Speaking English is kind of like writing an essay. Why is speaking in English like writing an essay? That is what this lesson is all about! When I was an undergraduate, I studied at an art university. I studied Fine Art and I specialised in oil painting.
Now, Fine Art students don’t get many essays to write. And when they do, they complain about it! “I’m an art student, I only want to learn to paint! Why do I have to write essays?”, They’ll say. And me? Yeah, me too! Every time we had an essay to write, I would complain and I would say the same things.
However, unlike my classmates, when we were given an essay to write I would start writing straightaway. They? They would leave it to the last minute. But no, I would start writing straightaway.
Now, you may think, “Wow! What a good student. You didn’t leave it to the last minute.
You started writing immediately, straightaway.” But, no, you’d be wrong. You see, the reason I started writing straightaway is simply that I wanted to get the essay finished and done and out of the way really quickly. So, I would head straight to the library. I would get to the library and I would sit down at the computer and I would start to type.
But it was painful! I didn’t know what to say. I would force myself to write. But the words, they just wouldn’t flow. Eventually, I would finish the essay. It would take the whole day and it will be really difficult but I would finish.
Do you think I ever got good grades for those essays? No, of course I didn’t because those essays were terrible! Then one day, something happened. We were given an essay to write and the topic of the essay was something that I was really interested in. This time, I didn’t start to write immediately.
Instead, I went to the library and I started to read books. I read many books and many things on this topic. And then I realized I still had to write the essay.
So I went to the computer and I sat down to write. But this time, it wasn’t painful, it wasn’t difficult. The words just flowed through my fingers into the keyboard.
I finished the essay really quickly. I handed it in and you know what, I got a really good grade for that essay. The problem with the first essays that I wrote was that I had skipped the initial reading stage. I was trying to output something that I knew nothing about! So of course, it was painful.
I had nothing to say. However, with the essay that I was interested in, I spent a lot of time reading first. I put a lot of information about that topic in here. So when it came time to write the essay, I had many things to talk about. So, it wasn’t painful.
It flowed smoothly. So if you ever have trouble speaking English and you’re finding it hard to find the words and things to talk about, try doing the same. Just stop, stop worrying about speaking English and about practicing your speaking and go and read some books.
Read books about things that you are interested in. Read magazines, read anything, watch t.v. Read and listen to British stories. Listen to the radio, listen to podcasts. It doesn’t matter, anything that you’re interested in. Do all those things in English.
Put a lot of information and topics in your head so when it comes time to speak English and have a conversation, you will have much information to draw from, many topics to talk about and you will find the conversation will flow much more smoothly. And also like writing, you will also find that the topics you are really interested in are the topics you will use again and again and again. The more you talk about those things, the smoother you will become and the easier and more automatic that it will become.
And that is why speaking English is just like writing an essay. So that is it for today’s lesson. So my question for you is this, “have you ever had a similar experience? Or time when you just didn’t know what to talk about?” If you have, tell us all about it in the comment below this video and I will see you in the next lesson.
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