You’ve studied the grammar rules, learned how to write essays, passed your listening exams, and made dozens of presentations in your class. But when you leave the classroom, you don’t want to use your new language skills. You’re intimidated when you meet a native English speaker. You’re afraid to open your mouth. Why does this happen?
Too often, the English you learn in the classroom doesn’t prepare you for real-life situations. The server at the restaurant doesn’t speak as clearly as your teacher. The teenagers on the bus use slang you’ve never heard before. You begin to feel like you don’t really know English at all.
The Social Media Solution
So, how can you increase your confidence in English? The answer is social media. There are a lot of apps you can use to build your real-life English skills. The best part is, these are apps you probably already use. Keep reading to find out how social media can help.
Facebook can be a valuable tool. It’s easy to find and join groups for English learners (try searching “English learning group,” for example). You could also start your own group and invite people to join. Members can offer learning tips and ask questions, or just have a friendly chat in English. You can share and comment on photos, post links to useful websites, and even plan for a group meetup if there are other learners in your local area.
If you want to work on your English pronunciation, try YouTube. By simply searching for “English lessons,” for example, you’ll find a lot of videos created by teachers and other experts. Keep in mind, though, they’re usually structured more like traditional lessons, so they might not be very different from what you’ve already learned in your English class.
Another option for authentic pronunciation practice is to watch clips of movies and TV shows. Watch a few seconds of a video, pause it, and practice saying the words as the characters did. Not only is this a good way to work on your pronunciation, but it will also improve your listening and vocabulary skills.
Are you a music lover? Try listening to an English song without subtitles. Make note of new words and phrases you hear. Then listen again with subtitles and compare to see how much you understood!
Twitter can be ideal for growing your confidence in English. Start by following accounts that focus on English skills—some of them offer daily tips and web links. For a more real-life experience, follow your favorite English-speaking celebrities. You’ll see a lot of slang and abbreviations, but don’t be discouraged. Figuring out what their tweets mean can be a fun practice activity!
Do you follow any English accounts on Instagram? If not, you should start! Instagram can be a great place to chat with English speakers. Simply search for topics you’re interested in (travel, for example), and start following people whose posts you enjoy. You can then read the descriptions of their photos, and comment on them as well!
Sometimes the hardest part of learning a language is being brave enough to speak it. Social media can help you practice using real-life English and give you the confidence you need to communicate with anyone.