Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

February 13, 2010

10 goofy ways to practise speaking skills.

I’ve been thinking about some quick ways in which you can practise English as you go about your daily life. I realise that not everybody is in a position where they are surrounded by English every day. For others they have very limited time to practise and need ‘quick fixes’ to keep their language skills moving. One area which poses a particular problem here is speaking.

I thought back to my early days of learning French, I was in a similar position with no French around me and without things like internet access that are available today!  I invented little tricks and tasks to do in French to keep the momentum going. I’ll share these with you here and I’ve added a few more that I have observed from other people.

So, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing you can do a little effective practice!

These will work with any language you are learning.

Warning – you might want to do some of these behind closed doors!

All the activities require a little imagination, do them when you are performing routine tasks.


I love to sing and do these quite often. Great for in the shower, washing the dishes, cleaning or driving.

         1.  Choose a song you like and make up English lyrics – anything will do, wild and wacky or sad and sentimental.

         2.  Invent a ‘jingle’ to advertise your favourite chocolate bar, car, band etc.. let your imagination go wild!

         3.  Make up a rap about what you are doing.

OK, so how do these help anything, you may be asking. There’s spontaneity, which is something you also need when speaking – you don’t know what’s coming next. You can be totally uninhibited and try anything – true freedom of expression! It will help you drag out vocabulary from your boots, you’ll be surprised at what you know. You’ll also find out what you don’t know – no worries – look these words up in your dictionary later on.

Present a TV show!

          4.  Cooking is GREAT for this! As you prepare your dish/meal imagine you are on TV and show your audience how to make it.

        5.  Choose another task you are doing and imagine you are making a video to show others how to do it.

This is great practice for giving instructions and describing a process. Conjure up a team to help you and soon you’ll have your own TV studio!! Get into the part. You could even invite your friends to join in too!

Recite a poem:

         6. Learn a poem or verse by heart and then practise it while you go about your daily tasks. You can, alternatively, base it on a poem in your own language or even make one up.

When I was learning French at school we used to memorise poems and ‘perform’ them in class – great for pronunciation!!

Conversing with pets!

          7. Converse with your dog or cat! You have a real live partner for your conversation even if you get very quizzical looks! (I always did). It adds a dimension to your creativity and great for pronunciation.

Making speeches.

         8. OK, you need a microphone for this, so grab that washing-up brush, wooden spoon or shower gel bottle and make that speech to your invisible audience!!

Become a tour guide!

          9. Grab your  ‘microphone’ again and pretend you are a tour guide and give a guided tour of your city, town or village!

        10. Get Gapfillers word of the day on your mobile phone. An effortless way to improve your vocabulary!

Make your language practice a part of your life!!

Check out these posts to help you with your English practice.

10 ways to increase your vocabulary

7 virtues to help you write well in English

7  deadly sins to avoid in your writing

Warning – mistakes cost marks!

An A to Z of effective language practice

Some tips for improving listening skills



  1. Hi,

    Great post. I enjoyed reading it very much.All are great ideas but I especially loved #2 and #4. Thanks for sharing.


    Comment by Eva Büyüksimkeşyan — February 13, 2010 @ 10:44 pm | Reply

    • Thank you for your comment Eva – I imagine all your students will now be singing TV presenters!!

      Comment by rliberni — February 14, 2010 @ 5:00 pm | Reply

  2. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by rliberni: New post: 10 goofy ways to practise speaking skills.: http://wp.me/ptGdh-kA #efl #esl #ell #English language…

    Trackback by uberVU - social comments — February 13, 2010 @ 11:24 pm | Reply

  3. I love this!! 1 more for the singing section — I’ve had a lot of fun (too much fun) translating songs that I love (for me into Spanish) and singing them over-and-over. Some of my favourites – “Ironico” by Alanis Morisette, “Duraznos” to the tune of “Peaches” by Presidents of the United States, or more advanced “La Ciudad Paraisa” by Guns and Roses.

