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Practice English - Ten Tips for ESL Conversations

Updated on September 23, 2009

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

Online Newspapers

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

Canada- Canada

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

Karaoke

 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

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.

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    • htodd profile image

      htodd 

      7 years ago from United States

      Great post,Thanks

    • knell63 profile imageAUTHOR

      knell63 

      9 years ago from Umbria, Italy

      Thanks Paradise, I agree with the level of native English as well its embarassing at times. Using any language is fun once you get over that initial fear of speaking.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 

      9 years ago from Upstate New York

      Good hub. You're doing good to encourage all the people out there who are learning English as a second language and to help. It's getting to be a more diverse, global environment on the internet and here at home in America. More and more every day, so anyone who wants to contribute to Hub but is a little shy of their language skills in English, don't be. Go ahead and do it, anyway.

      What I've found is, when a person is just learning English, they learn conversational, somewhat idiomatic English first. English to speak it, first. Then they tackle the written part. So if one reads these writers phonetically, the idea comes across ok, and often has a special character and vividness of it's own.

      A little example:

      "What are you doing?" is the way this phrase is written.

      "What chew doin?" is the way it sounds in American.

      I wouldn't let a lack of complete mastery of English slow me down. Most people who speak English as a first language never quite get that far, either.

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