Speak with Confidence: Tips for Improving Your English Speaking Skills

As an English teacher, I often hear my students express their struggles with confidence when it comes to speaking in English. It's a common issue that many language learners face, and it can be frustrating and discouraging. However, the good news is that there are several strategies and techniques that can help you to build your confidence and improve your English speaking skills.

Practice, practice, practice

The key to improving your English speaking skills is to practise as much as possible. Make a conscious effort to speak English as often as you can, even if it's just with yourself or with a language exchange partner. The more you practise, the more comfortable you will become with the language and the more confident you will feel.

meme speaking english in my mind vs when I speak funny

Surround yourself with English

One effective way to improve your confidence in speaking English is to surround yourself with the language as much as possible. Listen to English music, watch English films or TV shows, and read English books or articles. The more exposure you have to the language, the more natural it will feel to you, and the more confident you will become.

Focus on fluency, not perfection

Many language learners put too much pressure on themselves to be perfect when speaking English, which can lead to a lack of confidence and fluency. It's important to remember that fluency is more important than perfection. Don't worry about making mistakes or sounding awkward. Instead, focus on communicating your message clearly and effectively.

practise speaking English whenever you have a chance to boost your confidence

Use positive affirmations

Positive affirmations can be a powerful tool for building confidence in speaking English. Before speaking, take a few deep breaths and repeat positive affirmations to yourself, such as "I am a confident English speaker" or "I can communicate effectively in English." This can help to calm your nerves and boost your confidence.

Set achievable goals

Whenever I teach a new class, I like to start with a little chat to get to know my students better. And, of course, I always ask them what their goals are for learning English. Almost every time I ask questions such as "What are your objectives in learning English?" or "What do you hope to achieve by the end of this level?" I often receive responses like "I want to speak fluently" or "I want to speak like a native speaker". 

While it's great to aim high, it's also important to be realistic about how much time and effort it takes to achieve these goals. Do you think it's possible to speak as fluently as a native speaker if you only study 3 hours/week for 5 months? 

Setting achievable goals can be a great way to build your confidence and motivation when learning English. Break down your language learning journey into small, manageable steps, and celebrate your progress along the way. This will help you to stay motivated and confident as you work towards your goals.

Seek feedback and correction

Getting feedback and correction from a teacher or language exchange partner can be incredibly helpful for improving your English speaking skills. Don't be afraid to ask for feedback on your pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary. This will help you to identify areas for improvement and work on them to become a more confident English speaker.

Embrace your mistakes

Finally, it's important to remember that making mistakes is a natural part of learning any new language. Don't be too hard on yourself when you make mistakes or struggle to find the right words. Instead, embrace your mistakes as opportunities to learn and improve. The more you practise and make mistakes, the more comfortable you will become with the language and the more confident you will feel.

learn from you mistakes to improve your English


In conclusion, gaining confidence in speaking English is a journey that requires patience and dedication. It is important to remember that everyone has to start somewhere and that progress can only be made through consistent practice and exposure to the language. Along the way, it is crucial to give yourself positive affirmations and set achievable goals. Also, don't be afraid to make mistakes, as they are a natural part of the learning process. As a teacher, I am here to support and guide my students through their language learning journey. So, let's work together and approach this challenge with confidence and determination!

How about you? Have you got other strategies to boost your confidence in speaking English?

Feeling the Pressure: How a Student's Comment Forced Me to Rethink My IELTS Lesson Plan

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As an English teacher, it's always disheartening to hear a student say that they feel unmotivated and unproductive in class. Recently, I had an experience that left me feeling particularly shocked and disappointed. During a substitute teaching session for an IELTS class, one of my students expressed that he didn't feel motivated or like he was gaining anything from the course.

How a Student's Comment Forced Me to Rethink My IELTS Lesson Plan

This feedback hit me hard. As a teacher, I take great pride in designing lessons that are engaging, interactive, and effective. So, hearing that one of my students wasn't feeling the benefits of the course was a major blow. Even though I wasn't the main teacher for that class, I realized that I needed to change my approach and try some new tactics to reignite my student's motivation and help him feel more invested in the learning process.

