Tips for Improving ESL Listening and Speaking Skills

Instruction in English often does not offer the student the opportunity to speak and converse in English. Many students can read and write English, but have real problems when it comes to holding a conversation. To overcome this, constant practice in listening and speaking will soon give the student confidence to speak easily and fluently.

Have you ever watched a one and a half or two year old child? They are never quiet. Most small children love to make sounds. Sometimes their sounds make no sense, but that doesn’t matter to them. These children are learning to speak their native language.

In learning English as a foreign language, we should remember how the small child learns his or her language. They listen, they copy, and they practice. After saying words many, many times, they come to know what they mean, and they can say them correctly.

Everyone trying to learn English must find daily time to practice and study so that the language becomes automatic.

Tips for Improving ESL (English as Second Language) Listening and Speaking Skills:
Find a conversational English course near your home where you will study with others.
Try to arrange for your employer to sponsor an English course.
Find an English course located near to your workplace.
When choosing the time, be aware of the best learning times for you. Are you a morning or a night person? Try to spend some of your best learning time with studying so that you are not always tired when trying to learn.
Look for an interactive course that would allow you to study on your own in your own time.
If you can read English, look for an interactive course that promotes listening, speaking and understanding.
Practice often
Listen to English radio or TV
Go to English movies
Go out with English speaking friends
Listen to English Whenever You Can!!

In learning English, there are times when it is easy to sit in a room by yourself and read a book out loud. There are other times when this is not possible – when you are busy doing something else, or you are out in a public place. At these times it is good to have some English to listen to. Now it is very common to see people driving their cars, sitting on a bus, or walking down a busy street with earphones. These are times when you can be listening to English. You can even be repeating phrases quietly to yourself.

(Author: Stephen Stocker from


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