If you spend about half an hour browsing articles and videos on this blog, you’ll learn pretty quickly that I’m all about doing loads of self-practice in order to improve the level of spoken English – this is the single biggest contributor to my own fluency improvement and that of my students as well.
For most people, when coming across this approach for the first time, this may sound really weird, and it takes some time to get used to the concept of speaking in English without a conversation partner. Once they realize though, that this type of practice is in fact no different to speaking with others, they embrace it and their spoken English experiences a rapid improvement.
Want proof? Here, check out this article where I’m going through real people’s feedback on the effectiveness of spoken English self-practice.
And, before we jump into the very topic of this article, let’s talk about what this concept of spoken English self-practice means for pretty much any foreign English speaker on this planet.
In simple terms, it means that no matter where you live – be it an English speaking or a foreign country – you can work on your English and become fluent without the need to speak with other people on a regular basis. All you need is willingness to open your mouth and speak, and the rest is a matter of hard work, dedication and consistency.
Yes, it’s natural to doubt the effectiveness of this approach.
Yes, it’s natural to ask questions such as – “But how will I know when I make a mistake when doing the self-practice?”
Or – “Hold on, speaking with myself? It’s boring and it’s not natural at all, we should be speaking with other people not with ourselves!”
Well, guess what? All such and similar questions are nothing but excuses.
Yes, you’re bound to make mistakes when practicing – but quite naturally anyone of us possesses the ability to self-correct.
At the end of the day, it’s really up to oneself whether or not such an approach towards fluency improvement will work, and depending on your mental state it can yield great results or no results at all – basically it’s all in your head.
So it’s no wonder that time and time again I receive comments from English learners that are very, very skeptical about the concept of improving their English fluency when living in a foreign country.
Here’s an excerpt from a comment published on this blog a few days ago:
“You CANNOT get rid of your native language if you live in your home country. It is practically impossible. People just need to realize that you can and you will improve your English while you live in your country but you will never become fluent.”
Well, let’s address this matter once more and try and convince you, non-believers, that it is possible to become fluency regardless of your physical location!
It’s Wrong to Assume Fluency Can Be ONLY Achieved One Way
The main reason this argument is flawed is the assumption that for some reason you’d have to get rid of your native language in order to make it even possible to achieve English fluency.
Well, to be honest with you, I can see the logic behind this kind of reasoning; it probably goes along the lines of: “If you surround yourself only with other English speakers, you’ll be forced to speak in English all the time and you’ll become fluent in no time, therefore it’s safe to assume that if you’re not surrounded by other English speakers, you can’t become fluent.”
Now, my friends, this is another great example of logical fallacy.
Just because we observe B (fluency) in A (being surrounded by English speakers) conditions, doesn’t necessarily mean that B is impossible without A! Yes, in this case B is observed due to conditions A, but it’s wrong to assume that B is possible ONLY under A conditions!
It’s the same as if you were to say that once you lost 10 pounds of bodyweight by following apple diet, for example, it’s safe to assume that you can’t lose weight in any other way. “What? You’re trying to lose weight by eating an omelette and vegetables? It’s impossible! No apples – no weight loss!”
When it comes to English fluency though, it’s much more difficult to see that there is another way, and I totally get it…
It’s Hard to See the Wood For the Trees…
I just love this English idiom, and for those of you who don’t know what it means – it simply describes a situation when people can’t see the reality because they’re too focused on some minor details.
In our case the minor details are all those biases and assumptions that we have about English fluency, here’s just a few of them:
- You can only become fluent when speaking with others
- I need an English teacher to guide me, it’s impossible to become fluent on my own
- The only true way of achieving fluency is by enrolling in an English class
- I just can’t become fluent unless I move to an English speaking country
And guess what?
All those statements are TRUE for as long as you believe them!
Yes, you’ll never see the simple fact that you can skyrocket your English fluency by exercising your mouth on a daily basis, if you keep convincing yourself that it’s impossible. Tell yourself something a hundred times, get others to confirm it’s true, and presto! – you’ve just formed a firm belief that the only way you could possibly become fluent in English is by living in an English speaking environment.
Your Life is What You Make It
It’s the same with everything in life.
If you want to make things work, you will make them work. As they say – “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” – and I couldn’t agree more with that.
If you absolutely have to achieve English fluency, you WILL do it no matter what. You will spend countless hours speaking about all topics imaginable and eventually you WILL develop the ability to speak about virtually any topic in English.
I’ve met a lot of people in my life who’ve never lived in an English speaking country before and haven’t had jobs where they’d have to speak in English on a daily basis, yet their spoken English was very well developed.
So tell me – what differentiates you and those people? Are they geniuses? Are they much smarter than you? Well, let me hazard a guess – they never complained.
They never tried to find reasons why NOT TO. They just MADE IT HAPPEN.
P.S. Would you like to find out why I’m highlighting some of the text in red? Read this article and you’ll learn why it’s so important to learn idiomatic expressions and how it will help you to improve your spoken English!
P.S. 2. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out the English Harmony System HERE!