Dec 20th 2018

How to Overcome the Fear of Speaking in Public

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Guest post written by Bob Williams.

 

Almost 25 percent of people face the need to conquer the fear of demonstrating their verbal pyrotechnics in front of others, be it in a lecture hall, a classroom, or a school lobby. Being able to offer ideas and deliver information in front of an audience is a very important skill. All students should work hard to master their communication skills to be able to achieve their educational and career goals.

While fear is a primal instinct that helps people navigate dangerous situations, it can also stand in the way of many students’ plans to succeed both academically and professionally. When scared, people fail to share their brilliant ideas, prove their statements, present effective solutions to important problems, etc.

There are many reasons why speakers struggle with fear. In this article, we will talk about how greatly our emotional dispositions, acts, and lines of thinking can change the amount of anxiety we face. Below, there are some steps to take to deal with the fear of performing in front of others.

Start With Small Discourses in Front of Your Family

Those who haven’t gained a solid experience in speaking publicly should start by preparing small speeches that are easier to deliver. Find your listeners and practice. Keep in mind that without much practice, you have few chances to become a good speaker, and a big talk should be preceded by a series of rehearsals.

Before performing in front of many, ask your family to pretend to be your auidence. When taking the floor, look into their eyes and try to establish a rapport  with them to calm yourself down. As soon as you increase your confidence, you can try participating in front of a bigger group.

Learn Your Topic Thoroughly

Nothing works better at reducing anxiety of taking the floor in front of a big audience than knowing your topic to a tee. Many students experience a strong feeling of fear if they lack subject knowledge. They are afraid of being confused in front of their teachers and peers.

Therefore, it is of a great importance to get ready for an upcoming event thoroughly; otherwise, there are high chances of getting confused during delivery. If you know what your talk is about, are able to answer any question related to your topic, then you will see your fear quickly disappearing as soon as you start your speech.

Avoid Overlearning

Developing strong speaking skills has nothing to do with memorizing the whole text word-for-word. When students are required to give a presentation, it is better for them to remember its key points backed up by some examples. You can order a Power-Point piece from Pro-Papers, or you can do it on your own and involve some visuals in your presentation, such as charts and images. These elements can be put to good use when you need to recollect the forgotten materials and provide your recipients with additional items to put their focus on.

Relax to Reduce Tension

It has been shown that speakers feel the strongest sense of anxiety the minute before they take the floor. To reduce stress, it is vital to relax. There are many methods, and if you know how to use them, you will be able to influence your breathing and heart rate, as well as relax your body.

Visualization of positive outcomes can help you to reduce your self-doubt and emotional stress in some ways. Bear in mind that keeping a positive outlook is crucial as, without it, it is easy to lose your train of thought.

Decide on Your Time Slot

Prior to your presentations it is usually pretty easy to arrange with your peers the order in which all of you will make speeches. While some students feel less fear when taking the floor first, others may feel less stressed when delivering a speech last. Take this into consideration when planning your performance.

Interact with Your Recipients

Don’t turn to monologue speeches. When taking the floor, try to interact with your recipients. Asking some queries can help you to entertain your recipients and eliminate boredom. Having your audience engaged will give you a chance to pull yourself together if something goes wrong.

Try concentrating on your talk and your recipients rather than the level of your anxiety. The more you worry about your emotional state, the more scared you will become. Thus, if you concentrate on your discourse and your listeners, you are more likely to interact with the latter and get them involved in what is going on the stage.

In conclusion, it makes no sense to avoid situations that scare you. Trying to avoid giving speeches can hamper developing strong speech habits. You will always stand in awe of taking the floor unless you do well at it. Thus, in order to fight your anxiety, don’t stop rehearsing. Use every chance to give a speech and consider it as another step towards boosting your verbal pyrotechnics and fighting your fear.

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Dec 13th 2018

5 Common Myths about Learning English

Guest post written by Mary Whitman.

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Some people are successful in learning the English language, others are not. There are many reasons for this, including motivation, time, and effort. But, the biggest factor of them all is the understanding of the learning process.

‘’To be a successful learner means to debunk the myths about learning English. If you believe in the untrue statements related to the learning of the English language, you won’t have the motivation and readiness to learn the language yourself. ‘’ – explains Bob Hylon, writer at AssignmentGeek.

There’s plenty of untrue, irrelevant, and bad information about language education. If your excuses for not learning English are related to the usual common myths, you need to bust through them and start to actually learn the language. A successful student possesses the motivation because they don’t believe in these myths.

To assist you in this endeavor and to help you speak fluent English, I am including a short list of the five most prevalent myths out there.

