Are you progressing with your English-speaking skills more slowly than you’d prefer? You might feel that you’re putting in more time and effort than you ever imagined, but you can’t seem to get to the next speech level fast enough.
Science suggests that the road to becoming an expert is found through deliberate skills practice. Scientists believe that this is all that’s required to become an expert in any field.
It’s best to focus on the way in which you practice. This can have a much bigger impact on your results than how much you practice.
Tips for Your Deliberate Spoken-English Practice Routine
Speaking from my world of English Speaking Skills, here are a few tips for your deliberate speech skills practice routine:
- Practice from a deliberate plan. Avoid random practice. Be deliberate. Focus on a specific speech element. E.g., final consonant articulation, the alternation of the stressed & unstressed syllable sounds, compound noun & descriptive phrase stress.
- Be smart. Deliberate practice, even in small doses, can be much more effective than endless, mindless practice. Avoid believing that you must practice 8+ hours per day to see significant results. With the type of training I offer, 15-20 minutes per day can be enough.
- Keep a regular schedule. I always ask the folks I work with, What is the best time of day to do the online self-study modules that I assign? Or to practice & self-monitor? Mornings? Afternoons? Early evenings? Late evenings? Keep it regular. Mark it on your calendar or planner.
- Find a way to measure your skill. Determine how to measure your percentage of success. When it comes to working with speech, the initial speech assessments are a good starting point for knowing what needs adjusting and how much.
- Track your practice. Avoid relying on your memory to track your practice. Use a notebook, spreadsheet, speech recorder, or other means to record your results. Review each practice session and plan the next.
- Turn off all distractions. Have your phone on with whatever app you’re using for deliberate practice but turn off the ringer & notifications. Keep focused.
- Practice near the limit of your capability. You’ll get the best return on your time investment if you practice at the point you make regular errors. Correcting those errors is vital. You don’t learn much while doing things that are easy for you. In my world, receiving ongoing corrective feedback (from your peers, yourself, and an expert like me) engages the English-speaking brain.
- Seek a mentor. Get a bit of help from an expert who can provide a structured plan and ongoing guidance. There is the Internet but are you getting what you really need to efficiently improve the target skill?
1 Practice Technique for Your Deliberate Practice Routine
One of my favorite tips from above is to be smart and practice in small doses regularly. Daily is best. Choose a specific speech element (e.g., the /n/ sound or final consonant articulation) to practice with complete focus for 10-20 minutes.
Below is a video where I demonstrate one speech practice technique. In essence, you use an article, slide deck, anything with print to mark-up the text and practice with focused attention.
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