August habit update: Studying English Language

I want to start off by saying that English is not my first language, and not being able to express in English fluently has always been my insecurity.

I plan to take the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam next year. The test assesses a non-native speaker’s proficiency in English. I am hoping to achieve a minimum overall band score of 6.0.

Despite using English as a medium of instruction at school and at work, I never seem to get it. It takes me ages to construct a sentence and I feel anxious talking and writing in English. Having those issues, I plan to work on my proficiency as early as possible.

There are tons of materials online on how to learn English effectively and efficiently. I listed below things that helped me:

1. Conversing with other people

I feel anxious every time I converse with other people in English. I am worried that I’ll embarrass myself. However, after constantly conversing with people, I gained confidence and get used to their accent and their expressions.

2. Practicing tongue twisters

Tongue twisters are a great way to improve pronunciation and vocal clarity.

Here are my favourite tongue twisters:

  • The keen king gave the queen a prink and a green ring
  • Gwen grew green grapes and glorious guava in her grand garden
  • The sun was shining on Sharon Street where I saw Shane and Sarah sitting near the shoe shop.
3. Finding my way into the language

One of the advise I heard is to start reading the newspaper or watch documentaries to learn great vocabularies. However, I am not enthused doing those activities, so I didn’t learn as much. 

But when I started reading a book I like, and watch series I enjoy, English language doesn’t seem to be intimidating. It is easier to learn when you enjoy what you are doing. 

4. Deliberately using English badly

I have noticed that the more I worry about doing poorly, the harder it is for me to express in English. Deliberately using English badly helped me neutralise the shame I feel whenever I make mistakes. This method is also surprisingly effective in helping me correct those mistakes.

It is unfortunate that I’m not able to show my IELTS scores, since I am yet to take the exam. However, one thing is for sure: doing these practices gave me confidence when using English language.

To Summarize:

I improved my English using the following methods:

1. Conversing with other people

2. Practicing tongue twisters

3. Finding my way into the language

4. Deliberately using English badly

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