1.   You are too old to learn English

No, you are never too old to learn English. This is one of the biggest misconceptions, since no research supports such thinking. You don’t have to be a young learner to be a successful learner. In fact, some researchers found out that adults did better when they learned English in terms of pronunciation.

A neuroscience professor in Barcelona thinks that adults have the advantage when it comes to some specific aspects of the learning process, such as learning the vocabulary, which results from their wider knowledge of the vocabulary in their mother tongue.

Surely, there is research that proves the very opposite – that children master the learning process faster than adults. This might be truth in some sense, but the fact remains – you are never too old to learn English.

2.  You can only be fluent if you LIVE in an English speaking country

Untrue.

Getting immersed in a second language is truly the fastest and most efficient way to learn it. Living in a country where people speak the English language does make it easier, but you don’t necessarily have to live there to become fluent.

With technology, it is now possible to get virtually immersed in another culture and language. You can use technology to communicate with someone who is a native in the language or practice with other students.

Not only that. Practicing with a teacher, peers, or simply listening to people speaking the English language will help you improve your speech in the language.

3.  You cannot speak fluent English without a large vocabulary

It is only natural for a non-native speaker of the English language to not have the usage of a large vocabulary. However, considering that the English language is very large and still growing, not even native speakers possess enough vocabulary to state: I know English perfectly.

With this being said, you don’t need to have a perfect vocabulary to speak fluent English. In fact, most of the language used in conversation is repetitive. People tend to use the same couple hundreds of words on daily basis, even if their vocabulary is much bigger.

So, if you have a vocabulary of roughly one thousand words, you can get through a conversation without stumbling on each word phrase. This is something you can achieve in a period of two years or less.

The key to this is to start speaking the language as soon as you start learning. When it comes to learning a different language, practice makes perfect.

4.  Technology makes it pointless to start learning a second language

Or third, or forth.

No, this isn’t true. The use of Google Translate simply does not suffice. If you believe that apps can replace the human knowledge of a language, you cannot be more wrong. Learning a different language is never pointless.

If you approach this with the thinking: why would I learn another language when I can just open an app and make it translate everything for me, you will never learn the language. This myth is seriously flawed because technology cannot replace humans when it comes to knowing, speaking and translating a language.

No app is of such high quality as a human translation. In most cases, the results will be incorrect, confusing, or incomprehensible. You’ve surely heard of many instances where automated translation caused confusion and even problems.

Secondly, you might use technology to translate, but never to interpret. You won’t really be able to communicate face-to-face with a machine or app that replaces human knowledge of a language. Even if it could, what kind of conversation will it be if you have to talk through a voiceover?

And finally, there’s the fun and the fulfillment. If you use machines to replace learning the English language, where will you get the fun and fulfillment of learning it on your own?

5.  It takes a lot of time to learn the language

Learning English does not take forever. There is no such thing as a hard language if you truly want to learn it. Even at a slow pace, dedication can let you reach extremely high levels of proficiency within a short time-frame. The estimate for a pace of half an hour daily would range between four to five years of study.

But, there isn’t really a reason to debate the time necessary for you to learn the language. This will depend on your willingness to learn, the time you can spend on learning it, as well as the program. But, the fact remains that learning a language is nothing different from learning anything else, in the sense that if you want to learn it, it won’t take forever to do so.

It will take you a while and you will have to dedicate your time and efforts to this goal. Time will pass, but it will definitely not be too long or forever. Furthermore, seeing that this is a great language and universally used to communicate, learning it will be a great achievement for you, and a practical step to take.

Don’t let myths pull you back. If you want to learn English or any other language, there isn’t a good reason to stop you from doing so. Neither age, vocabulary, and definitely not time. The secret behind being a successful language student is motivation and understanding of the process. Naturally, this includes knowing of the myths and the real stories that debunk them. We hope that our article helped clear things up.

About author: Mary Whitman is a Master of Arts based in Adelaide, South Australia. At her odd moments, she is taking full advantage of creative writing and blogging.

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Dec 10th 2018

7 Proven Ways to Learn More English Words in a Week

Guest post written by Samantha R. Gilbert.

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Learning English is highly essential nowadays. According to studies conducted by Worldmeters, 1.5 out of 7.5 billion inhabitants the Earth speak English. English is one of the most prominant international, worldwide spoken languages, and the means of grasping new information. To immerse in today’s globalized world, you should develop an extensive knowledge of the English vocabulary.

Don’t worry! English is simple, fun, and easy to comprehend! If you want to enhance your English vocabulary, you should try using these seven methods we’ve provided for you.