    Comment by Natalie Gordon — February 14, 2010 @ 12:31 am | Reply

    • Thanks Natalie I love your idea of grading these! I’ll have to try these songs myself.

      Comment by rliberni — February 14, 2010 @ 5:02 pm | Reply

  4. Nice ideas here for any language learner. I love the idea of developing jingles in the target language and hope to try this with some Junior French and Japanese classes.

    Comment by Andrew J — February 14, 2010 @ 3:32 am | Reply

    • I don’t know if you know the Froggy song mobile phone ringtone that was quite popular a few years ago. I tried using this with some children learning French and it was a great success. Let me know how it goes with the jingles!

      Comment by rliberni — February 14, 2010 @ 5:04 pm | Reply

  5. Hello,
    I really like your suggestions. I am learning Spanish and plan on using some of these. One thing I do that is similar to #6 is I learn common prayers in my new language. Praying to God does a lot for one’s mental state as well as helping you stretch your language. One of my friends once told me that at least he won’t judge you if you make mistakes 🙂

    Comment by Roger — February 14, 2010 @ 3:39 am | Reply

    • Hi Roger another good idea, at school we learnt prayers in French and I remember learning jingle bells in Latin – it all helps.

      Comment by rliberni — February 14, 2010 @ 5:06 pm | Reply

  6. Haha, great list! I do #7 all of the time with my dog — kind of funny as she understands commands in Korean and English.

    Comment by cynicalsamaritan — February 14, 2010 @ 1:36 pm | Reply

    • Thank you Neil. I converse with my dog in French and sometimes Indonesian – they do seem to enter into the spirit of it don’t they!

      Comment by rliberni — February 14, 2010 @ 5:07 pm | Reply

  7. When I read the title of the post, I was expecting suggestions for getting adults to agree to unusual role plays in class, but this was far more interesting. My favorites are the jingles and the tour guide.

    Comment by John Brezinsky — February 16, 2010 @ 5:42 pm | Reply

    • Hi John, thank you for your comment. I’m glad you were pleasantly surprised! I’m hoping people will try them out and post examples! Maybe we’ll see some in future course books.

      Comment by rliberni — February 16, 2010 @ 11:33 pm | Reply

  8. […] 10 goofy ways to practice speaking skills […]

    Pingback by What is it that you need? « Rliberni's Blog – Radical language — February 22, 2010 @ 11:48 pm | Reply

  9. […] paar hilfreiche Artikel aus Rliberni’s Blog: Some tips for improving listening skills / 10 goofy ways to practise speaking skills / 10 ways to increase your vocabulary / 7 great virtues to help you write in […]

    Pingback by EastZoneSoupCube - Englisch lernen leicht gemacht — March 11, 2010 @ 11:22 am | Reply

  10. […] 10 goofy ways to practise speaking skills […]

    Pingback by Business English – what is it you really need to learn? « Rliberni's Blog – Radical language — May 13, 2010 @ 6:41 pm | Reply

  11. […] 10 goofy ways to practise speaking skills. is a wonderful post from Berni Wall’s. One of my favourite posts werealso from here, Using Modal verbs Part One and don’t forget to read Part 2. […]

    Pingback by My homework part 2 | A Journey in TEFL — June 7, 2010 @ 8:17 pm | Reply

  12. I has been for me very interesting your comment “10 goofy ways to practise speaking skills”. Unfortunatelly in my country is too difficult to find sites who speaks and broadcast english programs. Only a few months ago our regional TV is appearing with some programs about english conversation, but this is realized by natives and their pronunciation is not good as British people. In other way, I’m and older man who have improved my English knowledges by reading elemental books. I would like to enter to Twitter or Blog, but I don’t understand what is this and I’m afraid to be involved in grotesque situations. I’m really lucky to have found Gapfillers because I have the great opportuniy of obtaing skills for to learn this important langague. I will appreciate your comments.

