of mastering the language. It is possible to write or read in English without being able to speak it.

Learning English speaking is the most important skill in the process of learning the English language. It is a skill that has the most complexities. It is considered the skill that has eluded many educators.

Learning English speaking for non-natives is as exhausting and frustrating. For this reason, most English teachers and educators resort to guesswork rather than trying to understand the true nature of learning English speaking. That is what causes a lot of frustration and cost for the learners.  

Why finding the best way to learn English speaking is NOT easy

There is no unanimous agreement between scientists or linguists concerning the best method of learning English speaking. Although our knowledge of how the brain processes language (especially in children) has grown dramatically in recent years. The results have been somehow contradictory, meaning they say different things.

One study swears by a particular method for learning English speaking, while other studies say a different method creates better results. The cause of controversy, for the most part, lies with the English learners of course. Things such as age, the learning system employed, location, past experiences, frequency of using the language and so many other factors affect your learning English speaking.

The methods and systems work differently for different people.  A method that works best for you may not be liked by your friend. For example, you may gain a lot from watching English movies every week, whereas your friend may prefer listening to English podcasts.  Learning English speaking could be affected by what you enjoy and your attitude rather than what is best for you.

Here we will allude to what we believe are the most powerful methods of learning English speaking. These methods of learning English speaking have worked for many students and language learners. Some of them are feedbacked by science and have been established.

There is a point of reconciliation between methods and attitudes, so don’t worry if you have been using a method that is not included in our list. As they say: it is never too late to try something new.

The best methods suggested for learning English speaking are:

  1. The immersion method
  2. The imitation and repetition method
  3. The dual method
  4. The listen and record method
  5. Learn and study phrases

The immersion method

The immersion is also called the natural method for learning English speaking. When you are immersed in something, it means you are surrounded by it. In the case of learning English speaking, it means being surrounded by English-speaking people. You acquire the language by hearing and speaking it every day in a natural context. This is the most natural and powerful way of learning English speaking.

The immersion method for learning English speaking works in the same way babies learn their first language. They come to this world not speaking even a word and are immediately immersed in a language being used by everyone around them. Babies go through a silent period during which they just listen and watch other people use the language. Then they learn certain words. Over time, they learn how these words are put together to make sentences or phrases. Finally, they end up speaking fluently.

How to use the immersion method as a means to learning English speaking depends on whether or not you can immerse yourself to hear and speak English every day. Nevertheless, it eliminates the need to memorize words or grammar rules.

The imitation method

Learning English speaking through imitation is a semi-natural approach to learning a second language. It must be differentiated from the old repetition and drilling approach in which learning happens by drilling which is meaningless.

By imitation, we mean listening carefully to how native speakers of English use the language in different contexts. Unlike the drilling and repetition approach in which learners play a passive role by turning off their brain and simply repeating what they hear, in the imitation method learners play an active role.

They not only try to copy the language in the exact way native speakers produce it, but they also learn how and where the language is used in everyday encounters.  They also learn the intonation and body language of natives. In addition, they learn to somehow make an association between the English language and different situations.

As someone interested in learning English speaking, use the imitation method by watching English movies repeatedly. This way you not only absorb the language totally but also learn how to use it in similar situations. This method is sometimes called subconscious learning.

The dual method

Another method is called the dual method because it works by combining the imitation method and the classroom method of learning English speaking. Here the imitation method takes place in a classroom where there are other learners and a teacher.

One drawback of the imitation method is that, at some point, the information learned becomes rusty due to lack of use. Contents need to be maintained by speaking English to actual people, classmates, or teachers. This interaction sends information deeper into the long-term memory by becoming independent from the short-term memory.

The dual method of learning English speaking usually starts with classroom learning and then adds an imitation element for half of the class time. It encourages the learners to speak, while also teaching the rules and conventions of the English language.

The listen and record method

This is a variation of the imitation method of learning English speaking. The learners use authentic English audio files, podcasts, or movies, yet they record their voices instead of talking to an actual person. This method of solo learning English speaking does not require attending a class. Instead, learners use the recordings to compare their progress, in terms of speed, pronunciation, and intonation.  

This method of learning English speaking is especially powerful for intermediate and advanced learners of the English language. Students who prepare for standardized tests such as IELTS or TOEFL who need focal practice can benefit from this method a lot. We do not recommend this method to beginners unless they are learning English speaking with the supervision of a tutor or teacher.

Learn and study phrases

The last method of learning English speaking seems more like a tip than a method, but it is vitally important if to become fluent. Fluency means easily being able to express yourself (your feelings, thoughts, and ideas). No matter what the method of learning English speaking, whether you imitate native speakers or attend a class, you will speak more easily by learning phrases rather than individual words or verbs.

Native English speakers use a lot of phrases and idioms when they speak. As a result, focusing on those phrases makes speaking more fluent. The English language is more useful in our everyday life if we learn phrases instead of vocabulary.   

Conclusion

All in all, in this article we provided information about some of the most effective methods of learning English speaking. Speaking fluently is the result of careful listening to English content for a time. Listening is the foundation of speaking as it helps English learners to master intonation and pronunciation, both important for speaking intelligibly.

Learning English speaking is also maintained through use and interaction with others. The immersion method is the most natural and the easiest way of learning English speaking. The dual method is the second powerful way to learning English speaking and it is recommended for learners who live outside an English-speaking country.

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