How English Learners Can Boost Their Confidence
A disconnect between English and life in America leads many Americans to try to adapt to the business world using less familiar English. For English learners, this can be a major obstacle to success in English.
While it may seem natural to adapt to business speak, English learners should instead avoid this strategy because it means not fully immersing yourself in daily business, only speaking to English teachers when they are not around.
Think of the differences between buying a car and learning the terms of a movie. It may seem counterintuitive to buy a car, but it’s quite common for English learners to learn the “car speak” and then use it to understand how the car functions. However, if the buyer had a vehicle of their own to handle, the problem would go away.
The same holds true for most everyday discussions and interactions. One of the great ways to ease your way into daily English is to use open-ended conversation to follow your interest. This means you need to allow the other person to guess and sometimes fix what you don’t want them to know until you spell it out for them in the next question. In other words, you are going to have to be open-minded and trust your instincts.
Think of all of the chat rooms and forums you are in. Do you often try to differentiate “groups” or “communities”? Without proper group work, this separation can lead to a feeling of isolation and the use of unhelpful labels like “teenagers,” “young adults,” or “young people.” As an open-minded English learner, you must be willing to listen to others. This allows for the kind of communication needed to learn and understand English.
It also means that you need to be relaxed, let your guard down, and practice practicing talking to people in different contexts. For example, if someone is sending you a text message, you can’t send “hi” as an English word. However, instead of thinking this is a negative, try to think of it as a subtle way of introducing yourself.
That way, when you feel confident in what you’re saying, you will come across as confident in English and include the slang you might normally use if you are speaking a different context or about a friend.
What else can English learners do to become more confident in a foreign language? Simple – improve your confidence! The best way to develop confidence is to be informed and don’t be afraid to ask questions. And don’t forget to listen. Have fun and be creative in trying to communicate effectively.