  1. Keep a Vocabulary Journal

Studies at Science Direct have shown that keeping a vocabulary notebook to track your vocab acquisition is a highly useful tool to develop and helps to enhance the English learning process. Here are some quick tips on how to get started –

  • Buy a small notebook or journal.
  • Divide the newly acquired vocabulary into different groups – for instance, make clothing types one group, food another group, and English greetings your third group. Keep adding words to each group as soon as you encounter them.
  • Write down the meaning of each word. Then come up with a sentence that includes the newly acquired word.
  • Add as many words as you can to your list! Keep the notebook with you all the time and review the new terms.

Tip – leave enough space between words to have a clearer visual image and be able to add synonyms and antonyms later.

  1. Use the New Words Constantly

If you do not gradually integrate the new words into your vocabulary, chances are you’ll forget them. So, make sure to –

  • Conversate as much as possible, whenever possible, and with whomever possible
  • Reread your wordlist at least two or three times per week
  • Create a new list of the words that you have difficulties remembering and review it constantly

Tip – getting real-world exposure is one of the most efficient and fastest methods to acquire further English skills. Attend Meetups hosted by English-speaking individuals, search for conversation buddies online, or travel to an English-speaking country! Remember, practice makes perfect.

  1. Learn while Having Fun!

Another method to expand your vocabulary skills is to play online games in English. Here are the best ones that will serve you well –

  • Wordshake
  • FluentU
  • ESL Crossword Puzzles
  • Online Scrabble
  • League of Legends
  • VRChat
  • The Grammar of Doom

No matter what your interests are, you can always find an exciting online game for every one of your hobbies. Next time you feel like relaxing or taking a quick break from your studies, have some fun while playing English games.

  1. Use These Apps

You can find numerous educational apps that will help you develop your skills quickly. For instance, Duolingo is “an excellent English learning app that helps cover a lot of material for English learners of all levels and learn new words fast.” But there are others as well –

  • Memrise
  • Busuu
  • Qlango
  • Babbel
  • Rosetta Stone
  • LearnEnglish Grammar

Find the app that suits your interests best and try it out. You might be surprised by how quickly you’re going to master the English language.

  1. Use Dictionaries

Dictionaries are vital tools for any foreign-language student. They can help you find the adequate translation of a word or sentence you did not understand, check the spelling of different terms, check their plural or singular forms, find grammatical mistakes, look up collocations, or improve your pronunciation.

Know when to use the dictionary! Looking up every single new word you hear will be a waste of time, and you’ll end up exhausted and burnt out. Before searching for a term, make sure you have made the effort of initially guessing its meaning first. Then try using it in the context to see if it makes sense. If you figured out the pattern, there is no need to look it up in the dictionary. This practice will save you precious time.

  1. Start Writing

Write, write, write! Write as much as you can. Allow a considerable amount of time daily to practice this important skill. When we write things down, things start getting more explicit. We spell the words that we’ve learned, understand their roots and possible conjugations, and gain substantial knowledge – all at the same time. Besides that, we correct our grammar mistakes and fix our punctuation errors.

If you are uncertain on your writing abilities, you should have your work checked by a cheap essay service professional. Getting feedback is extremely valuable when working on your vocabulary enhancement.

  1. Read as Much as Possible

The more you read, the more material you discover. The more material you discover, the more words you can encounter. It’s as simple as that. Read as much as you can, whenever you can. However, be sure you –

  • Choose the right books for your level
  • Pick the authors that you are actually interested in
  • Use context to understand basic words and fragments before using the dictionary
  • Start with short stories or novels

Wrapping Up

Learning a new language can be difficult, but with the right resources and a proper mindset, nothing is impossible. To learn English vocabulary faster, remember to keep a vocab journal, use the new words regularly, play fun games online, try out educational apps, use dictionaries when it is the case, write and read as much as possible! Keep your head up and your motivation intact. You can do it! Good luck.

About author: Samantha R. Gilbert has been working as a journalist at an online-publishing agency in New York, USA for 2 years. She is also professional writing expert in such topics as blogging, modern art and education. Meet Samantha on Twitter.

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Nov 23rd 2018

Know Your Course: How English and Creative Writing Differ

Guest post written by Ammie Jackson.

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For those of you who loved to play around with words as a child, picking a favorite class in high school was a cakewalk, right? While all of you may have picked English as your favorite subject in high school, things shake up a bit when it is time for college. Sure, you may have enjoyed those literary appreciation classes in school. But would you take it up as a full-time course in college? Or would a course that focused more on enhancing your writing skills be more of your cup of tea?

That’s where creative writing courses figure in. While plenty of writing courses have a bit of English literature in their course modules, they mainly focus on the writing aspects and usage of the language in their curriculum. If you are puzzled about which course to pick for college, then read this post to gain a bit of insight into the primary differences between English and creative writing.

