Monday, July 16, 2012

Tips for Developing Speaking Skills

It is difficult to imagine life without conversations. Formal or informal- speaking is obviously a major requirement in the matter of communication. However, speaking to audience or involving in discussions requires a lot of skill in the use of word and language. Mouth is a medium to talk and respond to what others say.Here are few tips which could be of great help in case you need to develop speaking skills with confidence.

Speak to yourself: I think it's one of the best ways to learn to speak to self before proceeding to talk in public or otherwise. You can sit in front of the mirror and start monologue. Watch out for facial expressions. The way of speaking is different in different circumstances. Look into your eyes, mouth, teeth and cheek and try to understand the differences. Try how to respond to a question asked in a formal environment. Make sure you understand what you speak. Mirror is not only a reflection of self, it also aids in making aware the glitches likely to be faced while facing odd questions.

Speak to friends and colleagues: Sometimes, your introvert nature might hinder reciprocating well under circumstances. You wish to speak but certain inhibitions make you step backwards. Chatting with friends helps in overcoming the initial grudges before mixing in the crowd. Regular interactions not only improve speaking but help understand different nuances and speaking patterns followed in different situations. In fact, interactions are helpful in improving the language too.

Speak to Mother Nature: Sitting in the silence and serenity of Mother Nature and talking to fauna and flora eliminates nervousness. Before preparing for any interview or discussion, you can share your views within your immediate environment. Though no response is received from the other end yet it creates a sense of assurance of dealing with different circumstances. You can even rehearse the dialogues of your theatre play or seminar presentation to develop the poise.

Speak in different environment: If you happen to visit a foreign country or face a situation where you don't know the language of others, learning the language becomes your priority. It is important to understand how to use the language in the best way to communicate with people from other countries. Speaking etiquettes are quite essential so that you don't become a victim of embarrassment. Following the script and use of words in different situations is also important.

Write notes: Writing helps in framing proper and grammatically correct sentences. You can add the vocabulary according to the requirement. Writing prepares you to face the discussion or interview with confidence. It helps in harnessing ideas and creative power in order to generate the best speech.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Correcting Writing on the Cambridge ESOL Support Forum

In my last post, I brought up the issue of what colour pen teachers choose to use for correcting written work.

I've been away for a few days, but wanted to come back to the subject of correction.

When catching up on emails, I was reading through the Cambridge ESOL Teacher Support Ezine and after following a link, I ended up reading the contributions to the debate about how best to correct writing.

Forum Index » Solving your Problems
Subject:  Correcting Writing

Messages: 134 
Dear Colleague, I find teaching the essay, composition quite difficult, students do not seem to want to check their own compositions eagerly, they feel shy or uneasy, embarrassed with comments, do not want to evaluate their work. 

Do you have any hints or tips that can help encourage students to identify their writing errors?
This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 02/12/2011 11:52:46

Looking through the replies to this request for suggestions for encouraging students to identify their writing errors, I felt that some very useful advice was given (see here)
For example: using a correction code; giving students model answers to help them see what is needed and how to organise the content; correcting essays with the student present and discussing the mistakes; highlighting typical mistakes that students make so that they are aware of them.  

And last but not least, the fact that good language should be highlighted and not just errors!

As you are probably aware, Cambridge ESOL has recently updated all its Handbooks for the exams.

In the handbooks for Cambridge English: Key, Preliminary, First, Advanced and Proficiency, you can find the Assessment Scales used by Writing Examiners when assessing the answers to the different Writing tasks.  

The same areas are assessed in all five exams:

Four subscales are used:  Content, Communicative Achievement, Organisation and Language.

Content focuses on how well the candidate has fulfilled the task, in other words if they have done what they were asked to do.
Communicative Achievement focuses on how appropriate the writing is for the task and whether the candidate has used the appropriate register.
Organisation focuses on the way the candidate puts together the piece of writing, in other words if it is logical and ordered.
Language focuses on vocabulary and grammar. This includes the range of language as well as how accurate it is.

Responses are marked on each subscale from 0 to 5.

In the Handbooks, model answers are given marks for each of these subscales. (I personally find that the fact the there is no longer one overall mark at the end of each sample makes the assessment very clear).
 Maybe one answer will contain very few mistakes and a wide range of language, but has omitted one of the content points.  Another sample answer may communicate the message but be full of spelling mistakes.

I find that making students aware of what the criteria for marking is helps tremendously.  Showing students that the skill of writing is much more than correct spelling, punctuation and grammar usually makes them think more about the message and content.  Demonstrating to them that if they use paragraphs and linkers and think about style and register, the message is clearer is an important step towards better writing skills.

Monday, July 9, 2012

What Public Speaking Involves

How would you define Public Speaking? Let us examine some definitions of public speaking:

Public speaking is speech-making before a large body of audience in a formal situation wherein you, the speaker, display your talents for eloquence and oratory.

