Are you afraid of speaking Spanish to other people? Developing the confidence to speak a new language is difficult for everybody!
As a professional language teacher, I have noticed that students usually have a hard time trying to speak Spanish fluently in front of other people. Therefore, on my way to help my students to overcome this fear, I found 10 effective tips that will help any Spanish student become confident while speaking Spanish.
1. Educate yourself
Many insecurities, fears, and doubts stem from lack of understanding or lack of knowledge about something. The more Spanish students understand and know about the Spanish language, the more comfortable they will be while speaking and thus the less power their shyness will have over them. It is very important for students to know that everybody can be confident while speaking Spanish, but they have to be focused on their goal and never give up on it!
2. Learn new words in Spanish everyday
Students have to know that all things have a name in every language, so the more vocabulary they can learn, the more they will be able to understand. Students can start by getting to know the names of household objects, then do the same in their office, school, the park or any place familiar to them. Students should grasp every opportunity to learn new vocabulary words!
3. Learn about the cultures of Spanish-speaking countries
When students find themselves immersed in a multicultural society, it can be hard to understand what people are talking about. For this reason, it is very important to get to know what Spanish-speaking peoples’ traditions are, and use this knowledge to make informed contributions to conversations in Spanish.
4. Listen to people
Misusing words while speaking Spanish will definitely affect a student’s confidence. The best way to learn how to use words correctly is to listen to Spanish-speaking people. In this way, students will identify when and how to use some words while speaking Spanish and how to create sentences.
5. Record yourself speaking Spanish
Something that will definitely help students become confident is listening to themselves when they speak Spanish. It is good for them to record their own voice or film themselves so they can identify what areas they need to work on. They can also review these recordings and make improved versions until they’re perfect!
6. Write in Spanish
All students are good at something other than learning Spanish. One effective way to develop confidence is by writing about a topic they know and love. This is helpful as they'll enjoy writing about that topic while learning Spanish. They can write an essay about the topic in Spanish and memorize some keywords that will help them in future conversations.
7. Think in Spanish
Language students usually have trouble developing the ability to think in a second language. This happens because people usually want to translate every word to their native language so they can understand better. By thinking in Spanish, students will have to set aside their native language and use their Spanish vocabulary. In this way, they will not waste any time translating words and eventually be able to interpret phrases right away.
8. Talk to people
Getting to know native Spanish speakers is the best way to overcome a lack of confidence. It is always good to have someone to practice with; this person can be a friend, a co-worker, or anyone with whom they feel comfortable speaking Spanish. Their language partners can also help answer any queries the student may have about the language.
9. Make mistakes
There is nothing wrong with making mistakes. It is the only way students will notice that they have not used the language correctly. This should motivate them to be more careful the next time they use the same word.
10. Be persistent
Developing confidence while speaking Spanish is a process and it will take some time and effort to achieve it. It is important for students to know that every person learns in a different way and at a different rate. Students have to be persistent in order to develop this amazing new skill. An italki teacher can help, since most work hard to customize their classes to the students’ particular needs.
As someone once said: “Each time we face a fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence doing so.” As a language teacher, I know what it's like for a SSL student to be shy and have little or no confidence, and I know for a fact that all language students can turn that mindset around!