What are the steps to English fluency? The road to fluent English might look like climbing a mountain to you. It might look like a range of mountains, not just one, as soon as you conquer one part of English, something else emerges through the mist and you realise there are still more mountains to climb.
So the path and the steps you need to take to get to the top of the mountain can feel unclear. Maybe you need a map. But it's hard to find a good map because everyone's map is a bit different, we all have different backgrounds, knowledge and personalities. There might not be one map nor the same path for everyone, but we can all use the same compass.
If you want to get fluent at speaking English there are only three things you need to do - talk, learn, recall. Getting fluent is just repeating these three steps over and over. This is your compass! You can use the circle of fluency compass to keep your English moving and improving every day.
Obviously, you need to talk. What kind of talking will you do today? A lesson with a teacher, a phone enquiry, a conversation with a friend, instructions to your children, chat to your plants or pets? All are good ways to incorporate more talking into your day. Check out more ideas for more speaking here. When I say talk, that means both speaking and listening. If you want to be fluent in speaking English, you must speak!
Step 2 is learn. Why is this second? If you're reading this your English level is already high, I'm guessing. You've learnt English in school, university, maybe your job, maybe your hobby. You've learnt a lot. Now use it. That's why Step 1 is talk and use your English. In step 2 you must reflect on your communication and learn from it. Don't worry about 'mistakes,' but what worked and what didn't work. What misunderstanding happened, either when you were listening or speaking. Why did you misunderstand? Why were you misunderstood? What could you improve? Remember not to take this personally. You're not crap at English! Try to be neutral - you're conducting an experiment and want to find out the results and the reason for the results.
Recall or remember. Bit of brain science for you - back to the path analogy. The first time you learn something a neural pathway is created in your brain. That path is very slim and delicate at first. It's very easy to forget where that path is because it's tiny. But the more you use that path the stronger, wider, and clearer it becomes. It's hard to forget because it's physically stronger. The neural pathways in your brain that you go along every day are so strong and clear you
hardly need to look at that path anymore. Just like a familiar road you travel every day. When you turn off that familiar road you have to pay more attention. Same in your brain. When you go off familiar topics you need to pay more attention to the paths to try and remember the way. So it's normal to get lost occasionally and forget where you were. You've just got to repeat that path again. Which means using your English, which means... back to step 1 - talk!
The talk, learn, recall compass will help you move and improve your English. Which steps to English fluency will you work on today?
If you want to speak more English, in small friendly and safe groups online, join Mums' English Circle today. Even if you haven't spoken English for years you'll soon recall it and feel at home with us. Get all the details here
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I'm Abbie and I'm an English teacher and English event organiser. I've been teaching English for over 15 years. I'm British and I live in Japan with my husband two daughters and a lot of crafting supplies.