During my time teaching in Korea, I was surprised to find that despite many years of studying English, students often still struggled to have basic conversation.
Why would that be? I was working with Korean students who were clearly brilliant and hard working, and they sometimes knew more English vocabulary than the average American. They could often complete complex grammar exercises that many Americans or Canadians, even those with a four year university degree, could not figure out.
Well, first of all, you can study grammar and vocabulary until the cows come home (a phrase in English that means for a very, very long time), but if you do not get in the habit of speaking English, then you will never feel good about speaking.
That is why conversation has recently become such an important part of English education in Korea. Topics such as debate and speech are a regular part of the English academy classes nowadays. The new English testing program for Koreans focuses on conversation and writing.
Did you know that scientists have found that in order to communicate clearly in a language, only 400-500 words are needed? The key is not to study more vocabulary, it is to use the vocabulary in conversation. The more you talk, the more you will find that idioms, or sayings using these 400-500 words to create new meaning, are the key to fluency.
And that leads us to the second point: don’t let perfectionism stop you from speaking English. Perfectionism is being unwilling to make mistakes. But it is usually by making mistakes that we learn. Most people do not learn to walk without falling many times first.
In addition, riding a bicycle is difficult at first, and it is likely that when you learned to ride a bike, you probably fell off several times!
Working with an ETO teacher will allow you to make mistakes (in private and online) while talking about topics that are interesting to you. This is the third key: improve your English while talking about things that you are most interested in. Our teachers will help you correct your mistakes in a friendly and supportive way, and introduce you to new idioms that will help you to be more fluent.
We look forward to providing great service to you, and helping you to move past the perfectionism that might have kept you from speaking English with confidence in the past!
ETO American English teacher