Sunday, 24 March 2013

Understanding the IELTS Speaking Test

Here's a very good short article about the IELTS Speaking test:

The article is intended for teachers of English but it's not too difficult for learners of English to understand. I recommend reading it if you're preparing to take the IELTS test.

Have fun practising spoken English with videos

Here's a reminder about a very useful website for practising your spoken English.

In particular, the activities on this site will help you produce the distinctive rhythms, stress and intonation patterns of English that native speakers use. These special features of English pronunciation are essential if you wish to do more than just communicate at a basic level in English. You'll also find that understanding these features better will help in improving your listening skills.

Go to!/index and look around.

I think you'll agree that practising with the videos is both entertaining and helpful.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Practise your English with other learners

My students often tell me that they lack opportunities to speak English with others.

I understand this difficulty but let's not ignore the many opportunities modern technology provides. It's now extremely easy to meet other interesting and intelligent people online who also wish to spend time practising English.

(By the way, don't think that only practice with native English speakers matters. Research has shown that interaction with other learners is a very important step in the development of proficiency in a second language.)

If you'd like me to connect you with other learners, send an email to .


Groups you can join:


“This group aims to improve your English Speaking Skill, by talking on Skype every night at 23:00 Japanese time (Standard time zone: UTC/GMT +9 hours).

Whenever you want to speak English, or improve your English skills, you can join us.”


I'd be happy to share information about other groups for English learners. Just drop me a message if you'd like to recommend one.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Useful Resources for Improving Pronunciation

There are many excellent free resources online for help with pronunciation. Here are some you may like to try: (series of 15 videos on sounds, stress patterns and intonation)!/index (choose a video, listen, record yourself speaking and get feedback; useful, detailed description at ) (the sounds of English and important features of pronunciation, with quizzes) (the sounds of American English) (online English talking dictionary of pronunciation) chart of English sounds)

Your comments and suggestions are welcomed, as always.