Practising your English (Speaking and Listening)


Practising what you learn in class is as important as learning it in class in the first place. For a lot of students, finding the opportunity to practise is an issue, and for others it’s all about confidence.

practising-englishFirst and foremost, if you have the time, go to the social events organised by ISI. There is always a mix of students, languages and levels. The events organised are casual and fun, and they give you the opportunity to start speaking even if you have a low level. Too shy to speak? You can still listen.

For those who don’t have the time for the organised activities, cafés and Dublin’s many hundred pubs are your new best friends. So, what opportunities do you have in these kinds of places?

1. Ordering your food or drink

The first thing you need to do when you enter a café, and the one you can do even if you only have time to get your coffee to go. Use this opportunity to start a casual conversation. “How are you? Have you been busy?”. If you notice that they aren’t from Ireland, “where are you from?” opens up so many doors to longer conversations, free from judgement.

2. Listening to other patrons

Take your coffee, tea, drink (whatever) and grab a seat. Don’t distract yourself with your phone or music. Just relax, enjoy, and listen to the people around you. You don’t need to get involved in any conversations at this point, but listing to people speak in English will help. If they’re Irish, or native speakers from other countries, this will help with understanding the many accents that we have. If, however, they are from other countries, you will experience English in its most common form; the learned and practised English with some mistakes, which is normal. Either way is useful.

3. Talking to other people

People from other countries will always be the easiest to approach and talk to. As a language learner, you already have something in common. This is much less scary than walking up to a native speaker and trying to make friends, but I promise you, we’re much warmer people here in Ireland than first appearances might suggest. While talking to people in cafés might be difficult, pubs (not clubs, the music is too loud) are a great opportunity to talk to people.

In summary, try to make time to sit in a café or a pub (you don’t need alcohol). Some very welcoming places that you might not have tried are “The Clockwork Door” and “Board”, a new premises. Both are casual café/games environments that offer more opportunities to practise.

If you are interested in studying in Ireland this summer, we have shared some August activities  with you in this blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *