Practice English - Ten Tips for ESL Conversations
Use it or Loose it.
How can you continue learning English once the classes have ended? Most students say that they find this is difficult after a lesson have finished. It becomes harder to maintain the interest and energy associated with classroom learning, as this diminishes many fail to continue developing their English skills.
Having put all this effort into learning a second language in the first place it seems a shame to let all that good works go to waste. So here are ten ways in which you can hear, practice and participate in activities that will encourage you use and develop your English skills online. While it is also true that most of these suggestions will also work if you are learning to speak any foreign language, there are a wider variety of English solutions to be found on the internet.
Conversational ESL online courses
Learning English Online (LEO) is a fast developing concept, teachers with presentational, PowerPoint styled systems, a microphone and webcams present a wide range of learning options. Many of whom offer free trails and open classes. Here you get the chance to hear and join in with similar learners in the comfort of your own home
Many of the National newspapers worldwide offer free online versions of their articles, where you can practice reading articles and in some instances join in by leaving comments on forums. Below is a list of papers and periodicals to from around the globe to try:-
Guardian – UK
Washington Post – USA
The Australian – Australia
Listen to Radio online
Like the National newspapers you can download many, many radio stations, ideally you want to choose ones that have plenty of conversation, plays, discussion groups or round ups such as:-
BBC World Service – world events
Five Live – sports commentary and discussion
BBC Radio 4 – have regular plays and talkshows
Participate in an online Virtual World
There are many virtual worlds on the internet where students can join and interact with real people in a stylised cartoon environment. Second Life offers you the chance to walk around and meet people, shop, explore and develop friendships while practicing English. Most are free to enter give you an opportunity to play while learning
What could be more fun than singing along to your favourite songs and getting valuable practice while you do? Most Karaoke systems come complete with subtitles on screen to help you. Lets be honest even native speakers have difficulty understand the lyrics of some tunes.
Post articles online
There are many writing websites which encourage people to practice their skills, the likes of Hubpages, Squidoo, Ezinearticles and How have hundreds of articles written by ordinary people and professional writers. They are friendly encouraging places in which to express yourself or just read other peoples work. They tend to have comments sections so you can join in an practice short written pieces if you don’t feel confident in writing whole articles.
Watch a film
Watch an English language film, in English. Even most foreign language films come with English as one of the options to choose but the best way to appreciate a native language film is with the actors using their own voices. You can always have the subtitles switched on, this can be particularly helpful in giving you clues if the dialogue is particularly fast or they use phrases of which you are unsure or they have very strong accents.
Social networking is like the letter writing and penpals of the past. On sites like Facebook, Bebo and Friends Reunited you can make contacts, share interests, pictures, online games and talk. These sites have vast numbers of people registered to use them and you are sure to find someone who will communicate with you.
Join a chatroom
Chatrooms come in all shapes and sizes, topics, age, location or interests. You can find one online that will contain people with similar interests as yourself. Yahoo has a whole list of groups and forums that are fun to join.
Cook a Meal
Find a traditional British, American, Australian or Canadian recipe and try your hand at making one of the Nations favourite dishes. This will give you experience of understanding instructions, following vocabulary and at the end of it you will have a lovely meal to eat.
One word of warning is to be careful who you talk to online, don’t give out any personal information, contact details or addresses. Other than that have fun and keep on learning English.