    Comment by Raul Torres Suarez — October 5, 2010 @ 5:02 pm | Reply

    • Dear Raul, thank you for your lovely comment here and also all your contributions to Gapfillers, we really appreciate them. 🙂
      As you know, it is with practice that you improve and you have done a wonderful job yourself to learn English. I think your are very committed to improving your English skills.
      If you look at my posts on writing online then it is good to start slowly and find a group where you feel comfortable to write. I am certain that your efforts would not be at all ‘grotesque’ but I understand that you want to make a good impression. Have a look at the wiki on Gapfillers and write something about your home town or a beautiful place in your country for virtual weekends this would be a start. You could also look at other sites like English Club.com or the BBC site where you can begin to add comments or create a page. If you need any help with the Gapfillers wiki or writing something in Member home there just let me know (you can send me a message) and I will help you. Thank you again!

      Comment by rliberni — October 5, 2010 @ 6:16 pm | Reply

  13. I would like to contribute that this article is really very helpful infact the material provided on this blog is really meaningful and relevant for who se ever wants to improve his spoken english. impressive compilation, articulately presented, impressive thought process in the layout and well thought of the intricacies.Will definitely be a helpful tool for those seeking help in this direction.

    Comment by nivel — December 14, 2010 @ 11:31 am | Reply

  14. […] 10 goofy ways to practise speaking skills. […]

    Pingback by English language learning tips – my Top 10 posts « Rliberni's Blog – Radical language — May 20, 2011 @ 5:42 pm | Reply

  15. Ha ha, great. I’m learning Italian right now and find it fun to talk to people who can’t hear me when I’m driving. I’ll call out (in Italian) about the clothes their wearing, how nice they look, how bad they look, their driving ability and so on. I’ll ask them what they’re doing, why they’re doing it and all that. And if my dog is in the car I’ll tell the dog about it. All in Italian, of course, and definitely not for anyone else to hear!!

    Comment by TEFL World Wiki — May 21, 2011 @ 12:50 pm | Reply

    • Yes, it can be fun – I sometimes speak to myself in French or Indonesian when I’m pottering about the kitchen. It’s a good way of bringing vocabulary and phrases up from your boots and doing a bit of pronunciation. Glad you liked the post 🙂

      Comment by rliberni — May 22, 2011 @ 12:00 pm | Reply

  16. wooow so useful as usual Berni
    it’s really useful for who wants to improve his skills
    goo on!! and best wishes!!

    Comment by eslam medhat — July 20, 2011 @ 4:45 pm | Reply

    • Hello Eslam, thank you for your lovely comment. Which ones are you going to try?

      Comment by rliberni — July 20, 2011 @ 5:54 pm | Reply

  17. i think i will try to sing something 😀 😀

    Comment by eslam medhat — July 21, 2011 @ 1:02 pm | Reply

    • Good idea!

      Comment by rliberni — July 29, 2011 @ 5:58 pm | Reply

  18. Hi i am surprised;its a wonderfull side i waana member and learn eng online plz guied me

    Comment by saad — November 17, 2011 @ 1:54 pm | Reply

    • Hi Sadia, thank you for your comment. I am so happy you like the site and even more happy that you want to improve your English skils! You can learn English with me on my site http://www.gapfillers.co.uk You can sign up for free and get exercises every month. There are also programmes offered there. Everybody who signs up gets a free Skype call with me. I hope to see you there 🙂

      Comment by rliberni — November 17, 2011 @ 3:21 pm | Reply

  19. very innovative ideas..thanks

    Comment by princerajput — September 19, 2012 @ 1:43 am | Reply

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment and I hope that they will help you.

      Comment by rliberni — September 19, 2012 @ 8:27 am | Reply

  20. Seriously these are some great tips. I have tried almost all the tips you have mentioned except singing, conversing with pets and presenting a TV show. Haha. These really build up confidence if done regularly. 🙂

    Thanks. Awesome post. 🙂

    Comment by Anirudh Bahadur — April 26, 2013 @ 5:50 pm | Reply

    • Thanks Anirudh,
      They certainly do and especially where it is difficult to get real practice. They can be great fun too!

      Comment by rliberni — May 7, 2013 @ 6:01 pm | Reply

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