All language learners dream of being able to express themselves orally to ask questions, receive and understand new information, interact with people in the new language. It is a skill that can be acquired, and a tutor can help you hone it.
A tutor can assist you in developing a strong oral skill during the regular lessons either in a group or one on one. He/she uses strategies that will boost your language skills.
The tutor usually encourages conversation practice.
He/she ask questions to spark interactions and engage you in conversations where you will practice the new vocabulary and expressions that you are learning. He/she also guides you in using the right words and encourages you to explore novel words in the new language.
The tutor teaches you the syntactic structures of sentences.
He/she teaches you the correct arrangement of words and phrases so that you can form adequate sentences. If you use a fragmented syntax, the tutor usually models a complete syntax back to you so that you can build on your speaking skills and help you master the language faster.
The tutor helps you articulate clearly.
When learning a new word, the tutor teaches you how to feel the muscles used to produce a particular sound, especially at a beginner stage where you are not familiar to some sounds of the language. He/she helps you articulate and reminds you about the need for clarity if you want to communicate effectively.
The tutor shows you the importance of intonation.
When expressing your thoughts in your new language, the pitch, speed, and rhythm of your voice are important. In some languages the same sentence is used for affirmative or a question. The only difference is the intonation.
Often, how you say things makes all the difference. Be mindful of the volume of your voice also as there is a massive difference across cultures.
My husband is always reminding me to lower the volume of my voice because my Caribbean volume clashes with the quieter British way of speaking.
The tutor encourages your participation with questions.
During each session he/she makes sure to keep you practicing by introducing relevant questions so that you never run out of topics to talk about. If you are a beginner, he/she will introduce simple straight forward one-part questions like “what is your favourite holiday?” He/she will always encourage you to use a complete sentence as an answer. When you don’t, he/she will mirror your answer with a complete sentence so that you repeat it.
Example: Tutor: -What is your favourite holiday destination?
You : - The Maldives.
Tutor: - Your favourite holiday destination is the Maldives.
You : - Yes, my favourite holiday destination is the Maldives.
In more advanced circumstances, the tutor will ask two-part questions that will require more complex answers.
Example: “What is your favourite holiday destination? Why?
The tutor will transform a reading exercise into a speaking one.
Before starting the reading assignment, he/she will ask questions to boost your speaking skills and help you grasp all the information contained in the words.
For example, you will read the introduction aloud - which is a great speaking exercise-. This will help you practice, intonation, pitch, rhythm, and speed. The tutor will ask you questions about the passage, where you must explain the type of writing- for example, article, extract from a book etc -, what you think the story is about, the possible outcome you are predicting.
Once you have read the whole story, you will be asked to summarise in your own words what you have just read.
The tutor will also encourage you to collate colloquial phrases.
Writing common phrases in a notebook as you encounter them, is highly advisable. It helps you familiarise with the new expressions and memorise them. Thus, you will be able to use them as needed.
Oral language proficiency is important when learning a language and these are only a few strategies a language tutor can use to help you improve this essential skill.