You are studying English because you want to be fluent. You want to be able to speak fluently. So, in order to have English fluency, you read this blog (and probably others), watch YouTube videos, follow Instagram accounts and Facebook profiles, and you watch TV or movies, in addition to a lot of other activities. Right?
But what are all of those activities doing? What are you trying to achieve exactly?
What is English fluency?
It’s important for you to identify what English fluency is because if you do that, you have more clearly defined your goal. And it’s very (very) important for you to set a goal in English so you have direction in your studies, motivation to continue, and measurable results that you can check to review your progress.
So let’s talk a little bit about English fluency.
In today’s lesson you are going to learn:
- how to more clearly define “English fluency”
- about some realistic goals you can set
- a few activities you can do to achieve these goals
What is English Fluency?
According to the Learner’s dictionary, “fluency” is defined as the ability to speak a foreign language easily and effectively. However, many of my students also want to write more effectively, for jobs or university, or be able to listen to native speakers and understand what is being said. Some learners desire accent reduction and improving pronunciation, while others don’t think their accent has an important impact on their overall fluency.
So it’s clear that “English fluency” can vary significantly from learner to learner. The words “easily” and “effectively” are also very subjective, which means that it’s based more on opinion rather than fact. What may be easy for me is not easy for you, and different for someone else reading this lesson.
In order to answer the question, “what is English fluency?”, you need to first identify what English fluency means to you.
When will you know that you are “fluent” in English? When will you feel that you’ve reached “fluency”?
The moment that you identify the answers to those 2 questions above, you will be closer to reaching success because you will have identified what your goals are. Then, when you identify your goals, you can start taking more effective, direct, and beneficial steps toward that goal.
What are Realistic Goals?
Hopefully, you’ve realized by now that “to be fluent in English” is not a good or realistic goal to have for English. To summarize what I wrote above, “to be fluent” is not a good goal because it is not specific, it’s not clear, and it doesn’t give you a strong enough direction for your studying.
Remember that you want to try and answer these two questions:
- When will you know that you’re “fluent” in English?
- When will you feel that you’ve reached “fluency”?
The answers to those questions will be your goals. For example, maybe you said that you know you will be fluent in English when you can get a 27 on the TOEFL’s speaking section. Or maybe you’ll feel that you’ve reached fluency when you’re able to watch an entire 2-hour movie without subtitles. Both of those things (a 27 on the TOEFL and watching a movie with no subtitles) are measurable, realistic goals. Those are results that you can measure, that you can work towards, and that you can try to achieve with actionable steps.
What makes a goal realistic?
A realistic goal is one that you can achieve, and it’s important to understand yourself and limitations. Here are some common (and realistic) goals for English learners:
- a strong understanding of the questions in a job interview and the ability to confidently answer them
- being able to go to the grocery store in an English speaking country and speak with the cashier confidently (and understand what is said)
- learn 10 new phrasal verbs a month and remember how to use them in a future conversation spontaneously
- read at the average adult speed (300 words per minute)
- perfect the ending -ED sounds in American English and minimize your accent
How can you achieve these goals?
Once you have a realistic goal (or realistic goals) decided, you can start setting yourself up for success to achieve these goals. Think about what you want to achieve and how you can get there. Speaking very generally, if you want to speak, you need to be speaking. If you want to understand more of what you listen to, you need to do more listening practice. If you want to increase your reading speed, then you need to be reading more.
Try and think (in English) and say out loud why you are doing a particular English activity and how it’s going to help you reach your goal.
For example, “Right now I am reading Jennifer’s English lesson because it’s going to help with my reading and listening skills and it will help me improve skills for everyday English use. These everyday English skills will help with conversational abilities and to be more successful in a job interview.”
By doing this, you will always be thinking about your goal and working to achieve it, and you’ll only be doing things that can help you get there! This means you’re less likely to be wasting time doing things that won’t help you.
As an English teacher, I create materials to help learners achieve a variety of goals. Here are some of my top activities and resource recommendations to help you achieve some general English goals, and some of the goals I’ve mentioned above.
