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Are you afraid of speaking English?

5 ways the CONVERSATION LOUNGE will help build your confidence ...

Do you suffer from xenoglossophobia?

Apparently, that’s the official scientific term for feeling nervous about studying a second language.

And although the term can be applied to any of the four skills of speaking, reading, writing or listening, research has shown that students most commonly pick out speaking and listening as the activities that cause them most anxiety.

The first thing to stress is that you’re not alone.

Millions of language learners around the world feel exactly like you do. As a language learner, I personally feel that no-one can really say they are “free of the phobia” – we all get nervous!

Switching into a second language in a large group, or when you suddenly and unexpectedly need to confront a new situation with people and using specific terms you don’t know, is a challenge for every language speaker. I can recall many times when I have frozen and even now, after years of living with an Anglo-Italian family and speaking Italian, I find myself conveniently leaving more challenging conversations in Italy to my wife! Lazy man.

Fear of Mistakes – the big barrier

I’ve also read that foreign language anxiety is situation-specific and so it can affect individuals who are not usually anxious. My own Dad is a great example.

In spite of being a successful, confident businessman who had travelled the world, Dad never really had the dedication or confidence to learn and speak a second language.

On one hand, he was certainly a busy man, but on the other hand, when I remember how much we used to tease him when he made mistakes when ordering food during our holidays in France, it is no surprise he didn’t want to speak. I remember one time he ordered a plate of ties instead of a plate of prawns, after confusing the words “cravates” and “crevettes” – the family laughed, and my Dad lost his language confidence.

And that’s the point about the CONVERSATION LOUNGE – we are language learners ourselves, so we understand that the key to getting you to speak is to make sure you feel as relaxed as possible.

Don’t worry, we won’t treat you like I treated my Dad!

The CONVERSATION LOUNGE – making you feel relaxed

Here are five things we do to take away the nerves, creating an environment where you feel relaxed and confident to talk:

1. Communication is key – mistakes don’t matter

We stress to all our students that the aim of each Conversation Lounge is for them to express their opinion, and it’s ok to make mistakes. We prioritise the discussion, then leave any grammatical feedback to the end of the session so it doesn’t interrupt your flow.

2. You are not in a classroom

One of the things that makes students nervous is the feeling that they are in a classroom, so during each Conversation Lounge we create the feeling of a relaxed conversation with friends rather than doing lots of teaching.

During the Conversation Lounge the teacher is a facilitator, helping the conversation to flow, focussing any corrections on pronunciation, intonation and helping you sound as English and natural as possible.

3. Prepare the vocabulary for your situation

Not knowing specific terms that are relevant to a topic can be stressful, so we send out all the key vocabulary for the conversation in the days before – so you can refer to it during the discussion.

4. Have fun

We aim to get you enjoying yourself in a social atmosphere, so use lots of fun games and role play to stimulate conversation.

We also do everything we can to ensure we choose topics that you find engaging and interesting – by asking for your input.

5. It’s all about practice

The more you speak, the more confident you will become. During the Conversation Lounge, the teacher uses break-out rooms, flash cards, photographs and other tools to ensure that everyone expresses their opinions and gets the chance to speak.

Want to find out more? Watch the video to hear what our students said.

We hope you will join us in the Conversation Lounge. Contact us via the link below to discuss how we can help:

Interested in another course with COMUNI-CO, check out our new website:

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