5 Reasons Your Spoken English is Not Improving

Improving spoken English is a common goal for language learners worldwide. While some learners make rapid progress, others find themselves struggling to see significant improvement. If you’re in the latter category, don’t be discouraged. In this blog post, we’ll explore five common reasons why your spoken English might not be improving as quickly as you’d like and offer practical solutions to overcome these challenges.

Are you feeling stuck after years of studying English, and feel your speaking skills don’t seem to get any better? I know this can be particularly frustrating when you’re preparing for IELTS where you have to talk to an examiner in real time.

Here are five possible reasons why your spoken English is not improving and the solutions to overcome these hurdles. At the end, I have a bonus tip on how to get unstuck.

feeling stuck

Table of Contents

  1. Low Motivation
  2. Inefficient Study Method
  3. Lack of Practice
  4. Fear of Making Mistakes
  5. Lack of Self-Belief
  6. Bonus Tip to Improve Your Spoken English

Low Motivation

Motivation plays a crucial role in language learning. However, many of us see language learning as a chore from our school days, something we ‘have to do’, rather than an engaging and enriching process. This lack of motivation can result in excess stress and low performance.


Try to change your mindset. By choosing to enjoy your study, you can actually start to feel positive about it and see an increase in your motivation.

Next, you could consider taking a trip abroad or joining an online language-learning community.

It may seem like a strange idea at first, but also choosing to take an exam like IELTS, can also really boost motivation. It can give you a structure, focus, and clear goal for your language learning journey. All of these are powerful in increasing your motivation.

In addition, you could invest in a book or an online course tailored to improving English speaking skills. Remember that the ‘retail therapy’ you get from investing in a course can give you quick improvements and long-term benefits.

A well-designed course has lots of benefits. It allows you to control the pace of your learning. You have no peer pressure, and you can get unlimited input and output, for example by watching and reviewing videos as much as you want.

What’s more in an online course like my GOLD course for IELTS Speaking, you get unlimited practice with others, via the online breakout rooms. These are online rooms where small groups groups of students practicing speaking with each other. All this gives you the much-needed output you need to improve.

spoken english

Inefficient Study Method

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to language learning. It is a highly individual process. However, if your study techniques solely involve learning vocabulary from word lists and working through grammar exercise books, it might not be enough.


Opt for a more contextual approach to learning vocabulary and grammar. This involves exposing yourself to diverse forms of English language content, including books, blog posts, podcasts, films and so forth.

Next, zoom in to understand specifics, and finally zoom out to read or watch again and grasp the bigger picture.

If you’re not implementing this approach, it’s possible you need to reevaluate your study technique.

the big picture

Lack of Practice

Have you seen some YouTube videos that say, ‘Don’t study vocabulary!’ or ‘Don’t study grammar’?

What they actually emphasise is that, in addition to studying, practice is equally crucial. Just as reading a book about swimming won’t make you a great swimmer, simply studying vocabulary or grammar isn’t enough.


Allocate specific days, times, and places for practice. Put them in your schedule and prioritise them. Don’t let others steal that time from you.

In addition, do different types of practice including: controlled, semi-controlled, and free practice.

  • Controlled practice may be just changing one word in a sentence.
  • Semi-controlled practice may be practicing one tense when talking about a specific topic.
  • Free practice is just that, talking freely on any topic using any appropriate vocabulary and grammar.
allocate time to practice English

Fear of Making Mistakes

Mistakes are integral to learning. However, many language learners see them negatively, hindering their progress. If you’re too hard on yourself for making mistakes, it’s like discouraging a baby from trying to walk after falling once.


Rather than viewing mistakes as wrong, see them as opportunities to learn and improve. Instead of telling yourself, “that’s wrong,” think, “that’s not quite right yet.”

self correction

Lack of Self-Belief

If you’re always comparing your skills to others and feel you’re ‘no good,’ it could shatter your self-confidence. Unfortunately, this comparison with others is all too common in today’s social media-driven world.


Avoid comparing your progress with others. Instead, compare your current skill level with your level a month ago. This can help you notice the improvements you’ve made and boost your self-confidence.

Bonus Tip to Improve Your Spoken English

Lastly, focus more on communication than just language proficiency. Pay attention to all the following which are all key aspects of effective communication.

  • Clear voice
  • Change in volume
  • Use of intonation and word stress
  • Use of emphasis
  • Body language

Remember, accuracy matters, but so does your ability to communicate confidently.

To sum up, enhancing your motivation, adopting a contextual study method, practicing regularly, reframing how you view mistakes, and believing in yourself can help you improve your spoken English significantly.

Also shifting your focus toward effective communication can also help you get unstuck and start making progress again with your spoken English.

Improve your English skill with this book now.

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