Creative writing courses sometimes include literature to encourage students to write better. Similarly, English majors also have courses on creative writing that unravels the practical aspects of the language for them. The following are the most significant aspects of English and creative writing courses. This post thus endeavors to shed light on the differences between the two.

 Structure of the courses

If you study English in college, you are more likely to have a semester style class with lessons taking place in large classrooms. The professors usually adopt a seminar teaching style and lectures are an integral part of your study routine. In the case of creative writing, however, classes focus more on two-way interaction between the students and the teacher. They centre around developing writing skills and fluency in the language, and encourage students’ to participate in group writing projects. Usually, they have shorter course durations than the ones taking up English. Creative writing courses also put emphasis on peer editing whereas English courses have fewer of those types of assignments.

Reading Lists

Naturally, reading lists also differs in these two disciplines. While English deals purely with the literary works of renowned writers and a compelling narrative of each, creative writing courses are a bit different. It is thus no wonder that both courses have students seeking assignment help from time to time simply because of the immense pressure of studies.

While students of English have high piles of readings that they need to finish by the end of the term, creative writing students have mounds of odd writing assignments they need to turn in by submission deadlines. English reading lists may consist of a few works of fiction, plays and prose pieces whereas creative writing consists of reading about proofreading practices and using the narrative development in a story.

 Research areas and focus

Those with a penchant for academics often venture into research after college. For the ones looking for such opportunities, here’s a heads up on both subjects so you can make a wise decision. You will find that most traditional English courses are rigid when it comes to research areas and presentation of your research paper. When delving deep into the academic nuances in English, you will be required to follow specific guidelines and use your intuitions to unearth novel aspects about the subject. In case of creative writing, you can venture a bit into the unconventional area and choose from a broader range of topics such as the use of rhetoric or the journey of a screenwriter for your research.

 Related disciplines

English, of course, has plenty of related disciplines such as linguistics and cultural studies. One can always take up any one of the aspects within the broad spectrum of literature and specialize on the same. It is more of an academia-driven course and has been a separate area of study from the 19th century itself. Creative writing is a more modern course, and offers plenty of options if you want to move to related disciplines later on. From journalism, editing and proofreading to fun courses like screenwriting, creative writing opens up a whole world to explore in terms of closely related subjects.

 Jobs and careers

The popular adage “the fruit did not fall too far from the tree” is what comes to mind the moment we talk about jobs and prospects in English and creative writing. Students of English who have a flair for writing can switch to lucrative and fun careers related to creative writing after graduation. Apart from that, in the future, they can pursue higher academics and take up the role of an educator or researcher.

Students of creative writing, on the other hand, have a slew of jobs to pick from after graduation in almost every industry. Starting from marketing and sales to creative industries, writers, having deft skills, are one of the most in-demand professions globally. From freelance writing jobs to lyricists for renowned music labels, creative writing students have more options to explore when it comes to the job market after graduating from college.

 Summing up

Pick carefully now that you know the main differences between English and creative writing. The pointers above will help you make an informed choice on what to study in the future. Choose the course that speaks to the inner language lover in you, and work towards achieving all your dreams and aspirations every day. While there are no shortcuts to success, having a roadmap to guide you along the way comes with immense help at times. Good luck with college!

About author:  Ammie Jackson, a senior web developer at a Melbourne-based software firm, offers customized assignment assistance through MyAssignmenthelp for students struggling with their academic tasks. She provides swift technical solutions for web designing and enjoys developing technical requirements for his international clients.

 

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Nov 15th 2018

No More Boring English Classes: 5 Ways to Make Studying Fun

Guest post written by Mary Ivanova.

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Learning a foreign language can feel like a mountain that you have been climbing for far too long with far too little progress to show for all that effort. Yet most of us realize that mastering a foreign language isn’t (and shouldn’t be) a Sisyphean task. Let’s see how we can turn our sweaty climb into a leisurely hike with a few simple tips that will definitely make studying fun again!

Remember kindergarten and all the fun we had spilling paint all over the paper, creating elaborate sand castles on the playground sandbox or building a lego tower that we didn’t care being tipped all the time? The reason that was so much fun was because we felt no pressure to learn and were given the freedom to explore.

The same process happens when, as adults, we pick up a hobby. We sort of aimlessly browse through the riches of knowledge in these new fields and pick and choose where we want to go. Since we are exploring and learning at our own pace, we are focusing on solving problems at hand and that helps tie in the knowledge we obtain with the actual activity. Our brain, which takes note of how useful these actiosn turned out to be, records these lessons more thoroughly.

