Some time ago I sat down and started talking to myself. I talked for about something for one hour. That had not been my intention but when I finished I thought that it would be a great exercise for my students; or just a great exercise for anybody who doesn't want their English to get too rusty. Based on this experience, I created your first task this year. I believe that you can benefit from it, repeat it now and then and reap the benefits of your hard work.
TALK, TALK, TALK
Make a list of the current topics you have recently discussed with your family, friends or colleagues. The list shouldn't be too long - 3 topics would be more than enough.
Choose one topic from your list.
Set a time limit. If you are an intermediate level student, you can start from 5-10 minutes. The higher the level, the time limit also should be longer but try not too exceed 1 hour.
TiP: It would be a good idea to use a timer.
Talk on the topic for the set amount of time.
Do not finish earlier; if you lack ideas of what else to say, ask yourself an additional question connected with your topic.
When you finish try to write down the words/phrases you felt you were missing during your talk or frequent repetitions.
TiP: Do this immediately after your talk. Do not postpone this step as your memory might fail you the next day.
Check the words you didn't know in a dictionary and write them down.
If you notice you had problems with repetitions, write down the phrases you often repeated - then look for some different structures or synonyms; also write everything down.
TiP: Don't write too much. Having 10 key items in your notes is ok.
Repeat the task a week later but this time shorten the time. If your initial talk was 15min long, make it 7; if 20, make it 10 and so on.
TiP: You can have a look at your notes before your second attempt.
You can record this talk and listen to yourself afterwards.
You can do the same with other topics on your list.
Finally, mark your January task as done; comment on the task if you find it useful; seek your tutor's help if you have doubts about the challenge.
Written by Agnieszka Kansy