Follow these practice guidelines as you go through your program.
1. Set up a daily practice schedule. In order to maximize your improvement, you must practice your speech every day. The easiest way to achieve this is to put your practice time right into your daily schedule. Find a time each day when you have 30-60 minutes to dedicate to your speech practice. You can even break this time up into smaller chunks.
2. Always use the audios and videos when you practice. It is important when you practice specific skills to always listen to and follow along with the audios and videos provided. This way, you always hear the correct way of speaking and pronouncing sounds. If you practice on your own without the audios or videos, then you will be reinforcing the incorrect way of speaking.
3. Exaggerate sounds when you practice your pronunciation exercises. This may sound funny, but the more you exaggerate your lip movements and the slower you speak when practicing, the faster you will learn your new speaking skills.
4. Use a mirror when you practice new sounds. When you are learning how to pronounce a new sound, watch the video for that sound and have a mirror ready. Look in the mirror when you form the sound to make sure that you are forming it the same way as the model on the video.
When you practice new words, sentences, and stories for a sound, using a mirror at first will help you see exactly what you are doing with your lips and tongue. This will speed up the learning process.
5. You can only make changes in your speech when you are aware of what you are doing wrong. If you are not aware of what you need to do to change your speech, then you will have difficulty making changes. This means that you will need to be able to hear the correct way of saying something and the accented way of saying it. This awareness is absolutely necessary in order to make changes in the way you now speak. For example, if you pronounce the word "sit" like "seat", you must be able to hear the difference between the two words. Once you can hear the difference, then you will be ready to learn how to say the "ih" sound correctly.
6. Speak slowly when you practice new speaking skills. Take your time when forming new sounds and when using new speaking skills in your everyday speech. Like anything new, it always seem hard at first, but the more you practice, the easier it becomes.
7. It takes about a month to change a habit. You have been speaking English for a long time, and you have to expect that changes will not occur overnight. For any new skill that you learn, plan on it taking about a month of daily practice before that skill feels automatic. At first, the new sound or speaking skill will feel awkward because you are going against what is familiar to you. Your brain does not like change! Like any new thing you learn, the more you practice, the easier it will be to do it. Keep at it because your hard work will pay off!
8. Record your speech often. Recording your speech exercises, your spontaneous speech, and live conversations will help you hear how you sound to others. Listen to your speech and write down accented words, grammar mistakes, and comments about your speaking rate and intonation so that you know exactly what you need to change.
9. Send audio recordings or videos you make of your speech to me on a regular basis. I can't stress this enough! All through your course, I will be here to give you guidelines and suggestions on how to further improve your speech. The feedback I give you will help you learn more quickly!