English Speaking Tips for 4 Common
English speaking difficulty #1 – Listening
Remember that when you’re having a conversation, you’re only talking about 50% the time
– the other 50% is spent listening to the other person speak. If you don’t understand what
the other person is saying, it’s difficult to reply.
Here are two simple solutions to this problem:
First, practice some listening EVERY DAY. All you need is 10-15 minutes per day to
develop your listening skills. You can get free English podcasts on websites like
ESLpod.com and listen to them while driving, taking public transportation, exercising, or
Next, memorize these phrases that you can use in conversation when you don’t understand
I beg your pardon?
I’m sorry, I didn’t understand that.
Could you repeat that, please?
Could you say that again, please?
English Speaking Difficulty #2 – Vocabulary
Sometimes when you’re speaking English, you have a sentence in mind, but you’re missing
two or three important vocabulary words – and then it becomes difficult to say what you’re
The solution? Learn more vocabulary words! But there’s a good way and a not-so-good way
to learn new words. The not-so-good way is to read lists of words and definitions and try to
A good way is to learn words in “families.” For example, imagine you’re in an airport. Do you
know the words for everything you see? (luggage, check-in desk, travel agency, flight
attendant, boarding pass) If not, look for the words you don’t know in a dictionary. Now think
about what kind of conversations you might have in an airport. How would you ask for help
if you can’t find the gate? What would you say if you missed your flight? How about going
Create conversations and write them down in your vocabulary notebook. This will help you
learn useful words that are all related to each other, so the next time you’re in an airport,
you won’t have problems with missing vocabulary.
English Speaking Difficulty #3 – Pronunciation
English words can be difficult to pronounce – and when speaking English, you have to
consider not only the pronunciation of the individual words, but also the connection between
the words in the sentence. There’s also the “rhythm” and intonation of the sentence to
consider – and sometimes your mouth gets confused!
There are two things that can help you improve your English pronunciation. One way is to
take a pronunciation course. Another way to improve your pronunciation is to keep
practicing your listening. The more you listen to English, the more your pronunciation will
naturally get closer and closer to native pronunciation.
A good way to practice is to get an audio sample with transcript. Listen to one or two
sentences (while reading the transcript), then pause the audio and try to repeat the
sentences exactly as the person said them. Practicing pronunciation like this will help you
improve very fast.
English Speaking Difficulty #4 – Confidence
If you feel nervous and are afraid of making a mistake while speaking English, then your
problem is confidence. There are three things that can help increase your confidence:
First, don’t worry too much about grammar! Just do your best to communicate, and you’ll
often be successful even if you do make a small grammar mistake. Also, remember that the
grammar of spoken English is often more “flexible” than the grammar of written English.
Second, keep a positive attitude. Think of yourself as an English speaker (because you
are!) and focus on celebrating what you know, not being frustrated about what you don’t
Third, practice speaking English as much as possible in low-pressure situations. Here are
two examples of low-pressure situations: Talk to yourself! It might feel ridiculous, but it really
helps! Talk to your teacher and your friends in English class. If you make a mistake, they
can correct you. It’s extremely important to practice in low-pressure situations as much as
possible to build your confidence so that you will be comfortable speaking English in a more
“high-pressure” situation (like a teleconference, presentation, or job interview).
10 Ways to Improve the Way You
1. Observe the mouth movements of those who speak English well and try to imitate
When you are watching television or watching people in real life converse, observe the mouth
movements of the speakers. Repeat what they are saying, while imitating the intonation and rhythm
of their speech. Great television shows which reflect everyday English conversation
are Friends, Seinfeldand The Simpsons.
2. Listen to English music, television and movies to get familiar with the language
This is an extremely helpful and fun way to improve your English. Also listen to the volume of their
voices depending on the situation. Remember that loud volume can sometimes indicate
aggressiveness or anger in certain situations. Watch the English news on television channels
like CNN (for American English) or the BBC (If you wish to study British English). The news is very
helpful because their speech must be clear, concise and objective - however, keep in mind they do
not hold a great amount of emotion in their voices because of this.
3. Use the dictionary.
Try and familiarise yourself with the phonetic symbols of your dictionary. Look up the correct
pronunciation of words that are hard for you to say. Write down words and their definitions in a
notebook for future reference - it may come in handy!
4. Make a list of frequently used words that you find difficult to pronounce and ask
someone who speaks the language well to pronounce them for you.
Record these words, listen to them and practice saying them. Listen and read at the same time.
5. Buy books on tape.
Record yourself reading some sections of the book. Compare the sound of your English with that of
the person reading the book on the tape.
