Why Do Student Feel Shy To Speak English? – Our Guide
Learning a new language enough to speak it out loud isn’t an easy job, whether you are a student or an adult, but why are some students more scared than others to speak English?
Some students who are learning English might be scared to speak in public due to foreign language anxiety, they are likely scared to fail or mispronounce words in front of their peers or strangers.
Down below, we’ve put together a great guide which will explain why students might be scared of speaking English, steps to overcoming the fear of speaking English in public and tips for improving spoken English and public speaking.
Why Are Students Scared Of Speaking English In Public?
As we mentioned above, most students are scared of speaking English in public mostly due to fear of failure and pronunciation mistakes, even if their language skills are great.
This is the same for any foreign language, not just English and is known as foreign language anxiety.
We’ve listed some reasons below as to why students are scared of speaking English in public.
- They can’t express their ideas – When you are speaking a foreign language you can sometimes feel like it takes you 5 minutes to explain or express an idea which would take just one minute in your language.
- Embarrassed of pronunciation/accent – Some students might be scared to speak in the English language because of their accent or fear they will pronounce key phrases wrong.
- You think people are laughing at you – As a young person, you might be worried about what your peers or people around you will think when you speak English.
Steps To Overcome Fear Of Speaking English In Public
No matter the language you learn, getting over your fear of speaking in language learning can be difficult for all of us, luckily, if you can push through you will be on your way to speaking like native speakers in no time.
We’ve listed the essential tips for overcoming your fear of speaking in public below.
Step One – Understand Why You’re Scared
The first step to improving your English speaking is understanding why you’re scared, to begin with.
Most of the time this is because people are shy about grammar mistakes or anxious about what people think of them, once you can figure out why you are scared you can work on rationalising your fear and treating it as just a ‘thought’.
Step Two – Zone In The Issue
Figure out what your problem is with English speaking, is it forming sentences? Thinking about your response? Or taking too much time to formulate what you’re saying.
Some students also have problems pronouncing common phrases which can be solved by taking time and practising pronunciation.
Step Three – Listen Well
Listening to TV shows and radio in English can help you understand how English is spoken, and pay attention to foreign sounds and pronunciation.
It should be noted that listening alone however will not improve English skills, it can be much harder to understand spoken English in real life.
Step Four – Allow Mistakes & Smile
Making mistakes can be frustrating when learning and speaking a language, it’s important to let go of the need for perfection when talking and always give a smile when talking to native speakers!
Step Five – Have One-One Conversations
Trying to practice your English in a group setting is not as ideal as speaking to someone one on one, this is because in a group people tend to talk very fast. Try not to think about what you are going to say too much when conversing and go with the flow!
Step Six – Set The Speed
It can be very hard to keep up with native speakers when talking, we suggest starting the convo and setting the speed, speaking slowly and clearly, the person you are talking to is then likely to talk back at this speed.
Step Seven – Practice
Practice all the time! Have everyday conversations in English, whether you’re ordering a coffee or complaining about traffic, the more you talk the language in all life situations the better you will learn it!
Tips For Improving Spoken English
Now you’ve followed all the steps for getting over your fear of speaking English, let’s move on to some tips for improving your spoken English.
- Get a tutor – Why not try some online tutoring to improve your English, this can be a great way to have 1-1 conversations with someone without getting embarrassed.
- Use technology – There are so many language learning apps you can use to improve your English, you can even have a conversation with Siri.
- Focus on phrases, not words – Rather than learn singular words in English try to learn phrases, this is also known as sentence mining, for example, learn this morning I am going to rather than just this morning.
- Read – Read stories out loud in English to practice words and phrases, this can help you to get into a flow when talking in English.
- Think in English – Try thinking to yourself in English to familiarise yourself with the language.
Tips For Better Public Speaking
Now we know how to speak better English and we’ve gained some confidence, let’s now tackle public speaking, which all people get anxious about no matter the language you speak.
- Manage your nerves – Keep your nerves in check, be mindful and use positive visualisation.
- Pause – Allow yourself to pause and breathe when talking so that you can think about what you’re going to say next, it also makes you seem more relaxed.
- Speak slow – Speaking too fast can show that you’re nervous and will make you more likely to make mistakes when talking, instead slow yourself down.
- Have confident body language – Confident body language can help you feel better when talking, some points to note could be; to keep eye contact, use gestures, and move around.
- Involve humour – Humor can take the edge off speaking a foreign language in public and make it fun, people will be focusing more on what you’re saying rather than how you’re saying it.
Frequently Asked Questions About Students & Nerves About English Speaking
What is English anxiety?
English anxiety in simple terms is when someone is scared to speak English due to a lack of confidence, this can stop them from language learning.
How can I train my brain to think in English?
Watching television, talking to yourself and using phrases can help your brain to think in English.
Is English difficult to learn?
English can be hard to learn due to the broken grammar rules and spelling/pronunciation irregularities, it is also based on a character system which some might not be familiar with.
What are some signs of speech anxiety?
Some signs of anxiety when talking a language could be shaking, sweating, dry mouth and a fast heartbeat.
Why do I stutter when speaking English?
People can often stutter when speaking English due to nerves or stress, foreign bilingual students often stutter when speaking English.
How do I learn English fast?
To learn English fast you need to be very motivated, practicing speaking English all the time is important as well as grouping phrases and finding similarities to help your brain make quick associations.
Overall, students are often afraid to speak English in public due to the fear of failure or being judged for getting words wrong. To improve speaking English in public you can try getting a tutor to improve poor language skills and practice speaking as a shy person.
A Wife, a mum and a Tutor! I am the Lead Editor at TheTutor.Link & also the Head Tutor there. I love teaching seeing young minds flourish. I also love blogging and sharing my experience on the world wide web.