IELTS China | Students Practice Real English to Improve Communication Skills

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Chinese Students Practice REAL English

Students in China are being encouraged to practice speaking English more. Dare to Speak, a program of activities organized for schools and universities in China, recently gave students an opportunity to practice using spoken English in real life situations.

These activities were organized in conjunction with the cultural and education office of the British Embassy in China. The objective of the activities, according to Lyu Hui, IELTS manager in China, was to motivate and encourage English learners and IELTS candidates in China to practice speaking English in real-life situations.

How did they practice English?

One of the activities mentioned included Shangai Jiao Tong University students practicing their English with foreign chefs in the university canteen at lunch time, ordering their food in English. Another activity organized in a high school involved students interacting with an English speaking shopkeeper – and asking for what they wanted to buy in English.

English learners in China are generally shy when they have to talk in English with foreigners, although they want to speak, they find it somewhat difficult to start a normal, casual conversation or interchange.

Many students commented that they had learned a lot of English in the classroom but did not have many ‘real’ opportunities to practice using it in real situations. This could be one of the factors behind the shyness.

Why is practising English important?

The reaction from the English learners was overall a positive one, saying that the opportunity to practice outside the classroom in a normal conversational manner was good and had benefited them.

The number of people doing IELTS in China has experienced consistent growth year after year due to the large number of students who want to study at universities overseas. Chinese IELTS candidates score on average band 5.3 for speaking on the IELTS scale (band 9 = maximum) however, most universities in English speaking countries require a score of 6.5 in Academic IELTS for foreign students.

Learning the mechanics of a foreign language in a classroom may build a foundation of knowledge in the language, but in order to develop real communicational fluency, regular practice in real-life situations is essential. It helps build confidence and also develop real fluency.

As they say in English: practice, practice, practice!

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