If you want to improve your listening skills:
- YouTube videos: you can subscribe to my channel here and review hundreds of English lessons.
- There are hundreds of great YouTube channels as well that I am sure you are already subscribed to. Find other channels by searching for a topic that interests you
- Podcasts: do you know that I release a new podcast episode with my British friend and co-host, Dan? Listen to English Across the Pond every week on iTunes, stitcher, or our website: www.englishacrossthepond.com
If you want to improve your reading skills:
- This website: www.readingsoft.com talks about reading speed and even has a test you can take to assess your level
- Read more blogs in English, written by English speakers about topics that interest you!
You can review this article here (<–click*) about ways to practice your speaking skills, and get an activity for every day of the week! I recommend using the search bar on the right-hand side of this website page to find grammar topics to practice and improve your grammar. You can also search “vocabulary” in that search bar to find English resources and lessons to improve your vocabulary skills.
Do you want to improve even faster?
I’ve just given you a lot of resources to help you work on your English goals. Will these materials help you? Yes, of course – that’s why I created them!
However, as you see, there are a lot of different websites you need to go to, different resources and videos you have to search for, and it takes time to review all of this information. If you need to improve your English faster, for a job interview, or to finish your university application, or because you’re moving to an English speaking country, then I recommend investing in learning material and signing up for a course or training program that will provide what you need in one place.
If you invest in high-quality English material, then you know you will get professional English education to help you reach your goals faster.
When you invest in high-quality English training programs, then you know you will save time and conveniently get all of the resources you need in one place. This will help you improve faster. This will also give you more support in your English journey.
If you need to improve your English faster, and if you need to have more confident English for a job, university, or to move abroad then I want to share my training programs with you.
English Outside the Box Training Programs & Courses
This club will help you speak more natural English because it helps you learn phrasal verbs, idioms, natural English expressions, and helps you learn how to use them in context so you can remember them in your later conversations. You also get American English pronunciation lessons with audios and videos + more. This is a monthly membership, and you will get resources every week, with a new topic/theme every month! The Conversation Club will also help you:
- improve conversation skills every week with a conversation partner
- gain confidence with speaking in our 6 monthly group conversation lessons
- improve everyday English skills every week with video, audio, PDFs, and other materials
- speak more naturally with focused pronunciation training
So join the club if you need to improve your speaking and conversation skills, gain more confidence in your English use, learn more natural English expressions for work, university, or life abroad, improve vocabulary with more phrasal verbs, improve your American English pronunciation, and review grammar in context. You can join the club here: courses.englishoutsidethebox.com/p/phrasalverbs
Se você fala português, eu posso te ajudar com sua pronúncia de inglês. Este curso é diferente, porque é ensinado por mim, Jennifer, uma falante nativa de inglês e também fluente em português. Eu tenho total confiança para explicar os princípios de uma pronúncia perfeita e eu vou te ajudar a entender por que você comete erros comuns. Vocé vai aprender:
- os erros comuns
- como falar inglês mais natural
Você pode inscrevar-se aqui: courses.englishoutsidethebox.com/p/pronuncia-ingles
This self-study e-course (online digitial course) will help you speak better English for everyday use and conversations. You’re going to learn the most important grammar tenses, how they’re used naturally, and why they’re important. The course will also help you:
- review the American accent and practice pronunciation
- improve listening skills with natural conversations and practice exercises
- increase confidence of grammar use for your professional or academic English needs
Sign up for this course if you want a self-study e-course that you can have access to forever! Sign up here: https://courses.englishoutsidethebox.com/p/everyday-english-grammar/
Check my website and the LEARN ENGLISH tab for updates information on courses and training opportunities.
Whatever your English goals are, and whatever you need to achieve in English, I am here to help you!
Let me know if you have any questions, but now it’s time to practice!
Comment below with what your actionable goals are and how you are going to achieve them? Are you going to enroll in one of my training programs? Which program or course would help you achieve your goal?