Edutainment is not a new weird thing only your hip college professor is trying to make happen anymore. The word is now a firmly established notion, backed up by a number of studies. Here are some of the tips I picked up along the way both when learning English myself and while getting my psychology degree at a pedagogy-minded college.

  1. Turn it into a game

Gamification is all the rage right now. With the wide success of reward-based social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, etc.) and companies implementing internal gamified reward systems, left and right, for their employees, it’s no surprise that my first suggestion to make learning a foreign language fun is to turn it into a game.

You don’t even have to make up your own games. Buy and download cool lesson plans from the edupreneur portal Teachers Pay Teachers or just google something. If you feel like creating your own materials, use visual templates from Crello to create colorful cards or posters.

Speaking of templates, use them to do some classroom blogging. Turns out that’s an actual thing. Students get to apply their writing skills, learn, and, with all the gamification tools, followers, and shares built right in, you don’t even have to break a sweat setting the whole thing up.If you have any doubts about how motivating blogging for a handful of readers can truly be, take it from someone who blogged her way out of a pixie cut and into an almost waist-long mane (which, alas, is no more, but that’s beside the point) – it IS.

  1. Choose relevant and/or exciting topics

Most of us aren’t the biggest fans of using public transportation during rush hours, but have you noticed that when you absolutely have to be somewhere you don’t really notice how crowded or uncomfortable (or, let’s be honest, unsanitary) your ride is. You are so consumed by the result you are working towards, that all the little hardships along the way begin to feel way smaller than normal.

This works for language learning (or any type of learning, for that matter) as well. It’s pretty boring to repeat the same thing over and over again, just for the sake of, hopefully and eventually, getting it ingrained somewhere in your mind. However, not only does repetition become exciting when you are doing it for an exciting or important for you purpose, your brain is fast to realize that it needs to store this information, as it has proven to be useful.

Into celeb news? Read a gossip blog in English! Subscribe to your favorite English-speaking singers, actors or creators on Instagram or other social media. Find professional publications that publish materials from English speakers and cover all of your favorite topics. Look for communities and media that excite you and you won’t even notice how fast you’ll feel that much more confident in using the vocabulary you have acquired so far.

  1. Talk to people online

This one is sort of similar to the previous point. When you need to talk to someone, you are forced to use the language the two of you have in common. Reddit is a great place to start since it has a subreddit for nearly any topic imaginable, and you’ll be able to find a community that shares common interests with you and is very active. In most large subreddits you’ll get a few meaningful responses to most posts and questions within an hour.

A lot of people have voiced their fear of picking up mistakes from such unedited interactions. Not everyone, using English online, is a native speaker and even when they are, such messages can still be riddled with mistakes, lack of punctuation and slang. My answer is, invariably, that these messages reflect real language in its natural habitat, and helps a student get a ‘feel’ of how communication happens using all sets of rules and assists in utilizing vocabulary.

Furthermore, such informal settings help you relax and pay less attention to the embarrassing mistakes you are making. As long as you are bringing your point across, the other party, in the conversation, is generally just happy to have someone nice and interesting to talk to.

  1. Watch something

All the games, relevant topics and online conversations will only get you so far. To really perfect your English, watch movies, TV shows and programs created by native speakers. I religiously watch YouTube snippets released by late night hosts Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert, and Trevor Noah. Samantha Bee is another favorite.

Search YouTube for day time and late night shows that post videos online, subscribe to Netflix or Hulu, and definitely check out the free content Facebook Watch has been putting out lately. This year’s premiere Sorry for Your Loss is a very engaging half-hour drama starring Elizabeth Olsen, who is doing a great job with her role of a slowly unravelling grieving widow.

And don’t bother turning on the subtitles. Reading the text on the screen is not only extremely distracting, it just feels like work. Hit the play button, sit back and chill (only works if you are interested in the plot though, so don’t hope to just magically absorb the knowledge without even paying attention, if you know what I mean;)).

You can even host a movie night for your study group and make a cool poster for it.

  1. Read great English

This one is for all of you advanced students out there. Once you have a strong enough base to appreciate all the cool linguistic twists and turns masterfully written pieces have to offer, it’s time to start reading. I recommend The Guardian for news lovers, Celebitchy for gossip lovers, and The New Yorker for sharper think pieces.

Final thoughts

After you’ve considered and/or tried out all the learning solutions listed above, see which ones stick and, most importantly, don’t stop learning (and trying to make it fun) even if none of the tricks work for you.

 

About author: Mary Ivanova is a writer with degrees in psychology and political science. She writes copy for Crello.

 

 

 

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