5 WAYS FOR EFL LEARNERS TO IMPROVE EFL FLUENCY

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Fluency when speaking is the ability to speak smoothly without effort and without any loss of coherence. In other words, when you speak fluently you speak as if you don’t need to think about how you want to say something before you say it. Fluency is a sure sign of a speaker having a high level of a particular language. As such, improving EFL fluency is something for our EFL students to strive for and for us teachers to help them work towards.

Here are five ways to encourage students in improving EFL fluency:

1.         Improving EFL fluency by speaking slowly

This may sound counter-intuitive but speaking quickly does not equate to speaking fluently. Speaking quickly even in your own language will result in inaccuracies in your language production. Native speakers usually speak quite calmly and deliberately, only speeding up when they are angry or excited. Speaking slowly won’t make your learners sound like a Beginner and it might actually make them sound more natural.

2.         Forget about language

Again this might sound like strange advice but when you think about it, it makes total sense. Constantly thinking about using the correct grammatical structure or what would be a good word to use in a particular sentence will of course slow you down when you speak. In order to be fluent, learners need to speak naturally, whatever that may sound like at their level. Their grammar and vocabulary will improve over time and with practice.

3.         Practise speaking

Learners can get stuck in a rut of learning English from a coursebook or focusing on a grammar reference book or learning vocabulary through an app. These are commendable activities to be done in their spare time but they should not take the place of real communication. Our learners need to seek out opportunities for speaking English, preferably with native speakers or learners with higher levels of English. This will help them feel more comfortable speaking English which in turn will improve their fluency.

4.         Use it or lose it

Just as our learners need to practise speaking at every opportunity they get, so they need to use whatever language they have learnt or else it will be forgotten. The theory of spaced repetition shows us how easy it is to forget vocabulary that has just been learnt, and the same can be said for grammar. It’s very easy for our learners to communicate with the language they already know, but they need to push themselves to make use of any new language they have learnt.

5.         Change your attitude

It’s amazing how something as simple as your mindset can change the way you perform a task. If your learners can change their attitude from thinking of themselves as English learners to thinking of themselves as English speakers, they should see a natural shift in the ease with which they speak the language.

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