In lieu of a grammar topic, I’m going to focus on giving some advice this week. I’ve recently heard a number of students apologize for not speaking well even though they were able to express themselves with little difficulty. Students also frequently apologize for making mistakes. STOP!
If you were able to speak English perfectly, you wouldn’t need to come to class or the speaking club! Even native speakers make mistakes when speaking, so there is no reason to expect that you should be able to without making some. Mistakes are normal and you shouldn’t allow a fear of making them prevent you from speaking. Here’s why:
I had a teacher that called mistakes “beautiful”. They are beautiful! When you make a mistake while speaking and are able to correct it yourself, it shows that you have the knowledge of the grammar, you just need to practice using it a bit more. If you’re not able to correct it yourself, it gives your teacher a chance to help you. This is our job and we love helping students. That’s what we do.
Choosing not to speak because you’re afraid of making a mistake prevents you from learning. Here’s some personal experience. When I was studying Russian in the US and Moscow, I was so afraid of making a mistake that I just wouldn’t try at all. I told myself that I had to speak perfectly every time I opened my mouth. However, this has prevented me from learning the language as much as I could have. I should be able to speak more fluently and have a larger vocabulary, but because I never practiced, I kept myself from progressing.
It’s hard to feel confident when speaking a foreign language, but it’s very important. Don’t let fear hold you back and trust that you’re teacher will help you to speak better.
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