Use Tech to Teach and Talk

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Treasure every chance you get when you interact with a native speaker of English. Trust me. With enough exposure to native speakers, your speaking skills will improve remarkably.

I'm not saying you leave your country. You no longer have to do that. Anybody hoping to learn something new or relearn something acquired long ago has the Internet at their fingertips. True? 

Technology has indeed made the teaching and learning world flat. More and more people rely on the web to learn stuff nowadays. 

If you have access to the Internet, KakaoTalk, QQ, WeChat, and Skype conversations help a ton.

There's even a website called The Mixxer and an app called Hello Talk that allows you to connect to native speakers interested in your language who, in turn, can teach you English. 

You have almost everything you need to learn. You have access to an unlimited amount of information.

An online class is something I wish I had enjoyed. However, I want to set the record straight here, now. Most online schools require teachers to talk less so that students can speak more. I would say, "Dead wrong!"

Let your teacher speak as much. It should be 50/50. Listening is just as important as speaking. Do you like to talk? Good. But you should never forget the other half of the formula.

Besides, do not be too much dependent on somebody else to do things for you what you are supposed to be doing for yourself. There are things that only you can do and if you won't do them nothing is ever going to work.

When you're taking paid online classes, time is not on your side. Therefore, as much as possible, don't waste it bringing every little problem to the teacher. 

Almost everything you need to know about vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation can be found online for free.

Ask Google. Ask. Baidu. Ask Bing. If you're confused about a particular usage, let the search engines figure it out. 

They are intelligent machines. They know what you need though sometimes you misspell keywords, jumble the words, or type them in bad English.

Spend your class time talking about a topic of your choice. In my class, I usually employ what is called the QAQ method. It stands for Question Answer Question.

I let my student ask questions as well. For me, speaking is about question marks and periods. Thus, get good at both asking questions and making statements. You might ask, "Shall I work on my accent?"

Here's my take on this matter. I hate to say this, but the majority tend to underestimate people with a thick accent. 

With it, you can of course be understood. Interestingly, others jump into the absurd conclusion that people with a near-native accent are better which, in many cases, not true.

I know many people with a Valyrian accent who can get their point across better than those who try to sound like a native speaker. 

In addition, there will be people who will be more impressed with your fluency in speaking a second language than care about your accent.

However, accent is personal. If you want to do something about it, accent reduction courses exist. If you don't want to hire an accent coach like I did, there are plenty of free podcasts and videos out there to help you out. Devour them!

If your employer requires you to speak without a thick accent, go ahead get it fixed. If you prefer American accent, go for it. If you wish to sound British, Scottish, or Irish, you have my full support.

Most people in your circle might not be that supportive though. I have heard a couple of my friends say, "Hey, you don't have to sound American. Just sound neutral, Bro!"

There will be people who feel uncomfortable when you speak with either American, British, or whatever accent of your choice. 

Some of your friends will make fun of you. How would you feel when friends do not seem to be supportive?

Do you think you can pull it off sounding truly native? Or somehow, do you end up sounding like an idiot instead? Faking an accent will do you more harm than good. Careful.

In the first place, does accent truly matter? Yes, it does—only when it hinders communication. How do you speak English with your own unique accent? 

Do you speak clear and slow enough to get your point across? Do native speakers look confused? In my opinion, the reason you should learn English is nothing more than just being able to communicate. 

And as long as you are being understood when you speak, you are cool! End of the story.

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