The techniques described below are adapted from this TEDx video.

  1. Make Mistakes - Use the language. Don't be afraid to make mistakes or sound foolish.
  • Repeat everything in class. This gives your lips, tongue, and brain practice which may help prevent "freeze-ups" in real life.
  1. Phonetic Spelling - Write notes about how the word or phrase sounds. You may want to learn a phonetic alphabet or compare it to words in your own language. This site will convert English words into several phonetic alphabets..
  • Mechanic - There is no "ch" sound in this word. [muh-kan-ik]

  • I am going to... - Native speakers usually say "I'm gonna."

  • Would you like -> "wouldja like"

  • Find a Stickler - Find someone that you can talk to in-person or online who will correct your mistakes in an encouraging manner.

  • Talk to Yourself - Practice conversations in your head while riding the bus or even while taking a shower.

  • Buddy Formula - Try to find someone whose "best common language" is the one you want to learn.

    • Two Thai speakers must be careful since they are likely to end up speaking mostly in Thai instead of English if they tired or frustrated.

    • A Thai and a German will have to speak in English if that is their "best common language." This is great practice even if neither person speaks English at a native level.

    • A Thai and an American - This is ideal for a Thai person learning English, but if your language buddy also wants to learn your language set a timer so that the practice benefits both of you. You could do 5 minutes of only English speaking, followed by 5 minutes of only Thai.

Conversation Starters and Tasks - If you are an introvert you may want to use conversation starters or tasks to help with numbers 4 & 5.


  • What was the last funny video you saw?
  • What do you do to get rid of stress?
  • Who is your favorite entertainer (comedian, musician, actor, etc.)?
  • What is something that is popular now that annoys you?
  • More


  • One partner pulls up a website (travel, Wikipedia, movie) and the other person asks questions about it.

  • Do a Google image search for two similar photos. Talk about their differences.