Many students wonder what it is that they should do to improve their spoken English. My answer to this problem is that it is a matter of both what and how.
First, what is "communication"?
Theoretically, the elements of communication are: The senders, the messages and the recipients. In everyday life, the most typical scene for communication is that the speaker and the listener take turns to listen and speak to each other.
What are the sensible beliefs concerning the development oral English?
There is a big difference between oral English and written English.
Take stress as an example. In context, we stress words for grammatical and emotional reasons. Stressed words are the key to excellent pronunciation and understanding of spoken English. Concentrate on the stressed words rather than giving equal importance to each syllable. Pronouncing every word correctly leads to poor pronunciation! Good pronunciation comes from stressing the right words - this is because English is a time-stressed language.
Remember: Non-stressed words and syllables are often 'swallowed' in English. Always focus on pronouncing stressed words well and non-stressed words can be glided over. Don't focus on pronouncing each word. Focus on the stressed words in each sentence.
Listening goes hand in hand with speaking.
Practice: At the same time, keep it in your mind that it is guided practice that makes a difference, if not perfect.
What are the criteria for oral English?
Second, how to improve oral English. Whatever difficulties you have -- pronunciation, fluency, vocabulary or grammar among them --- you can improve your oral English by following the tips and steps below.
Listen to a lot of high quality spoken English. You will need a lot of listening to improve, so commit to listening for an hour or more every day.
Take reading aloud more seriously. Have someone proficient read aloud to you, if possible. A storybook or a newspaper article will do. Watch how they move their lips while pronouncing certain words. Or listen to the recordings carefully enough and focus on how something is said naturally and expressively instead of what is said only.
Start Speaking. Try out your spoken English on anyone who will be able to respond to you. Don't be afraid of making mistakes. Pairing up with a friend to finish all the tasks orally will be of much help for you.
Record yourself. Listen to your voice with a critical and sharp ear and catch your pronunciation mistakes. Make a deliberate effort to avoid them.
Look for opportunities to use English, for example to chat with people, give speeches and presentations.