The first step I took was to talk to the student to find out exactly why he was feeling unmotivated. I asked him questions about what he was hoping to gain from the course, what specific areas he was struggling with, and how he preferred to learn. Through this conversation, I was able to gain some valuable insight into what was causing his lack of motivation.

One of the biggest issues that emerged from our conversation was that the student felt like the lessons were too focused on theory and not enough on practical application. He was looking for opportunities to put his knowledge into practice and see how the concepts he was learning applied to real-life situations. This feedback was incredibly helpful as it gave me a clear direction for how to adjust my teaching style.

With this in mind, I decided to change my approach in class from the typical ESA (Engage, Study, Activate) to TTT (Test-Teach-Test). Firstly, I gave him a writing task 1 question to complete within 20 minutes. After he finished, we went through his response together and used the IELTS Writing Task 1 Band Descriptor to check his work. This approach helped him to see where he was going wrong and understand what he needed to do to improve.

You can download IELTS Writing Task 1 Band Descriptor here

We continued this practical approach in the speaking section of the IELTS test. Instead of just discussing the criteria and band descriptors, we put them into action. The students had a role-play situation where they took turns playing the IELTS examiner and candidate, asking and answering questions. During this activity, I asked them to record their responses using Vocaroo and send me the link. This allowed me to listen to their responses at a later time and give them specific feedback on their pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary.

Read more about why I love using Vocaroo in IELTS speaking activities.

practical application of IELTS Speaking section in the classroom

By incorporating more practical application and hands-on activities into the lessons, I was able to help the student feel more engaged and motivated. He began to see the practical benefits of what he was learning and how he could apply his new knowledge to real-life situations. It was an incredibly rewarding experience to see the student's confidence and motivation grow throughout the course.

I also made sure to provide regular feedback and encouragement to the student. By acknowledging his progress and praising his efforts, I was able to boost his confidence and keep him motivated to continue learning. I also made myself available outside of class hours to answer any questions or concerns he had, which helped to build trust and foster a stronger sense of community within the class.

feedback I gave to my students for their IELTS writing task and speaking responses

In the end, the changes I made had a positive impact on the student's motivation and performance. He began to actively participate in class and show a genuine interest in the material. By taking the time to understand his needs and adjust my teaching style accordingly, I was able to help him see the practical benefits of the course and feel more invested in the learning process. 

teachers need to be flexible to change the lesson plan if necessary

This experience taught me a valuable lesson about the importance of being flexible and adaptable as a teacher. Every student is different and has their own unique needs and learning styles. By taking the time to understand these needs and adjust our approach accordingly, we can create a more engaging and effective learning experience for everyone.

Have you ever faced a situation where a student expressed a lack of motivation or progress in your class? How did you handle it? What changes did you make to improve their learning experience? Share your experiences and insights in the comments below.

Ace Your ESL Speaking Lessons: Strategies for Teaching Indonesian Students


Teaching ESL speaking can be a challenging task, especially for students who are not familiar with the language. As an English teacher in Indonesia, I have come across several methods and strategies that have proven to be effective in helping my students improve their speaking skills. In this article, I will share some tips and tricks that you can use to teach ESL speaking effectively to your Indonesian students.

ace your esl speaking lesson strategies for teaching indonesian students

Focus on Pronunciation

One of the biggest challenges that Indonesian students face when learning English is pronunciation. As an English teacher, it is important to focus on pronunciation right from the beginning. Make sure your students are familiar with the basic sounds of English and how they differ from Indonesian. You can also use tongue twisters and other pronunciation exercises to help your students practice their pronunciation.

focus on pronunciation to improve student speaking skills

Provide a Supportive Learning Environment

Creating a supportive learning environment is crucial when teaching ESL speaking. As an English teacher, it is your responsibility to make your students feel comfortable and safe while speaking English. Encourage your students to speak up and participate in class discussions. Also, provide constructive feedback and praise their efforts to boost their confidence.

provide supportive learning environment so students feel confident

Use Authentic Materials

Using authentic materials such as news articles, videos, and podcasts can help your students improve their speaking skills. When I was taking CELTA, I had to complete a written assignment where I had to design a lesson using authentic materials. It was an eye-opening experience to see how much we can create and develop from such resources.

