How good are your english conversation skills?

Students often ask what they can do outside class in order to continue practicing and improving. As a teacher and student myself, I think it is important to put the theory and grammar into action as much as you can, through listening and speaking, in a more personally productive way. It is one thing to read and repeat what is written on a printed page in front of you, but it is altogether a much different ability to produce spoken language by yourself.

english conversation skills

For students with a lower A1 or A2 level it is more important to build a strong grammatical and lexical base with some short sporadic practice of listening and speaking. However, once you are past the A2 stage, you need to step away a little from the more passive elements of language acquisition and learn to keep a conversation moving on a range of themes. This not only requires knowledge of the language but also imagination and creative thinking or in other words “conversation skills” both for examinations but also in your day to day life.

It is thought that nowadays, due to an over reliance on mobile phone messaging and social networks, that people are losing this fundamental ability of thinking on their toes, not only when speaking a foreign language but even in their native tongue. In a messaging conversation, you have several minutes or hours to think, before answering a message, whereas in an exam and in real life you need to be able to answer on the spot!

By not exercising this vital skill, students tend to get even more nervous when speaking in groups and even more so in an exam situation. With some encouragement from a teacher and personal initiative, you need to adopt the philosophy of “you can’t make an omelet, without breaking a few eggs”.

Attending a conversation class is one way in which you can overcome this fear and grab the bull by the horns. Once you have a high A2 level, you should be exercising this skill at least twice a week. You shouldn’t worry initially about a lack of participation during your first few lessons as you will always be practicing your listening skills to begin with and learning linkers and vocabulary from both your teacher and fellow classmates. The one thing you should worry the least about is making errors, as your main objective should be simply to increase participation and improve your listening in a live conversational situation. You also need to be open minded and be prepared to talk on a variety of themes by looking for the advantage and disadvantage on each of these.

You will be using the same set of skills during any examination or conversation. You can practice this at home by simply brainstorming the pros and cons of any issue by making a short list of bullet points. It can be in assessing anything from such generic themes like the weather “winter and summer” or “homemade food and fast food” to slightly more in depth conversations on “consumerism” or “sexism”. You are always working the same basic skills of linkers, to create contrast in your opinions and weigh up the pros and cons of that topic. In addition to expressing your opinions, the other objective is to keep the conversation moving forward, just as you would do in any other aspect of your life such as having coffee with a friend.

You should gradually try to step up your interjections as you gain confidence. Usually your teacher will step in, if she or he feels you aren’t participating enough. Remember that everyone in the class makes the same kind of errors as you and that everyone has the same purpose, to improve real time fluency.

With all this in mind I look forward to seeing you at Let’s Talk English Centre in Valencia!

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“The Last Wish”

Nuestro alumno del curso de inglés comunicativo Javier Llorens ha recomendado este libro “The Last Wish” y ha redactado una sinopsis, ¡Buen trabajo Javier!:

 

The Last Wish By Adrzej Sapkowski.

lastwishThis is a fantasy book divided into several short tales with the same character, Geralt of Rivia, a witcher and a mutant who earns his living like a monster slayer. With his two swords, one of silver for monsters and the other of steel for humans, he roams the world, slaying monsters, finding new friends and perhaps even love…

Cynical, ironical, talkative and dotted of a biting wit he is always wandering the marvelous land in which he lives, killing all kind of monsters for coin, but not only that, for in his travels he will face schemes, men who are worse than monsters and the pursue of his last wish.

I think everyone with a taste for fantasy stories will enjoy this book because it’s very imaginative, deep and emotional, also is very easy to read. There are many tense moments but also very funny and deep ones making a diverse story. But most of all, this novel is impressive for how the things are not black or white, but grey, just like in real life.

P.S. If you want to know which his last wish is, you must read the book 😉

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APPs para medir tu nivel de inglés

Hay varias razones por las que a todos los que estudiamos un idioma nos chifla conocer nuestro nivel de inglés: ¿Estaremos preparados para afrontar el próximo examen?, ¿Tenemos mas nivel que hace un año?, ¿Mi amigo Juanito sabe menos inglés que yo? (y eso me reconforta…) , etc…

Puede convertirse en un juego adictivo repetir una y otra vez diferentes pruebas de nivel (Assessment Tests), tests de gramática, de speaking o de nivel general. Googleando un poco vas a encontrar varias webs donde probar tu nivel, por ejemplo "Test your English" de Cambridge o para un inglés americano prueba el test de la American University en Washington, DC.

Las webs y formularios de toda la vida están bien pero ¿Que hay de la movilidad?, pues para esto hay APPS especificas que prueban tu nivel de forma bastante acertada. A continuación te indico las que puede que sean las mejores APPS de prueba de nivel, no estan listadas en ningún orden concreto.

 

leveltestEnglish Level Checker Free

Varios test para seleccionar, Full o Quick. No indica la duración del test ni el numero de preguntas, simplemente pulsas en Full o Quick y empieza el test. Al ir respondiendo te va indicando el nivel que tienes, cosa ilógica ya que no es posible conocer el nivel de alguien por solo responder 2 o 3 preguntas.

 

testyourTest Your English Elementary

Existen varias versiones de esta APP para diferentes niveles, pero ¿Qué nivel debo escoger?, ahí está la pregunta, debería haber una única versión que midiese tu nivel y no tener que decidir si descargarse la Elementary o la Intermediate. 
Esta APP aunque con un diseño tosco es mas completa que la anterior, ademas contiene tests de listening y reading.

test your english proTest Your English PRO

Aunque con un nombre parecido a la anterior no tiene nada que ver. Esta APP esta enfocada a academias de idiomas y alumnos que estan preparandose para exámenes de Cambridge ESOL. Los resultados de la prueba aparecen con la nomenclatura Cambridge y también CEFR. Tiene también dos tipos de test, Quick y Full aunque el Full es de pago. Tu puntuación puedes hacerla pública y aparecerá en la tabla de ranking con tu nombre, esto hace que puedas competir con amigos y familiares para ver quien tiene mas nivel.
La aplicación tiene una version de pago para academias que quieren hacer ilimitados test de nivel a sus alumnos.

 

 

¿Quieres proponer alguna APP?, envianos tus comentarios…

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Un blog para los estudiantes de inglés

Te presento nuestro nuevo blog  Let’s Talk English que pretende dar información relevante y actual al estudiante de inglés. En English Top Tips no solo encontrarás noticias sobre nuestra academia de inglés Let’s Talk English Center, sino también toda la actualidad referente a exámenes oficiales, certificaciones, búsqueda de empleo, intercambios culturales y mucho mas.

Nuestro equipo docente y directivo colaborarán en el blog dando diferentes puntos de vista sobre la actualidad en la enseñanza del idioma inglés. Nuestros alumnos están invitados a colaborar también con cualquier sugerencia interesante que puedan dar a el resto de alumnos. Si eres alumno de nuestra academia y quieres escribir algún post ponte en contacto conmigo.

douglas rickard painting

Arte: Douglas Rickard

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