Once after I decided my SALL goal, I tried to analyse the reasons why I am not speaking English very smoothly and fluently. The reasons are:
need more time to organize my ideas
hesitate during the speech because I cannot think of an appropriate word to say
not confident enough
After I spotted my weaknesses, I looked for ways to improve them one by one.
First, in order to gain more time to express my points in a better and clear way, I had written down some phrases that could act as buffers. Examples are ‘In fact, what I am trying to say is...’, ‘Frankly speaking, what I want to say is...’, ‘To make myself clear, it is important to say that...’ etc. I memorized all these phrases so that next time when I speak, I can use these phrases to earn me some time for organizing my points. After several trials, I found these phrases very useful! I will have enough time to convert my idea into a sentence with ...view middle of the document...
For example, I had a notebook named ‘adjectives describing people’. In this notebook, I recorded some words that describe people like ‘dubious’, ‘scornful’, ‘vicious’, ‘hospitable’ etc. What I originally believed was that I would be able to refer to the words in each notebook immediately when I cannot think of a suitable word to say. However, this is unfortunately not the case and I would review this learning method as a not very successful one. Basically I cannot use the words I learnt on the app when I am speaking. I think this is because I did not use these newly-learnt words very frequently and hence these words do not come up in my mind very often. Unquestionably, I did learn more new words, but I can seldom use these words and I still have quite a lot of hesitations when I speak. I felt a bit discouraged but still I had started working on the final aspect.
The final aspect that I had decided to work on is boosting my confidence in speaking English. I often feel nervous when I speak English because I am afraid of being laughed at and teased by others. To make myself more confident, I decided to observe how the native speakers speak by watching TED, which is a medium that allows different people to express their creative and insightful ideas and findings. I was deeply impressed by some of the speakers, especially in terms of their ways of speaking, how they elaborate on their points and their style of speaking. To be honest, at this stage I am only able to appreciate how good the speakers are, but I am not able to build up my own style of speaking. I believe it takes a long time for me to establish my own speaking style.
Reviewing my SALL experience, I would say at the beginning I was doing quite good. At least I had really insisted on executing my plan for two months! However, I lost my motivation to continue when assignments, lab reports, essays and presentations from different courses came all the way to visit me. I think what I also need is perseverance. I wish I did not give up my SALL plan that easily. Anyway, I am not sure if I would continue my SALL in the future but undoubtedly I did make some improvement on spoken English.