Talk to Yourself

by M. Altansuvd
Marijaviin Altansuvd is a Russian and English teacher at the Hovd State University.

English is an international language, and the number of people using and learning English is increasing day by day.  English is thought to be the most significant foreign language in Mongolia.  These days, the percentage of people learning English in Mongolia is increasing very fast, which shows the desire of Mongolians for development both nationally and personally.

Once people choose to learn a language, they must devote all their energy to learning it very well.  Listening, speaking, reading and writing are the four most important skills in learning a language.  So learners must try to develop these four skills in themselves.

Today I am glad to share my opinions and experiences on developing speaking skills with you all.  Speaking skills are not only developed by training in the classroom.  The learner ought to make it his or her basic principle to study the language every day in his or her life and to work consciously each day on improving.

In my opinion, the main way to develop one’s speaking is to communicate with native speakers as often as possible.  If you can do this, your speaking skills will develop very quickly, as my own experience has shown me.  Having a friendship with my American teachers really helped me to learn this language, and I am still continuously doing this.  Based on my own experience, I would like to advise all learners to talk to native speakers or people who use English well as their second language.  However, there is the question of how we can practice speaking when we are alone or without any native speakers.  Many people would recommend that you learn songs and watch TV in English.  Of course, these are very helpful, but I want to offer you a different idea, writing compositions.

You can write different kinds of compositions on different topics, memorize them, and repeat the compositions to yourself.  It really works!  Thanks to memorizing the compositions, common expressions which are used in almost every composition become yours to use freely.  Each time you write a composition, you will find yourself using the expressions with less and less difficulty.  After writing and memorizing several compositions, you will be able to use the common phrases and expressions easily when you meet a native speaker.

During the speech, you should pay attention to your speaking tempo. The faster you speak, the higher your language skills will be developed.  So when you are saying your compositions to yourself, you should time yourself and try to improve with each retelling.

The topics of the compositions can be very simple, such as “My Close Friend,” “My Childhood,” “My Childhood Friend,” etc.  For students, the topic choice will depend on the students’ level.  On the first day of a lesson, the students write compositions.  They use their dictionaries a lot.  I help them if they ask me.  When they finish writing their compositions, I check them.  After that, students memorize their compositions at home. After making five compositions, students choose a topic randomly and talk about it in front of the other students and the teacher. The speech should last three to four minutes. All students who are listening to the speech must take notes, because they have to evaluate each other after listening to the speech.  Note taking also improves their listening and speaking skills.

Recording the speeches and replaying them are also very good ways to improve pronunciation and listening skills.

Thus, we learn a very special thing.  We need to pay more attention to the resources we already have and to use what we have already learned rather than always looking for another big thing.  So don’t waste your valuable time and energy.  Start developing yourselves, and build on the language skills that you already have.