Authentic materials provide your students with real-world examples of English in use and help them develop their vocabulary and comprehension skills. You can also use role-playing exercises and other interactive activities to make the learning experience more engaging.

Incorporate Technology

Incorporating technology into your ESL speaking lessons can be an effective way to engage your Indonesian students. You can use tools such as online quizzes, interactive whiteboards, and video conferencing software to create an interactive learning experience. This can also be a great way to connect with students who may not have access to traditional classroom settings.

I've experimented with a handful of online quiz websites in my classes such as Baamboozle, Kahoot, Quizziz, and Wordwall. These websites offer engaging and effective activities for students, and I've noticed that even adults have fun participating in them. When it comes to interactive whiteboards, Jamboard has my vote for being the simplest and most user-friendly option. Stay tuned for my upcoming post where I'll delve deeper into incorporating technology in teaching.

Emphasize Vocabulary

Vocabulary plays a key role in developing speaking skills. As an English teacher, it is important to emphasize vocabulary in your ESL speaking lessons. You can use flashcards, word games, and other vocabulary-building exercises to help your students develop their vocabulary skills. It is also important to encourage your students to use new vocabulary in their speaking practice.

emphasize vocabulary to improve student's fluency and coherence in speaking English

Encourage Speaking Practice Outside of Class

Encouraging your students to practice their speaking skills outside of class can be an effective way to improve their skills. You can provide your students with conversation prompts and encourage them to practice with their peers or native speakers. You can also recommend English language podcasts, movies, and TV shows for them to watch.

Provide Opportunities for Feedback

Providing opportunities for feedback is crucial when teaching ESL speaking. Feedback helps your students understand their strengths and weaknesses and provides them with the guidance they need to improve their speaking skills. You can provide feedback through one-on-one sessions, peer evaluations, or self-evaluations.


In conclusion, teaching ESL speaking to Indonesian students requires patience, dedication, and creativity. By focusing on pronunciation, creating a supportive learning environment, using authentic materials, incorporating technology, emphasizing vocabulary, encouraging speaking practice outside of class, and providing opportunities for feedback, you can help your students improve their speaking skills and achieve their language goals. Remember, the key is to make the learning experience fun and engaging for your students. 

What about you? Have you given any of these tips a shot? Do you happen to have other useful strategies for teaching speaking effectively? Why not share your thoughts in the comment section below?

Innovative Tools for IELTS Speaking Practice and Assessment - Great for teachers and students!

As an IELTS teacher, I am always on the lookout for innovative tools and resources to help my students improve their speaking skills. Two websites that have become indispensable to me are Vocaroo.com and Transkriptor.com. These websites allow me to provide my students with creative and engaging speaking tasks, and also make it easier for me to assess their performance.

innovative tools for ielts speaking practice and assessment


vocaroo free online voice recording service

Vocaroo.com is a website that allows users to record and share audio messages. It is a simple and user-friendly tool that does not require any registration or login. The website is completely free and does not limit the length or number of recordings. To use Vocaroo.com, students simply need to click on the 'record' button and start speaking. They can then share their recordings via a unique link, which can be sent via email, chat, or social media.

Vocaroo.com is an ideal tool for speaking practice, as it allows students to focus solely on their speaking skills without any distractions. It is particularly useful for practising fluency and pronunciation, as students can listen to their own recordings and identify areas that need improvement. I often use Vocaroo.com to provide my students with speaking prompts, such as describing a picture, discussing a current event, or giving an opinion on a controversial issue. By recording their responses, students can develop their speaking skills in a way that is both interactive and personalised.


transkriptor free online audio to text converter

Another website that I frequently use in my IELTS classes is Transkriptor.com. This website is designed to transcribe audio recordings into text, which makes it an excellent tool for assessing students' speaking skills. To use Transkriptor.com, students simply need to upload their Vocaroo.com recordings to the website. The website then uses speech recognition software to transcribe the recording into text.

