How Can I Improve My Speaking Part 2

How Can I Improve My Speaking Part 2

by Mark Feeley

 

 

Hi everyone, and welcome to the instructor blog! I hope your studies at AGOS are going well.

I’m Mark, and in my previous blog, I discussed the importance of using a wider range of tenses, and how this can help you to achieve higher scores in the IELTS speaking tests. In this blog, I provided an example of a good Speaking Part 2 answer. The reason why this answer was better is that the speaker has added more background details to the talk, which has given them an opportunity to use a wider range of grammar (marked in bold in the example). This includes:

 

Relative Clauses

–‘which is my smartphone’.

 

Present Perfect

–‘listen to the latest tunes I’ve downloaded’.

 

Past Perfect

――’I’d wanted to buy…’.

–‘I’d sat down…’.

 

Past Perfect Continuous

–‘I’d been standing…’.

 

Past Modal Verbs

–could

 

Conditional Tenses

–If I didn’t have a smartphone, I wouldn’t know what I’d do to pass the time.’

 

When you are taking the IELTS speaking test, therefore, try to use a wider range of tenses. A lot of students however, ask me how they can improve their speaking. In this blog, I will give you some ideas of activities that you can do outside of the classroom to help you improve the range and accuracy of the tenses you use when you are speaking:

 

–Writing

To help improve your ability to use different tenses, practice writing sentences using verb tenses such as the Past Continuous, Past Perfect and Conditionals. This will help you to become more confident when you use these tenses.

In addition, try to write a regular diary about your daily life. When you are writing your diary, try to use a variety of tenses.

 

–Recording your speaking

In addition, try recording your speaking when you are answering questions, and try to use some of the verb tenses. After you have finished, listen to your speaking and make a note of the tenses that you have used. Then, record yourself speaking again and try to improve.

When you listen to the recording of your speaking, you can also write down exactly what you said. This will give you extra listening practice, and provide an opportunity for you to examine more closely the accuracy of the grammar that you have used. In particular Develop a bank of answers so you can detect your common errors such as `missing articles, prepositions’ or the` s’on plural nouns’.

 

–Ask a classmate or friend to help you

You can also ask a classmate or a friend to listen to the recordings, as they may be able to notice mistakes that you can’t.

Alternatively, try to describe a picture to your friend and see if they recreate it. Tell a story to your classmate and see how many details they can remember!

 

–Don’t be afraid to take risks

One final piece of advice is to come out of your comfort zone, and don’t be afraid to take risks. Even if you do make mistakes, simply trying to use a wider range of grammar can help you to achieve a higher score.

 

I hope you find this useful. Good luck with your studies at AGOS!

‘Coffee Chat’ Event – Speed Chatting: a great chance to practice speaking – by Mike Thundercliffe

Hi everyone, Mike here. I hope you’re not suffering too much from the summer heat, and found some time to relax during obon!

On August 06, we had our first student ‘coffee chat’ event based on the concept of ‘speed chatting’. This was a free event, and was designed to give Agos students some extra speaking practice in a relaxed environment. It was great to see everyone chatting confidently and having fun, and the teachers enjoyed it too!

What’s ‘speed chatting’?

Basically, the speed chatting format allows students to speak as much as possible, and to work with different students and teachers. It went like this:

  • We had three groups of four/five students, each with a native speaker teacher in the group (me, Danny Robinson and Jim Giguere joined this event).
  • A question (similar to TOEFL Independent Task 1 and 2, or IELTS Part 1 questions) was put up on the screen.
  • First of all, the students had a chance to listen to the teacher answering the question.
  • Then, each student spoke in turn.
  • After each student spoke, the teacher gave some detailed feedback.
  • Each student had the opportunity to talk about the same topic twice.
  • Then we mixed everyone up into new groups, and changed the topic.
  • We had tea, coffee and snacks throughout the two-hour event.

What did the students think?

Here’s some of the feedback from the participants:

  • “It was very helpful to get lots of feedback, and there were a lot of chances to listen as well. It was a very productive time!”
  • “It was a good chance to practice as I don’t have much opportunity to speak to native English speakers and get feedback.”
  • “This session helped me to find some things I didn’t know about, such as linking words and phrases together.”
  • “It was great! I hope this event takes place more frequently. The open, relaxed environment enabled me to join the conversation, and it helped me to build up my confidence.”
  • “By having this opportunity to speak casually, I was pleased that I could find my weakness. Now I know what I need to study more.”

 

 

Are we going to do it again?

Definitely! We are going to run the event on Friday 08 September at 19:00-21:00. The event is open to anyone who has already taken or is currently studying on a TOEFL Speaking Strategy/23 Toppa course, or IELTS Speaking Core/Advanced course. The maximum number of participants will be 16, so please register soon if you’re planning to attend. You can do that here:

Hope to see you there!

Mike