6. Pronounce the ending of each word.
Pay special attention to '-s' and '-ed' endings. This will help you strengthen the mouth muscles that
you use when you speak English.
7. Read aloud in English for at least 15 minutes every day.
Research has shown it takes about three months of daily practice to develop strong mouth muscles
for speaking a new language. Find something you enjoy reading - especially if it has a lot of
dialogue, and read it aloud. Even if you don't speak aloud, reading as many English books as
possible will increase your vocabulary and knowledge of sentence structure. Make sure when you
read these books that you understand what the author is trying to say.
8. Record your own voice and listen for pronunciation mistakes.
Many people hate to hear the sound of their voice and avoid listening to themselves speak.
However, this is a very important exercise because doing it will help you become conscious of the
mistakes you are making.
9. Be patient.
You can change the way you speak but it won't happen overnight. People often expect instant
results and give up too soon. You can change the way you sound if you are willing to put some effort
10. Know which version of English you intend to speak.
Various versions of the English language exist. Begin by identifying the category you fall into and
start by improving the clarity of your speech.
As a overall and final note, I would recommend for you to simply practice and repeat. Having
conversations with others in English is quite helpful because you refresh your memory on what you
know, and you learn new things as well. When my mother didn't know what a word meant or how it
was pronounced, she would ask me the meaning and to pronounce it. Then she would whisper it to
herself repeatedly after this. This helps to strengthen your memory.
Immersing yourself in English-speaking culture is a good way to appreciate the understand the
English language without losing a sense of your own identity and culture. Don't forget that you can
10 Steps to Improving Your English Pronunciation and
1. Learn and become aware.
After learning the various rules of English, you must become aware of the errors that you make in your
Keep an organized list of your corrections that have come from being monitored by other speakers,
preferably native English speakers. If you don’t have a native English speaker to monitor you, simple
listen and repeat with the Elemental English pronunciation and speaking lessons, and take note of how
your pronunciation differs from mine.
For example, does my [θ] as in “think” [θInk] sound like [t] or [s], as in “tink” or “sink”, when you say it?
Once you become aware of the errors you make, you are then ready to correct them. Obviously, if you
are oblivious to your errors, you can’t fix them!
Any time you are corrected, write down the correction that you were given on a special “monitoring” list.
Constantly update this list, and keep it organized. This is extremely useful, because the errors that you
produce are usually not random mistakes that come from “a slip of the tongue”. Most errors are part of a
pattern of mistakes that you repeat again and again.
Download the free Pronunciation and Language Skills Monitoring List (PDF)!
3. Repetitive Review.
Consistently review your monitoring list of errors. You should start to notice a pattern and then be
constantly aware of that pattern of what you need to correct.
4. Repetitive Practice.
Now that you are aware of your errors, you need to routinely practice the corrected pronunciation (or
correct syntax, vocabulary use, etc.). Practice again and again.
I suggest that you practice out loud at home. Listen to the sounds that you produce, and compare these
sounds to native speakers. Ask yourself questions when you pronounce the sounds, such as “How is
my mouth moving?” “Where is my tongue?” “Are my vocal chords vibrating?” Notice the physical aspects
With practice, you can develop the imperative habit of self-correction. Be so aware and in tune with the
sounds of English that you can notice and hear your own errors. This ability to self-correct can only come
from the above steps of monitoring and awareness.
6. Write down your questions.
There are plenty of times when all of us wonder how to express something in another language, but then
do nothing with those questions! When you are unsure of how to say or ask something in English, write it
down so that you can ask a native speaker, google it or post your question on ElementalEnglish.com.
7. Keep a running vocabulary list.
Be organized. Write down vocabulary that you want to look up but don’t have time to at that moment.
Make a habit of reviewing vocabulary. If you don’t do this, you can easily forget new words before they
are locked into your long term memory.
8. Think in English.
A huge mistake English language learners make is to think in their native language and then translate into
English in their heads.
This is a mistake, because English syntax and word order is typically something that cannot be translated
from another language.
Also, in order to speak with the correct music, stress and rhythm of English, you need to think with that
9. Talk to yourself out loud at home.
Talking to yourself out loud will help you in the process of thinking in English instead of translating to
English from your native language. Get in the habit of speaking freely without the worry of being heard
Play with the sounds and write down the ideas you want to express, but don’t know how to. It’s those
questions that you should ask a native speaker or post on ElementalEnglish.com.
10. Train your Ears.
Listen to a lot of English in the form of podcasts, television shows, movies and radio. You can always
listen to the free Elemental English podcast on iTunes, but also listen to a variety of native speakers’
voices and accents to hear how the the music of English stays consistent.