Transkriptor makes it easy to edit IELTS student responses, including natural pauses and hesitations.

Transkriptor.com is an invaluable tool for assessing students' speaking skills, as it allows me to identify areas where they may be struggling. For example, I can use Transkriptor.com to analyse students' use of grammar and vocabulary, as well as their ability to organise their ideas coherently. By providing detailed feedback on their speaking performance, I can help my students to improve their overall band score in the IELTS exam.

Why using these two sites? 

One of the advantages of using these two websites together is that they provide a seamless and integrated learning experience. Students can use Vocaroo.com to practise their speaking skills and then upload their recordings to Transkriptor.com for assessment. By receiving personalised feedback on their performance, students can identify areas that need improvement and work towards achieving their desired band score.

In addition to their practical applications, Vocaroo.com and Transkriptor.com are also fun and engaging tools that can make learning more enjoyable. Students often find the experience of recording their own voice and hearing it played back to be an interesting and engaging way to develop their speaking skills. The ability to share their recordings with classmates or friends can also provide a sense of community and support, which can be particularly valuable for learners who may be studying on their own.


In conclusion, Vocaroo.com and Transkriptor.com are two websites that have become essential tools for me as an IELTS teacher. By providing a platform for speaking practice and assessment, these websites have helped me to create a more engaging and interactive learning experience for my students. I would highly recommend these websites to any teacher or student who is looking for an innovative and effective way to improve their speaking skills.

Have you tried these two websites? Do you know other innovative tools for teaching IELTS? Let's share in the comment box. 

Fun and Games: Enhancing ESL Learning with Board Games

Are you tired of boring grammar lessons and tedious vocabulary drills in your English class? Want to shake things up and make learning English more fun and engaging? Look no further than board games! Yes, you heard it right – board games can be an excellent tool for learning English in a fun and interactive way.

enhancing ESL learning with board games

Benefits of using board games

So, what makes board games so great for English language learners? Let's dive in and explore some of the benefits of using board games in the ESL classroom.

Build student's vocabulary

First and foremost, board games are a fantastic way to build vocabulary. Many board games involve using specific words and phrases, giving learners the opportunity to learn new vocabulary in context. Whether it's a game about traveling, cooking, or solving mysteries, board games can expose learners to new words and help them remember them through repeated use.

Practice conversation skills

Board games also provide a unique opportunity to practice conversation skills. Many board games involve players interacting with each other through dialogue and negotiation, allowing learners to practice expressing their ideas and opinions in English. This can be especially helpful for learners who may be hesitant to speak up in a classroom setting.

Develop student's critical thinking skills

Another benefit of using board games is that they can help learners develop their critical thinking skills. Many board games require players to strategize and problem-solve, giving learners the opportunity to practice thinking critically in English. Games that involve logic and deduction, such as Clue or Settlers of Catan, can be particularly helpful in this regard.

Build teamwork and social skills

Board games can also be a great way to build teamwork and social skills. Many board games involve players working together towards a common goal, allowing learners to practice communication and collaboration in English. Games such as Pandemic or Forbidden Island require players to work together to overcome obstacles, which can be a great way to build camaraderie among learners.

Fun, fun, fun!

Finally, board games are simply a lot of fun! By incorporating games into the ESL classroom, learners can enjoy themselves while still improving their English skills. This can help to reduce stress and make learning English feel less like a chore and more like a fun activity.

Ways to use board games in ESL classrooms

So, how can you incorporate board games into your ESL classroom? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Vocabulary Games: 

Choose a board game that incorporates vocabulary relevant to your learners, such as Scrabble or Boggle. Encourage learners to use the words they learn in the game in conversation afterwards.

vocabulary games in ESL classrooms

Conversation Games: 

Choose a board game that involves lots of conversation and interaction between players, such as Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity. Encourage learners to express their opinions and ideas in English during the game.