Public speaking is communication of ideas using words and actions to let others know what is happening in your head.

Public speaking is an art of facing a group of people and communicating to them your thoughts and feelings by means of effective speech.

Public speaking is direct communication with the audience -- the creation of an idea in other minds through the stimuli of words, facial expressions, and movements.

Personality is one factor that makes up effective Public Speaking. Personality - It is impossible to make interesting speakers out of uninteresting people. Only people with interesting personality make good speakers. For this reason, personality is one factor we cannot overlook in the training of a person as a public speaker for his personality determines his speech.

If we are to define personality, we may say that it is the sum total of all our physical, mental, and emotional traits. Personality is not a matter of height, color, shape, etc., but a development of all traits of an individual.

Through speech, we express our individual personality, our total self. As we talk, others see, hear, sense, and feel our personality. What we say bears the imprint of our sympathies, prejudices, passion, fears and aspirations as it is filtered through our inner selves on the way to expression. Our spontaneous speech reveals our mental states and our emotional attitudes, our upbringing and our level of education. Hence, speech revels our personality.

For you to become an interesting and attractive personality, consider PERSONALITY factor essential in the cultivation of necessary characteristics or traits of a successful speaker:

Personal grooming. The speaker's appearance has much to do with how well he will be received by his audience. Even in simple conversations, your external appearance affects your simple conversations, your external appearance affects your listeners. For this reason, you must pay careful attention to your personal appearance when you get involve with public speaking. Consider these questions as a guide to good grooming:

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Acquire the Services of a Top Quality SEO Company at Reasonable Prices

Online businesses understandably want the best SEO service at affordable prices so they are able to make the most returns from the expenditure of top quality services which are able to promote their company worldwide vie the use of the internet. Many SEO firms out there have expensive c services which many companies cannot afford, in order to acquire find a company that offers their expert services at the best price you will have to conduct thorough research. Some companies out there only offer individual services but in order to get the most out of your online marketing scheme it is important that you find a firm with services that are able to be made into a package for optimum results.

By acquiring the most effective SEO services you will be able to attain a wider custoler base for the products and services of your business through the utilization of diverting traffic in the way of customers who have already expressed an interest in similar products and services to what you have on offer. If the rates of the SEO firm are not overpriced then you will be able to make the most of the profits in which you gain from their services, it is pointless paying over the odds in order to gain custom if you are not able to reap the rewards of your returns.

Although finding an SEO company at a reasonable price is important it is also absolutely vital that the firm has a proven track record for providing that are able to deliver measureable and long term results for the success of your online business. The strategies in which they implement should include the use of content that includes strategically placed keywords in order to rank you higher in the search engine results. Search engine marketing forms a vital aspect of SEO which is why it is so widely used within the marketing department of many companies.

During this day and age every establishment with its own website uses SEO techniques for better visibility in the colossal online marketplace. With a huge number of companies offering similar products and services online the competition is now tougher than ever, which is why you need to acquire the very best SEO service to put you at an advantage over your competitors.

A reputable company should have their very own team of link builders, content writers and web designers who are able to effectively implement strategies which are unique to your company website and the products and services you have to offer. It is important that the most advantageous keywords are selected in order for you gain healthy traffic that consists mainly of your intended customers who already have an interest in the type of products and services you have to offer. Many of the services that are provided by professional SEO firms involve deep analysis, planning and constant monitoring. A reputable company should perform an analysis of the nature of your business in order to provide you with the most beneficial services to increase the amount of traffic being diverted to your website.

With the utilization of the various techniques acquired by an SEO company your are able to execute the most effective marketing plan to enhance the marketing of your online business to put you at a great advantage over your competitors and earn maximum returns. Ranking Solutions offers both professional and affordable SEO techniques which are designed to greatly enhance the online presence of your company website to reach your target audience as effectively and efficiently as possible for absolute success.

Do you still use a red pen?

I was following a link from one of my subscription emails to a Forum Debate on

The question being discussed is:

Do you still use a red pen?

Here are a few of the comments posted in reply to this question from

We have to mark in green because, apparantly, the children get upset if their work has red marking on it! Now green is the new red!

 Having marked in all the other colours of the rainbow over the years, we now HAVE to mark in red...

I mark in black or blue for positive comments and in red to highlight the mistakes the students makes and my feedback, otherwise they would not take notice of what  they have done wrong and why.

I mark in both green and red. The more the green the better the work, the more the red, the more mistakes they have made. I think its right to highlight the negative elements so that they know what to fix for next time. The worst thing I think is when kids don't review their homework and this is likely if the marking is monotone and uninteresting ...

What about you?  Do you use a particular pen for marking students' written work?  Do you think it makes a difference?

We will come back to the subject of correcting written work in another post!