Before I start working with a new client, I ask what areas of their English they would like to work on. Most of them respond with vocabulary, grammar or pronunciation. Which is fine, however, almost all of them already have a good range of vocabulary and proficient use of grammar and even if they have an accent, their pronunciation is usually quite clear. So why do they come to me for lessons?

Well, having worked with teachers and professionals alike over the last 12 years, I have come to the conclusion that it is not about how much they know, or how much they think they know. It is about their confidence in themselves.

So how can we improve our confidence in our English ability, I hear you ask?

The simple answer is: use it!

Now, this is not always that easy as we have so many things in life that we should do and we do not really want to add using our language skills to our ‘to-do list’. However, there are some ways we can incorporate English into our daily lives, and with a little motivation and some consistency, these will help us gain the self-belief in our own language ability.

So here are 3 simple ways to incorporate English into your daily life:

#1 Think in English

I realise this is easier said than done. That being said, we can encourage our brains to think a certain way with a little bit of prompting. For example, you could change your device’s language into English. That way, every time you look at your phone/tablet/laptop/[insert your own device here] your brain will be prompted to think in English.

#2 Listen to English

Nowadays, there is so much choice online to listen to podcasts or watch series, films and documentaries in whatever language you please. As well as paid services, you can access many of these for free. So, there is no excuse now is there – find something you are interested in and watch it in English. Simple! You can listen to podcasts while you go for a walk, or while you’re doing the dishes.

#3 Read in English

No, you do not have to read a whole book. Although if you would like to, please go ahead. However, for those of you who are not interested in books, that is not what I am suggesting. I am 99 percent sure that we all read something, whether that is the news, blogs, magazines, newsletters. Whatever you read in your everyday life, find a version of it in English to help your brain really make that switch.

Once you create the habit, it becomes much easier. And soon you will find yourself thinking in English and maybe even talking to yourself in English. I do not know whether this is an occupational hazard, but I have noticed many teachers talk to themselves…so why not do this in English too? Come to think of it, it may be because we spent so much time in front of classes, at least at the start of our careers, looking at a sea of blank faces, so we have had a lot of practice talking to ourselves… Or was that just me?

Once you are using English on a daily basis, you will soon find your confidence increases and even if you are not 100% sure about everything you say, you will be able to deal with that as a normal part of using your English. Even those who have English as a mother tongue are not 100% of everything in their own language. Sometimes I have to double check the spelling of a word, just because when I write it down it does not look right! (Anyone else?!)

If you'd like support building up your confidence in your own pronunciation, please get in touch with me, Jennie, I'd love to help.