Critical Thinking Games: 

Choose a board game that requires players to think critically and strategize, such as Cluedo or The Game of Life. Encourage learners to explain their thought process in English as they play the game.

developing critical thinking skills in ESL classrooms with board games

Teamwork Games: 

Choose a board game that requires players to work together towards a common goal, such as Pandemic or Saboteur. Encourage learners to communicate and collaborate in English as they play the game.


In conclusion, board games can be a fun and effective tool for learning English in the ESL classroom. By incorporating games into your lessons, you can help learners build vocabulary, practice conversation skills, develop critical thinking skills, build teamwork and social skills, and most importantly, have fun! So, why not give it a try and level up your English learning with board games?

From ABC to Fluency: Navigating the Obstacles of Teaching English to Young Learners

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Teaching English to children is a fulfilling experience that can come with many challenges. Whether it's language barriers, attention spans, pronunciation, cultural differences, or limited vocabulary, teachers must find ways to help young learners overcome these obstacles. This article will discuss some practical strategies that can help teachers create a supportive and effective learning environment for their students.

navigating the obstacles of teaching english to young learners

As an ESL teacher who has had the opportunity to teach children of all ages, I have come to realize that teaching children is not just about imparting knowledge, but also about building relationships and creating a safe and nurturing learning environment. Reflecting on my years of experience, I've identified a number of challenges that arise when teaching children, along with several strategies to effectively address them.

Language Barriers 

Language barriers can be a significant challenge when teaching English to children. However, teachers can help children overcome this obstacle using visual aids and hands-on activities. Flashcards, picture books, and other visual aids can help children associate new vocabulary with images, making it easier for them to remember and use in conversation.

Attention Span 

Young learners have a short attention span, making it challenging to retain information and learn new concepts. Teachers can combine fun and interactive activities into their lessons to keep children engaged and interested. Singing songs, playing games, and doing crafts can help children stay focused while learning new vocabulary and grammar. 

fun and engaging activities in children classes


Pronunciation can be a hurdle for young learners when learning English. To help children improve their pronunciation, teachers can use tongue twisters and other pronunciation exercises. It is also essential for teachers to model correct pronunciation and encourage children to repeat words and phrases until they feel comfortable saying them correctly. 

challenges in teaching english to children

Cultural Differences

Cultural differences can make teaching English to children more challenging. Teachers should be aware of cultural differences and adjust their teaching styles accordingly. Teachers can create a more inclusive and effective learning environment by understanding and respecting these cultural differences. 

As a clear illustration, in Indonesia, it is customary for teachers to be addressed by their first name rather than their last. As a case in point, my students refer to me as Miss Tya, rather than Miss Arifin. This practice is a unique aspect of Indonesian culture. 

As an ESL teacher working with children in Indonesia, I make a concerted effort to introduce my students to the appropriate use of English honorifics such as Mr., Mrs., Ms., and Dr. By doing so, I aim to equip my students with the language skills necessary to navigate diverse cultural contexts, ensuring they are well-prepared to communicate effectively in English-speaking environments beyond the classroom.

Limited Vocabulary

Limited vocabulary can hinder children's ability to express themselves in English. To help children expand their vocabulary, teachers can introduce new words and phrases into their lessons. Introducing a new word daily and encouraging children to use it in a sentence can help them build their vocabulary over time.


As a teacher, I am constantly learning and adapting my approach to ensure that my students are not just mastering English, but also developing a love for learning that will stay with them for years to come.

In conclusion, teaching children is both challenging and rewarding. Teachers must overcome language barriers, attention spans, pronunciation, cultural differences, and limited vocabulary to create an effective learning environment. It requires a great deal of patience, creativity, and flexibility, but seeing their progress and growth makes it all worthwhile. 

