Dec 08

Building Confidence in Your ESL Skills


The more I learn the more I realize how little I know.


Recently, I had the pleasure of receiving praise from one of my long term students. She had just returned home from an international business trip. She was so excited to exclaim that, I “gave her the confidence” to communicate with foreigners in a shared second language – English. I was certainly pleased to receive news of her successful trip abroad and I am always happy to hear a compliment, but the fact is that I didn’t give her anything! It was through the student’s own initiative that she decided to take lessons in order to develop her English language skills. I applaud anyone willing to continue to upgrade personal skills. That same student also deserves credit for working to improve her skills. Through consistent practice, regular reading of current events and continued tutoring on a weekly basis this student has realized her goal of improving her second language skills. I share resources with the student. It is on them to follow-through and do the work. I give guidance when needed and I always try to encourage every student to keep learning. The rest is up to each individual student. So, I would argue that this student gave herself the confidence to speak in her second language.

Every student can do a lot of self improvement by reading and listening to news reports, popular movies and t.v. There are also plenty of resources found on the homepage (right column beneath the translation box) of this blog (also find some key articles on the “About” page).

Through learning we gain a greater understanding of the world in which we live, we may also learn from finding commonality with people from different cultures and this may ultimately lead to tremendous personal growth.

As we grow older it is important to continue to learn new things. Learning should be a life-long endeavor. In seeking excellence in your career it is imperative to perpetually improve and update your skills, to expand your knowledge base and to find solutions to new problems.

When one attains a basic skill level with a foreign language it is so important to practice regularly in order to maintain that level. Practice is essential. The skills you have gained must be constantly honed. “Use it or lose it!” is an appropriate axiom. Additionally, it is equally important to continue to improve on that base level of skill.

Travel is a terrific way to practice your second language and the good news is that you may probably find people willing to practice spoken English anywhere in the world!

Your confidence will naturally follow your competence. The only way to improve your competence level is through regular reading, listening and instruction, continued learning and practice, practice, practice!

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    • Messi on December 9, 2017 at 1:30 am
    • Reply

    Dear Kevin , do you know we have an old chinese saying about education?
    ” 亲其师 信其道” — Means students will believe in teachings only when they get to admire their teacher . So you may not relize it but you do play the leading role in it! Thanks a lot.

    1. Thanks for sharing this interesting saying….and for such high praise.

    • Summer on December 11, 2017 at 7:37 am
    • Reply

    Do not say: I didn’t give her anything! When I took the first lesson I was nervous and could not even speak one complete sentence . You did a good job as a teacher, writing blogs as the material、sharing good resources, rectifying the pronunciation, always respectful of students opinion. You even give good advice on life. I made progress because both of us!

    1. Fair enough. I will accept your correction, but you should feel happy with your progress.
      Keep up the good work.

    • Morning on December 18, 2017 at 3:48 am
    • Reply

    As a longterm student, I couldn’t agree more with the point made in the first comment! It seems like yesterday I had the first lesson with you . The nervousness is so vivid in my memory. Seated near the computer one hour before the lesson, I prepare many sources and practiced many times how to introduce myself. haha..That was my real level when I started to learn English with you. Then after that, I followed your kindly guidance to expand vocabulary, to broaden my reading range and to improve expression naturally. During this period, I gained more confidence in my ability to meet with my foreign customers and attended exhibitions abroad. Please accept my sincere thanks and for sure that i will keep up the good work as always! Try to learn something new everyday! Fighting!

    1. You have made a lot of progress over the past three years.
      Practice builds competence. Competence builds confidence.

      I sincerely thank you for your continued interest in my lessons and my blog posts.

    2. It is astonishing how quickly the time passes! It has been a fun and interesting 3 years, hasn’t it?
      It has been my great pleasure to have you and all of your co-workers on Team Q as students.

      It pleases me greatly that you can notice the improvement you have made. Congratulations! Your diligence has been rewarded.
      Thank you for your continued interest in lessons and for your warm comments here on the blog.

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