Return to opening page of Say It In English

TIPS AND ADVICE ON ENGLISH CONVERSATION AND VOCABULARY LEARNING (by Michael Chtcherbitski).

I have found important information that may be valuable for all students of English. I am a former English (ESL) teacher. I have undertaken a thorough comprehensive research on the most effective methods and aids for learning English. Those aids include audios, videos, websites, study books, etc. I want to share with you that information for English language learners.
Of course, everyday talking in English to native English speakers on a variety of topics helps best in order to be able to speak English fluently. But relatively few learners of English have such long-term opportunity. To eventually be able to speak English fluently, first of all one must have materials with important contents on all everyday topics (audios, videos, printed texts/study books, etc.) for beginning, intermediate and advanced levels of study. The materials must include dialogs, monologs (thematic texts), questions - answers with important contents, thematic lists of difficult word meanings and phrases (expressions) with usage sentences, and comprehensive vocabulary on all everyday topics. I believe that one can master English conversation and vocabulary with the following methods:

1. One must listen to each sentence in conversations (thematic dialogs) in audio materials several times and see printed texts at the same time, and understand everything in those sentences clearly.

2. One must read (pronounce) each sentence aloud and compare one's pronunciation to the announcer's pronunciation.

3. Speaking activity with self-control. One must check if one can orally convey the contents of those dialogs closely to the original dialogs as much as possible, that is try to be an actor for both speakers in the dialogs. The most important thing is to speak English yourself, and to check in printed conversations (dialogs) whether you have made any mistakes in speaking.
One can also make one's own written questions on the dialogs that require long answers contained in the dialogs to facilitate (make easier) one's imitation of the dialogs.
 
4. One must also prepare potential questions and answers with important contents on all everyday topics and practice speaking. To show different ways of expressing one's thought one can make several potential questions and answers on one point in this speaking activity. There are two websites that contain a lot of ready-made questions in English on a large variety of topics: www.esldiscussions.com; http://iteslj.org

5. One must have lists of difficult word meanings and of phrases (expressions) on every topic with usage sentences. One must read those ready-made vocabulary usage sentences many times if needed. Longman Language Activator Dictionary (unique English Idea Production Dictionary) covers this issue thoroughly. One must also make one's own sentences with that vocabulary, taking into consideration real life situations.  

6. One can learn a lot of vocabulary on every topic from thematic English dictionaries. Good thematic English dictionaries provide clear word usage explanations and also a few usage sentences for each word meaning, which is especially important. One must also make one's own sentences with difficult vocabulary. Think about  the real life situations where and when that vocabulary can be used.

7. One can also learn English vocabulary by reading thematic texts (materials), first of all on everyday topics with important contents, for example: Practical Tips and Advice to Make Everyday Life Easier and Better (practical solutions for everyday problems). Such self-help books on settling everyday matters are available at book stores.
One must write out unknown vocabulary in whole sentences. One must practice telling the contents of the texts that one has read. As people say, practice makes perfect.

8. Constant review of material ensures solid knowledge and success in learning.
 
9. One must also make use of other important aids on a variety of topics to improve one's English conversation and vocabulary skills: audios, videos (English learning videos, travel videos, etc.), Internet resources, English learning magazines, newspapers, newsletters, radio programs (especially the BBC English learning programs/materials), TV programs (educational programs, documentary films, movies, news), books and e-books on a variety of subjects, online communication with native English speakers (chat, by email, by Skype).
Good libraries have a wide selection of English learning aids.

SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVING ENGLISH LISTENING COMPREHENSION AND SPEAKING SKILLS.

In order to have good skills in English listening comprehension (to be able to understand quickly what you heard in English) and to speak English fluently, a learner of English should practice listening to English learning audio and video aids (dialogues (that is conversations between two speakers on a variety of topics), thematic texts and narrative stories). It is preferable to have English transcripts of audio and video material. I suggest the following sequence in practice:

1. Listen to each sentence in English several times. See each English sentence in the transcript.
2. Make sure you understand everything clearly in each sentence in terms of pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar.
3. Try to repeat each sentence (say it aloud) exactly as you heard it without looking into the transcript. If you cannot repeat the sentence you heard, how can you understand it?
4. Listen to that particular conversation or text (story) by short paragraphs or chunks, say each paragraph aloud, and compare to the transcript.
5. Then listen to the whole conversation or story without interruption several times, and try to tell the content of the whole conversation or text (story) you heard. You can write key words and phrases, or main ideas as a plan, or questions on that particular dialogue or text to make easier for you to convey their content in English.  Compare what you said to the transcript.

Michael Chtcherbitski  

Return to the top of the page.