This is a 6-week course which will help you improve your speaking skills.
The course is for young adults and adults whose English is at the A2 or B1 level according to the CEFR or at the pre intermediate - intermediate level.
Through 9 topics of the course (visible on the top of the page, below the blue strip), you, as learners, will familiarize first with the English-speaking environment, will get the links to high-quality resources to listen to people speaking English, and after that, you will be able to do different exercises and tasks to improve your fluency and accuracy, that is, to find right words easily and say them correctly.
The topics span across 6 weeks giving you time to develop and improve your speaking skill:
1 Different people speak differently - don’t get discouraged
You will watch video clips of people from different cultural backgrounds, speaking on different topics. You will answer some multiple choice or some open-end questions to check comprehension, that is, how much you have understood. The purpose of this topic is to demonstrate that we may speak in a different manner, but we can understand what people say.
2. The more you listen to, the better you will speak
It is important for you, as learners, to realize that exposure to the target language is vital as it offers the model for speaking in terms of pronunciation, intonation and vocabulary, that is, you can hear how words should be pronounced, you will hear how the voice of speakers go up or down and stresses different words in the sentences. You will also "pick up" the words and phrases of the English language ("pick up" a language means learning and remembering new words simply by frequently listening to them in context).
3. Be careful! Don’t imitate everything!
Though exposure to a language is good, you have to be careful and filter things you hear in films and songs, because the level of (in)formality is not always acceptable. Some words may be rude or vulgar and you may offend someone if you use them.
In this topic there is an activity to label chunks of phrases and dialogues with “to imitate” / “to avoid” in order to raise awareness of what are the appropriate models for speaking.
4. Study samples
This week there will be a lot of practical work. There will be 5 types of exercises, from easier to more complex, covering the variety of vocabulary that will help you define phrases useful in different situations.
5 . Sprinkle a few grammar rules
Using videos, links etc. some simple language rules are presented just to help you produce sentences as accurately as possible.
Exercise to check the understanding of rules, applying the pattern from Study samples (identifying context; answering multiple choice questions; filling the gaps with offered words and phrases etc.)
During weeks 3 to 6 there will be live sessions when the course participants will have the opportunity to talk to each other and use what they have learnt. No need to worry, there will always be a lot of support in the form of prompts and model sentences to help you speak.
6. Let’s put everything to practice
There will be four live sessions lasting for 90 minutes, during which the course participants will be organized in break out rooms and try to have a conversation supported by prepared scenarios (when divided in group, the course participants will have to provide 3 to 5 personal details, simulate ordering food, buying a technical gadget etc.) The minimum number of sessions for this week is two, though it is highly recommendable for the participants to attend as many sessions as possible.
Weeks 4 and 5
7. On your marks! Get set! GO!
The course participants select a digital tool they like and make audio recordings. Click here for instructions how to do that.
You will often need to record yourself and send in the recordings so the course instructor can give you feedback on your progress and provide suggestions how to go on. Don't worry if you don't like making video recordings of yourselves, the audio will be fine.
The first task is to comment and report on the activity you liked best in the topic 6 Let’s put everything to practice. As a part of the task, you share the link in the discussion forum and invite other participants to comment and share their views. Given the goal of the course, you are required to provide audio/video and audio recording with your comments and thoughts.
The second task is to choose a topic among the offered ones and record what you can say about it - the audio should be a minute or two long.
You are required to select at least two audio recordings (created by other course participants) on different topics and comment on them, again making an audio file and embedding it in the discussion forum. Click here for instructions on how to do that.
The task is to choose a topic according to your preferences, not listed in the course, and make a short presentation, lasting between 2 and 5 minutes.
Let's do the opposite. Go back to the topic you selected earlier. Put yourselves in someone else's shoes (that is behave as someone else) and criticize the idea with all possible arguments.
Defend a role you get in a live session. The role is assigned to you ( you do not choose it yourselves) and whether you like it or not, you have to be positive and express good things about that role.
Criticize the idea you are assigned to. The idea is assigned to you to criticize it ( you do not choose it yourselves) and whether you like it or not, you have to be negative and provide arguments for that.
8. Play it again Sam!
You have to join at least two out of four live sessions lasting for 90 minutes, during which you are organized in break out rooms and try to maintain conversation using prompts (present yourselves when joining the group - 3 to 5 personal details, simulate ordering food, buying a technical gadget etc.). It is not déjà vu - you had the similar task in week 3, topic 6. Let’s put everything to practice, but this time you will have the chance to speak more independently, trying to rely on fewer prompts and be more proud of your achievements!
Some of the activities from topic 7 are revisited but with new tasks and new vocabulary.
9. All’s well that ends well!
Activities to “measure” advance.
Audio/video presentations on 3 different topics chosen by participants, lasting up to 2 - 3 minutes, comments of other cohort members required.
Participants’ feedback - through a questionnaire on the course and effectiveness of activities - written or oral feedback are allowed.
The certificate of completion is issued to all participants who have completed 80% tasks successfully. You can download and display it on social media.Click here to learn about grading.
Keeping an eye on your progress
To help you monitor your progress, you will have a completion progress bar on the right-hand side of the screen and access to your grades (more info how to access the completion progress bar and your grades at this link).
Badges for your hard work and achievements
Your successful work and advance will be rewarded with badges when you complete the tasks described in different topics of the course. (more info how to learn about the tasks and badges at this link).
Support forums and reaching for the course instructor
When we learn, we may face some challenges and difficulties. Then, these concerns can be explained in the support forums or be sent as a private message to the course instructor. (more info how to access the support forums or send private messages).You are encouraged to share your concerns in the support forum, as in that way other course participants, who have the same issues, can benefit from the explanation. Each topic has a support forum where you can express your concerns.
Speak up, don't keep quite when dealing with a problem
Because this is a course for boosting speaking skill, you are encouraged to make an audio recording describing the problem and post it in the support forum, but if you prefer, you can also write about the problem. Because of different time-zones, please allow for 24 hours before you receive the answer.
Recommended study time
Study time is highly individual, but recommeded time you should spend on the course per week should not be shorter than 4 to 8 hours per week, preferably divided in sessions of minimum 30 minutes in one go. You will be more efficient if you define a part of the day to devote some time to studying on a regular basis, let say, three times a week up to 90 minutes, than doing a lot of things in the course of one extremely long study session. Getting better at speaking will happen gradually, through frequent practice. Patience and time are needed to build confidence in oral performance. But if you are determined, follow the advice provided in different topics, and do the tasks as planned, the advance is guaranteed.
The course team wishes you success!