Practice Makes Perfect!
Hello to Lidia and all of our World Service Readers,
I really wish I was in Moscow today, 13°C sounds wonderful! It is still snowing here, and it looks like the cold weather will set in for a couple of days… It would be great if I could visit Moscow just for a day, I don’t think anyone would notice that I was missing!
Tonight I want to look at a technique for improving your speaking skills. One summer I asked my students to keep an audio learning diary. You can think of this as a one-way blog! I asked my students to record themselves on an audio tape once a week. Here is the task:
Imagine that you are speaking to a real person and answer the following questions on tape:
What do you think you have learned this week?
Do you think your English has improved?
Have you learnt anything new about yourself this week?
What would you like to learn next?
As I can’t listen to your tape to give you feedback, I’m going to include an extra learning aim for you:
Include some of the new vocabulary or expressions you have read in this blog, the Learning English site, or in your own studies.
I know that my students really enjoyed this exercise, and I hope you enjoy it, too. Although I can’t listen to your tapes, I will be able to read your comments, so please try this exercise at least once! As you listen to your recording, pay attention to your intonation and word stress. In English, the intonation in our voice rises when we ask a question, express surprise, enthusiasm, approval etc. Does your intonation change at all in the recording? Do you stress key-words by saying them slightly louder, or by leaving a short pause after them? If the answer is no to these questions, make another recording (on the same topic) and compare your intonation and word stress. Is it better the second time? You might be interested to know that a few months ago, I practised a ten minute business presentation four or five times at home before I delivered it to an audience! Remember that practice makes perfect!
That’s all for now,
Good night or good morning!
Some examples of parallelism in yesterday’s blog:
blue skies, glittering sea and delicious food
(adjective + noun)
drinking coffee, chatting, watching people walk by, and looking at the sea
(ing verb + object)
we are always smiling on the photos, and we always talk fondly about the experience
(subject + adverb/verb + preposition phrase)
USEFUL WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS
it looks like (phrase)
it seems, appears that...
set in (phrasal verb)
(of weather) remain, stay
it would be (great/wonderful/fantastic) if I could … (conditional)
used to describe a hope/dream/wish
audio learning diary (noun)
diary made by regularly recording your thoughts about your language learning
used here to mean that there is no response to the communication
suggestions and comments
pay attention to something (verb)
the rising and falling pitch in speaking
word stress (noun)
emphasis placed on a particular word
deliver a presentation (phrase)
give a presentation
practice makes perfect (phrase)
this means that the more you practise, the better you will be at something!
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