How I work on my spoken English

It gets easier.
Every day, it gets a little easier.
But you gotta do it every day.
That’s the hard part.
But it does get easier.

Jogging Baboon from BoJack Horseman

Getting better at any skill requires an effort and deliberate practice. It doesn’t matter if it is programming or spoken English which I am trying to improve right now.

When I was learning Ruby and Rails, I had my daily rituals. I practised every day and it paid off. In a little bit more than a year I went from zero to the point where I was accepted to Toptal and I found my first fully remote programming job. That was really awesome!

Nowadays I am trying to improve my spoken English. I want to make a Ruby on Rails screencast. But I am not a native English speaker and therefore there are some hurdles which I need to overcome. I want to reduce my accent. I want to be easy to understand. I don’t want to sound annoying and I want to be more confident when I speak English.

Few weeks ago I wasn’t sure what to do. But finally, I found a system which I can use everyday.

Rachel’s English Academy

There is a ton of English pronunciation videos on YouTube. After watching them for a few weeks I’ve decided to stick with Rachel’s English. But, she has a lot of videos and it can be hard to decide where to start. Fortunately, she recently started Rachel’s English Academy and I immediately joined it. Now I have access to all the videos and exercises, but more importantly also to a system which I can follow. I use it to practise daily for 30-60 minutes.

Cambridge Dictionary

I’ve found it only two weeks ago and it was a game changer. I used to use Google to find a correct pronunciation of English words, but it wasn’t working very well. Cambridge Dictionary is much better. It is like day and night.

Cambridge Dictionary contains audio examples with UK and US pronunciation of all words. But that’s not all. There are separate audio examples for each form of a word. I can hear pronunciation of a verb form and also pronunciation of a noun form. This is really awesome. If I am not sure about some word then I lookup it here.

Reading loudly

From time to time when I read an English text I try to read it loudly. Then, I can immediately identify the words which are causing me troubles and I can lookup them in the above mentioned Cambridge Dictionary. I do the same when I am trying to record a screencast.

English lector

And last, but not least I found an English lector. He is a native speaker and has background in theatre. I meet with him on a weekly basis. Although, we met only three times yet, I feel more confident when I speak English than I felt before.

Conclusion

That’s it. This is what I use now. But this doesn’t apply to everyone, because everyone has different needs. I used a completely different system when I was trying to improve my English vocabulary few years ago.

If you want to get better in any skill, then find a system which suits and deliberately practise every day! If you want to improve as a programmer, then stay tuned, because I plan to write about it, too.

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