How to be an ESL/EFL Teacher

So you want to know how to be an ESL/EFL teacher? Well, it is not as difficult as you might think. Nowadays, you don't need to have a degree in education to teach, especially if you plan to teach in non-formal schools.

how to be an ESL teacher
However, you have to complete a teacher training course before jumping into teaching. Some of the most popular English teacher training programmes are CELTA and TESOL. In addition to that, you may also have to spend some supervised classroom time. Most importantly, you will need to have a passion for teaching and the desire to learn more about the subject.

Passion for teaching is essential

To become an English teacher, you'll need to have a passion for teaching, especially if you are a non-native English speaker.

Education has always been in my family, with my father being a university lecturer and my mum as a preschool teacher. So it's almost like second nature for me to be a teacher. Despite that, passion still needs to be nurtured. We will go through this in the next paragraphs.

Read a lot!

Reading is an essential skill. You'll need to have a good grasp of grammar and the rules of style. However, if you already have excellent reading comprehension, you can start teaching English right away. Fortunately, there are several ways to prepare for these challenges and become a successful teacher. If you're passionate about the subject, you'll have to put in the necessary time to develop your teaching skills.

Moreover, there are a lot of great books dedicated to teaching English. Here are some highly recommended books you can read:
  • Learning Teaching by Jim Scrivener
  • Penny Ur's 100 Teaching Tips by Penny Ur
  • The Practice of English Language Teaching by Jeremy Harmer
  • Sound Foundation: Learning and Teaching Pronunciation by Adrian Underhill
  • Teaching English Grammar by Jim Scrivener
  • How to teach series from Pearson-Longman (there are around 8 books in this series).
  • Resource Books for Teachers series from Oxford (most of the books are great for teaching young learners).
Some books I mentioned here are books you have to read if you are preparing to take CELTA. Although the language has developed and we can find resources on the internet, I personally still read these books to refresh my knowledge.

Train yourself

If you want to teach in formal schools, of course, you need to have a degree in English education. However, having a degree in English education is not imperative if you plan to teach English in a non-formal language school. If you're looking to advance your career in English education, you can pursue an MEd or MAT.

Obtaining an advanced degree will enhance your chances of a better job and a higher salary. In addition, you'll be able to pursue niche roles like literacy specialists or even school principals. Master's level courses are the easiest way to fulfil continuing education requirements.

Don't feel discouraged if you haven't got your master's degree (I haven't!). You can train yourself to be an English teacher by taking a teaching licence.

Learn the language thoroughly

As an English teacher, you'll need to know how to read and write in the language. This is the most important aspect of teaching English. The language requires extensive knowledge and understanding of grammar rules and how to enforce them. Having a thorough understanding of these rules will help you in your job. You'll also need to balance individual student needs and participation in the classroom. This is why it's important to have a bachelor's degree in English or a teaching certificate.

Develop your interpersonal skills

Being a good English teacher is important. You should be able to communicate well with your students. You should be able to use technology to your advantage. In addition to that, you should have a good sense of humour. It'll make the work easier and help you build a rapport with your students.

My favourite ways to build a good rapport with my students are by having communicative activities such as playing games and having discussions. Being a mother of 3 kids, of course I don't have much time to prepare my own games (although I do create some whenever I have free time). That's why I was grateful when I bumped into Twinkl.

Twinkl is a site dedicated to educators that provides resources for children from 0 to 18. You can find various resources from different curricula in Twinkl. Besides English, Twinkl also provides resources for other subjects, such as Geography, Math, and Science.

Here are my to-go resources from Twinkl.

Remember that being a good English teacher requires a clear understanding of grammar and vocabulary. You'll need to communicate with your students and provide feedback on their work.

Consider taking licence to teach

You'll also need a teaching licence to teach English in other countries. You can choose to teach in Indonesia if you're a native English speaker from an English-speaking country. If you have a bachelor's degree, you can be an English teacher and teach at any school. In most cases, the program requires a one-year commitment to prepare you to become a professional in your field.


The bottom line is if you want to start a career as an ESL/EFL teacher, make sure you have the passion. Having some training on how to teach will also help you be a successful teacher.  

So, are you ready?