In order to learn English, a student needs to do more than just read textbooks and memorize words and phrases. Of course, these reading tools are essential, but they do not cover other aspects of language like pronunciation and conversational understanding and fluency. There are a number of techniques and drills that one can use in order to improve pronunciation and fluency. They include simple but effective tasks like going over pronunciation with a fluent teacher and listening to prerecorded audio for correct pronunciation and intonation of basic words and phrases. Another listening drill is listening to recorded audio of longer segments of speech, like famous speeches. Finally, recording your own pronunciation and reviewing it can help you measure your own progress and help you become aware of your mistakes.
In addition to working on basic pronunciation, preparation can help with conversational fluency, the ability to understand and engage in a conversation in English. In order to learn English conversation skills, it’s a good idea to draft ahead of time some questions that you might want to ask that would yield responses that are within the range of your current understanding of English. Various websites online have prepared some examples of simple conversation questions that can help you start a basic conversation that is easy to understand. Reviewing these questions or your own questions and their possible responses aloud would help you be prepared for your next dinner out.
One last way to improve your listening and speaking skills in English is to harness your creativity, and some of your friends, to help you practice your new language. Creating a movie to improve your English is easy with a computer and an application like iMovie. Making a movie with your friends (in your new language) is great fun, and it makes learning a new language interesting and exciting. Plus, you can watch your movies after a few months or years and see how your pronunciation has improved, and, of course, laugh at some of your earlier mistakes.
However you decide you want to practice and review your new language, it’s important not to forget basic listening drills, especially when you are dealing with a language with treacherous spelling like English. Practicing your pronunciation will help you improve, and listening to your past mistakes will make for a good “laugh” (all those silent letters!) as you progress. Good luck!