Rehearsing


Street sign leading to Olympic Village, London


We might not think about it but our minds are constantly thinking. Figuring out what to say to someone at any given time, how to confront, reply, impress, adviSe…

Sometimes we think aloud, just like giving a speech, we start talking to ourselves, as if we were in front of that person, repeating and polishing the sentences and words again and again…

Rehearsing is a great exercise to improve your speaking skills in English, structuring a speech to deliver to an audience, controlling the time it will take you to say everything you want to say…

Just like a sports-person preparing for a competition, a musician or a singer perfecting a note or the vocal cords, a speaker must practice many, many times in order to gain the confidence to transmit the message.

I invite you to practice this: Rehearse a speech on a subject you want to tell the world about, you might find you have a hidden talent to show…xxx…More next week

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Leaving the nest


A bare tree on an English public footpath

 

Changes terrify us, we waste a lot of time wondering whether to take the risk or stay in our confort zone, where we are very uncomfortable indeed…

I have seen people hesitating for too long about taking steps in their lives, afraid of changes, but changes can truly be great! Transit might be tough, the uncertainty of the destination daunting but, despite all of these, there´s always something to gain!

Moving back from England to Spain wasn´t easy. In spite of the eagerness I felt to return to my country, it took me a while to finally decide I wanted to stay here for good. People ask me how it was for my kids, and from my experience, I believe that the younger you are, the easier you find it to adjust to changes.

It was supposed to be a trial, a year renting the house in London and then going back if it didn´t work, and this is what I recommend to others: “try for a year, see what happens, if you come back, you´ll definitely be a changed person…”

Living away for some time makes you grow, you become more tolerant, you absorb a wider perspective of the world, it opens your wings so you can fly…xxx…More next week

Getting hooked on it

Hooks on “Pick Your Own” strawberries, on the land of an English farmshop

We like it! We do! We love it when we practice and understand English! We might complain, whinge, scream and shout but we get hooked on it!!

My students are on holidays but they´re active, they keep in touch with me, they send me homework by email, videos and songs via the whatsapp groups, some even ask: “Are we really not going to have English classes for 2 weeks??” I love it! I miss them too!

I´m reachable, you ought to be when you´re a teacher! I never give up on ways to keep them motivated, engaged in learning… Seeing their will to continue progressing makes me so happy…xxx…More next week

Music

Music is awesome to learn English. We all like it! Whether it´s a band or a singer, a style or another, it enlightens our hearts like nothing else!

It was music that sparked off my interest to learn more and more English. I started to like a band when I was about 12 and I had an urge to understand their lyrics. By singing their songs, while being unaware of it, my pronunciation was getting better and better! It´s not only vocabulary you can learn with songs in English, also grammatical structures and collocations that will come in very handy when hesitating about, for instance, a preposition to go after a verb, adjective, etc…

Our subconscious is constantly working, we might not pay much attention when the radio is on, but it´s funny how we can recognize a song we have heard before.

It´s also weird that we seem to like some songs more than others. I never understood why I liked “Lamb to the slaughter” by A-ha so much, I thought it was the tune, but now I see how much sense the lyrics of this song make regarding a part of my life. A non-Spanish speaker friend of mine liked a song by Héroes del Silencio, without understanding a word, and the lyrics make so much sense for him too!! I´ve been listening to Sia the last few months and I can understand so well why!!

So, pay attention, listen to music, check the lyrics and ask yourself: “Why is this song so important in my life?”… Let me know what you discover!….xxx….More next week

 

Reading aloud

We´re easily embarrassed, we Spanish, when it comes to speaking in English in public, we don´t want to look like fools… I´m finding it hard to convince my students to attend conversation groups, which it´s a pity, as these are a great opportunity to practice and progress. Some of them tell me that they try to speak with each other in English in their own time but not everyone is willing to…

Reading aloud is another technique to improve your speaking skills. I´ve seen many students quickly progress by doing this activity as often as possible. I read The Guardian newspaper online, I suggest you try reading aloud short articles as frequently as you can, it will only take you 2-3 minutes a day!!

I also read stories to my kids every night and ask them questions, for instance, their opinion about the characters so I get them to interact, you can try too! You´ll find many children´s books in English in your local library or bookshop, I´m sure! And the vocabulary and grammar are very easy so you can “play” with them…

Remember that your English learning will advance more smoothly if you enjoy it, so don’t think about it as something you have to spend a lot of time on, you´ll continue putting it off if you do!!…xxx…More next week