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How to Overcome a Fear of Speaking English

October 14, 2017

How to Overcome a Fear of Speaking EnglishAre you shy, nervous, or embarrassed to speak English? Even in a warm and welcoming environment (such as the CISL classroom), students can still have difficulty feeling comfortable speaking English. Do not worry: we have some tips to help students speak up in class in order to overcome their fear of speaking English. With these tips and a little practice, you will feel confident communicating in English in no time!

How to Overcome a Fear of Speaking English

Tip #1: Ask questions

Asking a question is a great way to participate in the class. You can ask questions for clarification, for more information, or simply to get the opinions of your classmates and teacher. All questions open dialogue and allow you to be an important part of the class conversation. (Plus, asking questions allows you to learn how to form questions in different tenses!)

Tip #2: Be a good listener

There is no such thing as a one-sided conversation. To speak in class, it’s a good idea to listen first. Then you can build on the conversation by agreeing or disagreeing (or adding information).

How to Overcome a Fear of Speaking English

Tip #3: Identify your exact fears or worries

Ask yourself exactly why you are so afraid to speak English. Is it because of your accent? Is it because you lack the vocabulary? Is it because you can’t correctly form a sentence with the proper word order? The only way to overcome your fear is to first identify it.

Tip #4: Remind yourself that shame is irrational

Once you’ve identified your fear (or fears), realize that your fear is irrational: all fear is! When you are in the English classroom, the goal is to improve your English. And remember: everyone in the class shares this goal! Absolutely everything that you do will help you improve, so consider each conversation to be a learning opportunity.

Tip #5: Relax (and have fun)

The easiest way to improve your English skills is to enjoy the language (both learning it and speaking it). Develop a positive relationship with English and you will enjoy every step of the learning process. (Yes, even grammar!)

How to Overcome a Fear of Speaking English

What are your tips for improving your English skills and overcoming the fear of speaking up in the classroom? Share with us on Facebook!

Since 1972, CISL has provided students with quality English instruction in the small classroom setting (never more than 8 students per class)! Learn more about CISL’s San Francisco and San Diego locations (and its many programs, including Executive English, Cambridge CAE and FCE, and Career English) by visiting the CISL website

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