My learning experiences: what works and what doesn't

Hello,

I am learning two things now: how to dance beautifully and speak Italian. I have a private dance tutor who is an incredible dancer. As a publisher of Get Rid of your Accent  apps and books and RP (Received Pronunciation, in the past known as Queen's English or BBC English) I always strive to learn what works and what doesn't for students who are trying to learn new skills. In this blog I want to share with you my knowledge about teaching and learning processes.

Learning to dance is very similar to learning to speak with a different accent. When I learn to dance I learn how to move my body the way I want. This is exactly what you learn during accent reduction: the first thing you learn is how to move your speech organs in the correct way. In our apps and books, the number one thing is to make it very clear how to place your speech organs correctly, secondly you pronounce the sound on its own, then in words, sentences and verses. It is a process, in which we break it up into small parts and our students learn very fast, because it s simple and clear.

On the contrary, my dance tutor tends to show me a very difficult routine and asks me to repeat it. I cannot do it and then she shows it to me again in a very fast way, and I that doesn't help at all. When I asked her to show me little moves slowly I succeeded. I conclude: the number one thing in learning is to break the thing you learn into small parts and master each part  separately. If you rush, you are likely to make a mistakes.

I've  just came back from Italy where I did a 3 weeks course in Italian. During my course we were studying grammar and hardly had very little practice. By the middle of my course in Italy I realised that I speak worse than before. Prior to this course, I practiced a lot of speaking, listening and repeating and may-be my grammar was not as good, but I was more fluent. In my opinion, the number two thing in learning a new skill is 10% of theory and 90% of practice. Unfortunately, many tutors do it the other way around, 90% of theory which makes them speak most of the time, and 10% of practice for students. That is probably why our accent apps and books are very popular, because we follow these two rules and our students get the results instantly.

Good luck with your study,

Yours

Olga Smith

www.batcsglobal.com

Belly dance.jpg

Important rules of speech writing and presenting

A couple of days ago I've taught one of my students. He is a barrister and presents his speeches in Courts. He is highly intelligent and eloquent. English is his native language. When we started working on one of his speeches, we had to cut some words, put stresses and liaisons. My student was surprised how simple rules that I taught him changed the quality of his speech. He said he never heard of these rules. He encouraged me to write a blog about rules of speech writing and presenting.

Bellow is the list of main rules of speech writing and presenting:

1. Never start a sentence with a preposition "and". 

2. Stress the most important words that contain the meaning and the essence of a sentence. As a rule we stress numbers, names, strong words like "never", "not".

3. Write short sentences and use short punchy words. There is a difference between a written and a spoken word. It' is fine to use long sentences if you write a PhD thesis or a scientific article for a magazine because readers can read it several times if needed. But if you speak in long sentences, then your listeners might feel lost in words and lose the plot. Thus you might fail to deliver your message. Very often when I help to prepare speeches I often cut 30% of words. I would like to give you an exercise:

a) Write your speech, then record it.

b) Read your speech again and delete unimportant words. Record this speech again using pauses and stresses correctly.

c) Compare these two speeches.

You will find rules and practical exercises for speech in our apps "4Ps, Power, Pitch, Pace, Pause" and "Fluent English Speech". They will help you to make your speeches impressive, powerful and interesting.

Yours

Olga Smith

A purpose of "small talk"​

As a typical Russian I was rubbish at "small talk". I found it boring and useless. I want an instant connection on a deep level. For me, small talk was a waste of my time. A typical small talk is usually about the weather, current events or immediate surroundings, so superficial and meaningless, I thought.

I was wrong. Small talk does have a purpose. It is a great opportunity to size up the other person. We see their gestures, hear their accent and make an eye contact. It helps us decide whether we want to carry the conversation any further. Recently I was talking to a friend, a CEO of a consultancy company, he says that it's enough for him to say hello and shake hands with a person in order to understand if he can work with them.

In the UK, your accent speaks louder than words, it is a sign of your cultural background, education and social status. Once people hear your accent, to coin a phrase, they put you in a box. People make judgments immediately.

This fact explains why RP (Received Pronunciation, which in the past was called Queens English, Oxford English or BBC English is still an accent people want to learn. This accent is simply a shortcut to sound neutral and educated. Elocution, articulation and other vocal techniques help you to enhance your powers of communication further and cultivates strong presence. Once you have strong presence doors open people want to be around you, have business with you, you get a better job and a higher salary , and we can continue this list.

With our accent apps, books and lessons, it usually takes only 1-3 months to learn RP, and the benefits are priceless and will last you a lifetime. To listen to free lessons from our audio accent books visit: http://www.batcsglobal.com/products/