Language and study skills
How to improve your English language speaking skills.
Speaking in another language is a challenge.
You might feel shy or embarrassed, or worry that you don't have enough vocabulary to say anything interesting. However, you need to develop this skill.
What do you think of people who try to speak your language? You probably think it's good that they are learning to do this.
How to practise your speaking
Do not compare yourself to other people. Do not worry about how well you think they can speak. Do not worry about what other people might be thinking when you are speaking. They are probably thinking about their own answers!
Think about all of the times you have used English successfully!
Start with what you can say, practise regularly and try learning a few new words to use in your next conversation. If you think your answers are not interesting, decide to learn a few more adjectives or verbs!
Listen to English regularly, to hear correct pronunciation.
Check the pronunciation of new words using the British Council / BBC interactive phonemic chart.
Have a conversation about something. For example, about a film, book or place you know, or what's happening on your university course. This can be easier than making 'general' conversation.
Learn a few phrases to help you if you have any problems. For example, 'Sorry, could you repeat that, please?', 'How do you say ... ?' or 'What does ... mean?'
Exchange your own language with someone! Speak English to them (and let them help you), then speak in your own language (and help them!)
Have fun speaking English. Make English-speaking friends. You can chat to people face-to-face or on the internet.
Where to practise speaking
The following are good options for practising your speaking:
- There are lots of opportunities for speaking practice at the University. If you have not been added to the list for the York St John Global Bulletin (a weekly newsletter for international students), please email International Student Support at ISS@yorksj.ac.uk
- Global Campus events are a good place to meet students. Visit the page for regular updates, as well as following their social media pages: Twitter and Instagram. You can also follow the YSJ Virtual Community.
- York St John University's International Programmes social media page: International Programmes Twitter.
- The Students' Union has information on activities, student discounts, societies, sports and wellbeing programmes. Keep checking the website for the latest news!
- YSJ Active provides fitness facilities and sessions - check this link regularly for future opening times and sessions.
- York St John events calendar - check this regularly for live and virtual events.
- Keep in touch with friends you make during your time in the UK. Speak to them in English. You could phone or use Microsoft Teams or Skype.
You can also try these online resources:
- BBC Learning English - For words and phrases to use.
- Using English for Academic Purposes - Links to different skills for English in academic tasks. Look at the information on speaking. This includes what to say in group work and when making presentations.
- The Study Space - Speaking
- The Study Space - Presentations