Speaking for prolonged periods of time in your second language requires a lot of effort. When you are speaking with native speakers, whose conversation seems effortless, you may notice that you are engaged in a tremendous amount of cognitive work.
You are straining to listen carefully and when you speak you are trying to balance accuracy and fluency. And you may feel what Koreans call ‘눈치’ or ‘noon-Chee’ – that unmistakable feeling that others are making judgments about your speaking ability, and thus, about you as a person.
Most EFL/ESL speakers consider themselves to be in a perpetual state of learning. They say things like ‘my English is not very good’.
When students give themselves permission to become English ‘users’ and stop thinking of themselves as English ‘learners’ they make a tremendous stride towards greater self-confidence.
Speaking a second language means entering an unnatural state. It means experiencing discomfort. Mature speakers of English as a foreign or second language realize how to control that discomfort. That’s really when a learner becomes a user.
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If you are interested in learning even more about TOEFL Speaking, check out my course Clear Strategies & Tactics.
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