Train your ears like a musician does!
Remember, your goal never needs to be to sound like a perfect, American speaker. In fact, Americans
make mistakes in their speech all the time and speak with a variety of accents.
Improving your pronunciation is always about giving you the freedom and power to speak
with confidenceand to be understood when you communicate in English.
References Adel, A. R. 2011. Effects of L2 proficiency and gender on choice of language learning
strategies by university students majoring in English. The Asian EFL Journal Quarterly. 13 (1), 114 -
162. From http://www.asian-efl-journal.com/PDF/March-2011.pdf#page=114 [March 25, 2014].
Farzad, S., Mahnaz, S. & NedaSalahshour. 2013. The relationship between language learning
strategy use, language proficiency level and learner gender. Procedia-Social and Behavioural
Sciences 70. 634-643. From http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1877042813001043 [March
25, 2014]. Kamarul Shukri Mat Teh & Mohamed Amin Embi. 2012. Variasi Penggunaan Strategi
Pembelajaran Bahasa. Dlm. Strategi Pembelajaran Bahasa, hlm. 79-105. Kuala Lumpur: Penerbit
Universiti Malaya. Karim Sadeghi & Mohammad Taghi Attar. 2013. The relationship between
learning strategy use and starting age of learning EFL. Procedia-Social and Behavioural Sciences
70. 387- 396. From http://ac.els-cdn.com/S1877042813000773/1-s2.0-S1877042813000773-
00000aab0f6b&acdnat=1395371118_c98afd0973232170bc0f6378edcf21d0 [March 20, 2014].
Salma binti Abdul Razak (P71693)
Common difficulties and solutions in teaching English as a
How to improve your spoken
English: 5 tips
English is language of business and professional communication in India.
Even in academics, most courses in Indian institutes and universities are offered in
English, therefore even for students, it becomes extremely essential to have a
command over English language that aids them to excel in their academics.
Let us look at some tips on how to improve your English communication:
#1 Forget the fear
The main problem with most students who find it difficult to speak English well is that
they lack confidence and they have a fear that they might go wrong and will be laughed
But if you do not start practicing English communication how would you know where you
are going wrong and where you need to improve. We all make mistakes and the only
way to learn is to practice and have others correct us.
#2 Think in English
When communicating in English language, many students tend to think in their mother
tongue and speak in English.
If you wish to improve your communication in English then first you need to start
thinking in English, i.e., change your language of thought from your mother tongue to
English as this reduces the effort of translating your thoughts from your mother tongue
#3 Word power
Improve your vocabulary to improve your communication. Keep a dictionary handy and
use it to learn the meaning of a new words that you hear but don’t about its meaning.
Make a list of such new words as and when possible and try to use these words when
you are communicating in English, this helps you make your language richer.
# 4 Use the media
Read English books, newspapers and magazines. Watch English news, TV shows,
movies, preferably with subtitles.
The more you hear the more exposure you get to new words to add on to your
vocabulary and you get more familiar to the pronunciation and intonation of different
Record your own voice and listen to it. This will help you gain confidence and work on
#5 Call a friend
Also try and find a friend who is also interested in improving English so that you can
practice together, correct each other and learn together.
Common difficulties and solutions in teaching English as a
1. Common Dif ficulties and Solutions in Teaching English as a Foreign Language Collected and
presented : by Dr. Mamdoah M. Subahi
2. use solutions to avoid such difficulties. (Application ( find out solutions to deal with these
difficulties. (Analysis) know how to deal with these difficulties. (Knowledge ) know some of the
difficulties that face teachers at school. (Knowledge) Objectives By the end of this program you
will be able to :
3. Dear colleague will you kindly write down some of the difficulties you face while teaching
4. 1- Spelling 2- Homework. 3- Some pupils do not appear interested in English. 4- Disruptive
(upsetting) Behavior. 5- Pronunciation Difficulties. 6- Writing Composition. 7- Terrible (very bad )
Handwriting. 8- Learning Vowel Letters is Difficult. 9- Some students can not understand a
dialogue or a reading passage. 10- Most students are afraid to speak in the classroom. 11- How
to evaluate students? Some of the difficulties
5. Spelling is not easy even for the native speakers because of many reasons will you write down
some of these reasons. And suggest some of the solutions to over come such a problem. Activity
6. 1) Pupils can not read words specially in sixth elementary grade, 1st and the 2nd year
intermediate. 2) They do not know the correct pronunciation of some English words. 3) Spelling
and Pronunciation are not well-matched in English. 4) There are 26 letters in English that have 44
sounds. Spelling is not easy because of many :reasons such as
7. There are some solutions that can help teachers enable their pupils to master words and their
spellings. Let us mention some: 1) Teachers should explain the correct rules of spelling. 2) They
should help pupils repeat and spell each new word 4 or 5 times or even more chorally. 3) They
should help pupils read words correctly. Some solutions for spelling (difficulty are : (1
8. 4) Weekly dictation is beneficial in gaining the ability of the correct spelling. 5) Dictionaries can
be used in the late intermediate stage and in the secondary stage to reinforce spelling abilities. 6)
Posters containing difficult words can be hung on walls in front of pupils to look at them for a long
period of time. They can be exchanged every week or two weeks. 7) Teachers should diversify
(vary) exercises for giving dictation. Some solutions for spelling (difficulty are : (2
9. Some students forget their homework. As a teacher what would you do to over - come this
10. 1- Accept excuses when youngsters come in without their homework. 2- If it becomes a daily
occurrence, look into the reasons. 3- Make sure they understand exactly what you ask them to do
for homework. 4- Discuss with them in private the importance of doing homework. Reward with
praise those who respond to your directions. The others will soon be seeking your praise too.
:Some of the solutions are
11. Some pupils do not appear interested in English as competent teacher what will you do to face
this problem?Activity 4
12. Plan lessons in which there is a great deal of variety. Devote the longest time span (period) in
each lesson to oral practice activities. Subdivide these activities into four or five different types to
avoid boredom. Ensure wide student participation. Let students formulate questions, prepare
pictures or other instructional materials, give cues (signs) for oral activities, lead games and
rhymes, dramatize conversations. (Some solutions (1
13. Keep the pace of the lesson very brisk (rapid). Give the students the feeling that they are
moving ahead all the time. When a student cannot answer a question, give the correct answer
quickly or ask a more able student to give it. (Give a student a reasonable time to answer; then
move on to someone else and come back to the first student a little later in the lesson). Don’t
correct every mistake the students make, during the warm-up and motivation segments of the
lesson especially, correct only those errors which impede (obstruct) understanding. Make a
mental note of minor (small) errors and give practice in their correction later in the hour or in a
future lesson. (Some solutions (2
14. Don’t strive (try hard) for immediate mastery. Accept reasonab le fluency and reason-able
accuracy (particularly of difficult sounds) since you will reintroduce all language items many times
during the course. Encourage your students by making it possible for them to enjoy many small
successes frequently. Do this by announcing tests, differentiating assignments, and praise them
when they have done supplementary (extra) outside reading or when they have learned the lines
of poem or a play. (Some solutions (3
15. Praise them- with care of course- If their answers today (although still poor) is better than
yesterday’s, it is reason enough for praise. Make it possible for them to talk, as quickly as
possible, about the things they would talk about in their native tongue. Demonstrate (show) that
English is another type of communication which permits ( allow) them to say anything they can
say in their language. Some solutions (4)
16. Utilize (use) the people or places in the community to reinforce the students’ knowledge of
English. Plan a little more than you think you can cover in an hour. Plan for the slow and for the
gifted. Be flexible in your planning. If someth (Some solutions (5 ing of interest happens in
your school or community and if you can use the happening to reinforce or to teach language
items or an aspect of the culture - or, just as important, to strengthen your rapport (relationship)
with your students- put aside the lesson you had planned and discuss the interesting occurrence.
(of curse not all the time , only when you have a chance)
