Today’s video is for students who feel uncomfortable speaking English, and because of this, forget their words. I will describe the problem of feeling uncomfortable when speaking English, and I will also give you some tips for overcoming this problem.
Feeling uncomfortable when speaking English as a second language is a common problem. In fact, it’s the reason that many of my students decide to improve their English speaking skills with me.
What it Feels Like when you Forget your Words
When you feel uncomfortable speaking English, your mind can go blank causing you to forget what you want to say. It feels like there is an empty space in your head, and you can’t remember any words for what seems like a long time. In reality, a mind blank can last for 2 seconds or 20 seconds, but inside your head, it feels much longer.
Students Who Forget their Words Avoid Speaking English
When something makes us feel uncomfortable, a way of coping is to avoid the thing that makes us feel this way. For this reason, students who experience uncomfortable mind blanks often avoid situations where they can practise their English. They instead choose to stay silent or say very little in situations where English is being spoken, which only makes the problem worse.
Students Make their Problem Worse
The uncomfortable feeling that accompanies speaking English is so unpleasant that students seek to solve the problem by learning more English (learning more vocabulary or grammar etc.). This seems logical, but in fact, it is the wrong approach and can even make the problem of mind blanks get worse.
The way to solve the problem of mind blanks is in fact to go in the opposite direction by practising one’s speaking skills more. It does not involve more concentration or thinking. But rather, you need to get more physical by speaking more. This is why repeat-after-me practice is extremely useful for students who experience the problem of mind blanks when speaking English.
Tips for Remembering Your Words when Speaking English
- Avoid putting yourself in stressful situations that are beyond your level of skill speaking English. To do so will result in stress and overwhelm that causes mind blanks.
- Practise your English speaking skills in a supportive environment.
- Relax your body before a situation in which you will need to speak English. When your body is relaxed, you can remember your words much more easily. One way to do this is by exercising beforehand.
- Do lots of repeat-after-me English speaking skills practice.
- Know that the problem of feeling uncomfortable when speaking English can’t be solved by learning more vocabulary, improving your grammar or even by passing an exam.
- When having a conversation in English, don’t cause extra stress by overthinking your grammar or pronunciation.
Extend Your Learning
◼️ Watch my video on How Perfectionism Causes Mind Blanks when Speaking English.
◼️ Learn about learning styles and How Introverts Learn English Differently to Extroverts.
◼️ Watch my video on how to stop your mind going blank when giving a presentation.
Professional English: 12 Words You Pronounce Incorrectly.
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