What is the 30-Day Speaking Challenge?
It is an opportunity to practice speaking your target language on a daily basis and build a consistent habit that effectively helps you work on your grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary, confidence, and fluency.
Let me ask you a few questions about how well you speak your target language.
Do you feel you aren’t getting enough speaking practice in your target language?
Do you notice that when you do speak nobody bothers to correct you or give you feedback?
Are you anxious about making mistakes when speaking and embarrassed about how you might sound?
If your answer is yes, don’t worry because you’re not alone. The 30-Day Speaking Challenge is here to help you get more speaking practice on a daily basis, get feedback on your recordings, boost your confidence, and make it easier to speak spontaneously and more fluently.
When learning to speak in a foreign language, we often think that the only viable way to practice is in a conversation with a teacher or native speaker, but that can be a highly stressful situation at the beginning to pre-intermediate levels. We may be able to say a few words to introduce ourselves or express a simple idea or opinion, but we have no control over how a native speaker may respond. Very likely, they may use complex grammatical structures or advanced vocabulary, and we’re left feeling inadequate or speechless because we don’t know how to reply or respond. It can be frustrating and despite trying to look or act confident, confidence comes from getting results and figuring out strategies. Fortunately though, you don’t necessarily have to interact with a native speaker directly to gain that confidence or to develop your speaking strategies.
What the 30-Day Speaking Challenge allows you to do is work on your solo speaking practice on a daily basis. If you can commit to using your microphone to record yourself in your target language for a few minutes every day, little by little you will start to make small improvements that gradually accumulate.
Quite often when people start a new exercise program or diet program, they expect to see immediate results, but then give up after just one week after not perceiving the changes. Long-term changes such as muscle development, weight loss, or learning a foreign language, don’t just happen over night. It takes some commitment, consistency, and regular, daily practice to make those changes happen. It also helps to keep a log of daily actions, but it’s also important to realize that it will be difficult to perceive the small daily changes until they accumulate enough over a certain period of time such as a month, 2 months, or 3 months to be noticeable and observable.
The goal of the Speaking Challenge is to encourage you to start making a daily habit of recording yourself for a few minutes each day and track your progress so that you can get more speaking practice, overcome your fear of speaking, boost your confidence, strengthen your grammar, expand your vocabulary, improve your pronunciation, achieve more fluency, and get feedback on your recordings, which will allow you to effectively assess your strengths and weaknesses, and get a better idea of where you should focus your learning efforts.
Take a look at a few examples from participants who decided to publish YouTube videos:
James Granahan of Lingua Materna is an English-speaker who took part to practice his Russian.
Another participant, Valeriya, is a Russian-speaker who took part to improve her English.
Throughout the Speaking Challenge these 2 participants were able to mutually support each other as they practiced each other’s languages. These are just 2 examples of the many more inspired language learners who have taken part.
Is this right for me?
I have worked with many language learners over the years as a language coach and English teacher and one obstacle that everyone struggles with is getting more speaking practice. It can be difficult to find the right language partners who will encourage you and give you feedback, and due to the nature of language exchanges you may need to dedicate at least half of the time to helping your partner before getting help with your own language studies. You may decide to instead seek out language tutors or teachers, which can be expensive and perhaps they may end up lecturing during the lesson and not really allowing you to effectively practice. Also, because of time zone differences around the world, it may be difficult to schedule a time that works best for your schedule and your language exchange partner or teacher.
However, there is a solution that takes the best from each of those experiences. The 30-Day Speaking Challenge is a combination of community support from potential language exchange partners, lots of speaking practice that you do when it is most convenient for you, feedback from native speakers, tutors, and teachers, and daily guided speaking prompts so that you don’t have to figure out what to talk about. All you have to do is set aside some time each day to learn some new vocabulary and perhaps some grammatical structures you’d like to work on, turn on your microphone, get started speaking, and then submit your recording for feedback. It’s ok if you skip a day, but for best results try to make a small effort each day.
How does it work?
We use a free simple voice recording tool called SpeakPipe Voice Recorder. Here is a brief video about how to use it. After we get the link to our recording, we submit it to a Google Sheet that all the participants can access.
But what if I’m afraid of speaking and people will make fun of my accent or my mistakes?
Everyone who takes part in the challenge feels the exact same way as you and we are building a supportive community together where nobody will judge you or make fun of you. A big part of the challenge is overcoming your fear of speaking through regular, consistent practice and the more you let go of your fear and keep things simple, the easier it becomes to speak. Many participants have said that the challenge has helped them boost their confidence level and as a result they feel more comfortable speaking.
That’s great, but how much is this going to cost me?
It is free to join and try out, but to get the most out of this experience you will need to commit some time each day and really think about your motivation for learning your target language. Many people join because it is free, but very few actually commit to making a daily effort to invest in their own self-development. Wouldn’t you like to improve your speaking, not just for the sake of saying you can speak a language well, but because of all the opportunities that you can discover if you were able to hold a conversation or be willing to speak without fear of mistakes? You could make new friends from around the world, travel more easily, and even find new business contacts. There is a whole world of possibilities just waiting for you if you’re willing to make the effort to consistently improve your speaking on a daily basis.
What if this isn’t for me?
That’s perfectly fine. Some learners are not fully independent and would prefer to work individually with teachers and tutors or perhaps they are still shy or nervous about speaking. I understand that and if you join today, but later decide it’s not a right fit, you can unsubscribe from the daily emails. As the challenge is free to participate, you don’t risk much by taking part. It’s also important that you already have some learning experience with your target language as many beginner-level participants have struggled before with the variety of topics and vocabulary needs.