How to Become a News Reader

I made these videos a while back when I taught Speaking to the 5th semester students. I chose news reading as their final assignment, because I believed they would practise their speaking skills, including intonations, tones, speed, pronunciations, and expressions by reading news. It came to my mind that I needed to record their performances for the next reference. From the students’ videos, I collected scenes that could be categorised into the dos and the don’ts in reading news. I hope the videos will be beneficial for those who are trying to become news readers.

Part 1 – The Dos

Part 2 – The Don’ts

Part 3 – Full News Reading

Building up Confidence in Speaking English

As EFL learners, have you ever felt unconfident to speak English? Perhaps you always feel unconfident every time you want to speak English. In class discussions, you always feel uneasy to deliver your idea due to your limited vocabularies. Or perhaps when you want to speak to an English native speaker, you got stuck in vocabularies and you over think about the grammar.

Well, in this post, I want to share my own experiences about how to build up your confidence in speaking English.

1. Talk to yourself in English. If there’s no one at your home or no friends to speak English to, you can try to speak English to yourself. You can do it in front of a bright shiny thing called mirror, but you can also do it anywhere and anytime. I have proven this method as the most effective method in building your confidence to speak English.

2. Mimic/imitate English native speakers speaking from movies, radios, televisions, etc. You can imitate the way the native speakers of English speaking; the intonation, the sentence stress, heck you can even get new vocabularies and idioms plus you’ll know how to make questions and express some expressions by watching/listening to those people. I can even learn to speak English in different accents (American, Black American, British, even French, Russian and Indian!) from movies!

3. Do not pay too much attention to your grammar. Most EFL learners got stuck in grammar when they try to speak English. I think you don’t really need to pay attention to your (perhaps) poor grammar. I mean, when you speak to English native speakers, they know that you’re not an English native. They know you are learning English, so they definitely will understand your situation and they won’t judge you.  So relax!

4. When you got stuck in vocabularies, you can use the synonym or the description of the vocabulary you want to say. For example, you don’t know the verb ‘resemble’, you can change it using the more common one ‘look like’.

5. Do not speak fast. If you still have a doubt that you’ll fail to speak, you may slow your speaking tempo down. If you speak fast and you’re stuck, people will notice that you’re stuck. So, speak slowly. By speaking slowly, you can also make a concept before saying it.

6. Do not over think what you’re going to say. If you over think what you’re going to say when someone talks to you, it will take time and your speaking partner will wait for you to respond. Be careful! They might think that you’re a retarded 😀 😀

So, that was some tips I could give you to build up your confidence to speak English based on my own experiences. I for one can’t speak English that fluently, but at least I’m confident to do it. I don’t know if I’m confident, or if I’m too confident??? =))

Tongue Twister Practice

In my opinion, the hardest part in teaching EFL is the pronunciation. Some of my students, a lot of them, can’t pronounce English consonants well. Let alone, Sundanese students have a difficulty in distinguishing the sound /p/ and /f/. They tend to pronounce both sounds the same. For instance, the phrase four pipes is sometimes pronounced either /fɒ: faifs/ or /pɒ: paips/.

I’ve tried to get them practice the /f/ and /p/ so many times, but I’m afraid my effort is useless. Hence, I told them to practice the English tongue twisters at home frequently hoping that one day, they’ll have better pronunciation. Here is some tongue twister practice I got from both other sources and my own thought.

Practice of /f/ and /p/: That fat Piper picked up five pipes and four flat plates
Practice of /ð/, /θ/, and /t/: They think that their teeth get thinner at times they want to taste think meat
Practice of /s/ and /ʃ/: She shall see the seashore so she can sing
Practice of /ʤ/ and /ʧ/: Joy to see your chin, jaw and cheek
Practice of /ʃ/ and /ʒ/: She has vision to share pleasure with Natasha

So, that’s some tongue twisters for all EFL learners to practice distinguishing the consonant sounds. I hope it’s useful.