17. Some students have destructive (negative) behavior as an expert what are some of the steps
you may use to avoid such behavior?Activity 5
18. Keep students busy. Make few and reasonable demands. Accept reasonable excuses.
Excuse them from examinations when they have been absent. Praise them! Keep your
expectations for them within their ability levels. Make sure they understand exactly what you
expect of them. You can follow these steps when ):having disruptive behaviors (1
19. Don't ask for a choral response to a question unless you are specifically practicing that
question and answer. Train students patiently to keep together in choral repetition. Don't raise
your voice or continue to work when students are talking. Don't penalize the wrongdoers! Reward,
with praise, those who are attentive (caring). “The behavior and the attitude of the teacher is
perhaps the most important factor in the classroom, and thus can have a major effect on
discipline. You can follow these steps when having disruptive ):behaviors (2
20. As good teachers will you mention how can you avoid students pronunciation
21. 1- Students should listen to new words before they produce them orally. The underlying
educational principle is that perception and listening should precede production and speaking. 2 -
The teacher should always give his students the correct pronunciation of new words because he
is model fully imitated by learners. This requires that the teacher has to check the pronunciation of
most words, if not all. It is easier to teach afresh than to re-teach after wrong learning. 3- The
teacher has to pay attention to supra segmentals as well as segmental. This implies that he has to
pronounce words correctly regarding their consonants, vowels and stress. Pupils face some
pronunciation (: difficulties (1
22. 4- The teacher has to pronounce sentences with their correct intonation (tone) and sentences
stress and at a fairly normal speed. 5-Good pronunciation should be aimed when one is teaching
other skills such as reading aloud, grammatical structures and, vocabulary. 6-The teacher should
call his students’ attention to silent letters while teaching new words by probably dotting them
when demonstrated on the board. such focusing is helpful in learning both pronunciation and
spelling. Pupils face some pronunciation (:difficulties (2
23. 7- The teacher has to emphasize words with problem sounds more than words devoid (with
out) such sounds. The former (pervious) words require more repetition. 8- The teacher has to
design pronunciation drills that handle some common pronunciation difficulties especially those
caused by new sounds not existing in the native language. 9- The teacher may teach his students
some regularities that control the relationship between writing and pronunciation, e.g.. the pattern
of sold, hold and fold and the pattern of it, bit, and sit. Pupils face some pronunciation
24. Some students even in high lever do not know how to write composition whether as a
homework or in the final exam. So as talented teachers what do you think the best way to avoid
such a difficulty?Activity 7
25. Ask your students to prepare the composition at home in order to express their own ideas
correctly and easily. Motivate the topic by creating a situation or using discussions, wall charts
and guided words. Elicit ideas related to the topic. You can ask your students to express their own
ideas orally. Choose the most suitable ideas and write them on the board in order to help students
when doing their homework. Pupils face difficulties in )writing composition (1
26. Give your students enough help with functions, structures and vocabulary needed to express
and expand each idea. Students should be given enough time to write an introductory paragraph
in the classroom because there must be a model to follow. Pupils face difficulties in )writing
27. Your comments on their compositions had better be careful, clear and helpful and it will be
very useful if you do this work in the classroom. When correcting your pupils’ notebooks, you
should pay attention to the major errors such as those in grammar, word order, spelling and
punctuation. Pupils face difficulties in )writing composition (3
28. One of the most annoying problems for teachers is terrible handwriting for students. As a
caring teacher what do you think the best way(s) to make your students’ handwriting
29. The teacher is a model fully imitated by the learners. Some teachers have unsuitable
handwriting. Some students do not know how to use the pen (pencil) correctly. Some students are
unable to form the correct shape of some letters and they find it difficult to distinguish in
handwriting between some letters such as /w- m/, /n- u/ and so on. Some pupils have terrible
30. The teacher should remind his pupils with the rules of correct handwriting such as the
following: Beginning the sentence with a capital letter. Leaving one-letter space between words.
Ending the sentence with a full stop. Leaving two-letter space between sentences.… etc. Some
pupils develop incorrect ways when writing because of their teachers who do not train them well in
the first and the second year intermediate. Some pupils have terrible )handwriting (2
31. Students should be trained on the correct movement of the hand. Students should write on
four-line notebooks. An ink pen shouldn’t be used in the beginning levels. Intensive work should
be done on teaching the correct form of each letter. The teacher should display the best
handwriting in front of other students. It will be very useful if teacher s make compet
Some pupils have terrible (handwriting (3 itions in handwriting in order to encourage those pupils
who write beautifully.
32. Students some times face a difficulty which is they sometimes do not know English vowels. As
a teacher what do you suggest to solve this problem?Activity 9
33. Revise vowel letters daily. Ask different individuals to write some letters on the board. Ask
mistaken pupils to re-write the letters again. Repeat these steps when needed. Be very keen in
using flash cards containing different letters. Never forget the other letters. Learning
vowel letters is (difficult for some pupils (1
34. Some students can not understand a dialogue or a reading passage. What will you do to help
these students dear teacher?Activity 10
35. Show pictures. Dramatize the material, Explain in a simple language. You can translate in the
mother tongue but this step should be your last solution. Some can not understand a :
dialogue or a reading passage
36. Most students are afraid to speak in the classroom. What do you think the reason(s)? And
what are some of the solutions to overcome thisActivity 11
37. Start with choral repetition, followed by individual repetition. Call on the more able or less
timid students first. Be patient with really timid individuals. Praise them for any effort, no matter
how slight. Try to avoid continuous looking at their Students are afraid to speak in the