Thank you to our students, teachers and staff for supporting us in 2013. We wish you a very happy holiday time and the joy of communication through 2014.
These days you can learn English online. In fact it is one of the most efficient ways to learn the language when combined with real world practice, as some of the best English courses now exist in “the cloud.”
With the growth in internet television, it is also possible to learn to speak English online and achieve a neutral Standard English accent in the process. SpeechSchool.TV has an acclaimed English Accent course which has taught students from over 60 countries to speak English naturally and well.
SpeechSchool says that the best way to learn English speech is by going back to the 50 individual phonetic sounds in Standard English and learning them one by one and then in context. In particular, for migrants to English speaking countries, one of the key factors in how well they integrate and work in their new society, is their ability to pick up good spoken English that can be easily understood by others.
Learning good spoken English means that migrants do not feel so isolated and do not need to keep within existing ethnic groups. Being able to speak to people in the general population has huge benefits, because migrants can join clubs, Churches, societies and other groups along with having a much wider selection of job prospects.
An investment of time now in online English speech learning can make a huge difference to a migrant’s chance of success in their new country.
In addition, even when English is not the main language of a country, it is most often the main second or business language of these countries meaning that good spoken English is the fall back position when people do not speak the same language.
The human speech apparatus is one of the marvels of life. The fact that we can use complex language separates us from almost every other living species. Yes, there have been studies on dolphins and chimpanzees talking but we’ve yet to see them producing their own Broadway or West End musicals!
As human beings, we are able to speak over 4,000 different languages. The beauty with each of those languages is that the art of speaking is creative. Every word or phrase and the manner in which it is used is unique to each person, and this program is about empowering you to use spoken language at its very best.
Because of the way the human speech apparatus is constructed, even small children can learn to produce a couple of hundred different speech sounds clearly. Of course each language only uses some of the potential sounds and English (Received Pronunciation) uses just 50 of them.
The difficulty in learning a second language, for example ‘English as a second language’ (ESL) is that in coming to that language from your mother tongue, your speech patterns and habits have been entirely shaped by your first language. In particular the phonetic sounds you have learnt are based on your first language, so many of the 50 phonetic sounds in English will be very different to you, especially when the language you are coming from is very different to English.
Research shows that the critical period for learning spoken language is from birth to about 10 years old. After that the ability to pick up spoken language declines very rapidly, particularly after the age of 17. The reason for this seems to be that children and teenagers are not so ‘set’ in their first language. They are readily able to pick up and adapt to new languages through what is known as phonetic acquisition – a process of picking up new sounds and using them in language.
SpeechSchool.TV is a leading English Accent training institution that offers English learning on the phonetic acquisition model. The School says that speech and accent is an area of training that is often neglected. The SpeechSchool.TV English Accent course provides ongoing exercises and training that can retrain student’s speech muscles on the 50 English sounds while learning the rhythm and flow of International Received Pronunciation (a form of spoken English that is neutral and clear).
So when you want to Learn English and pick up the language readily no matter your age, it is as important to learn the accent and phonetic patterns as it is the vocabulary and grammar. In fact, the research findings from rapid language acquisition with children, show that this is not so much based on their youth or brain function but on their approach. Children tend to learn English by mimicking their classmates and those around them. Adults tend to study vocabulary and grammar in books. SpeechSchool.TV is one language school working to change this by teaching English through sound acquisition and ensuring clear English speech with a neutral accent in the process for its learners.
When it comes to teaching English globally, and in particular spoken English, there are two main standards: Received Pronunciation and General American. Received Pronunciation consists of British English pronunciation as used by James Bond and many BBC newsreaders and documentary narrators. General American is a fairly neutral form of Mid West American English and is used by many ABC and CNN newsreaders.
However what are the differences and which form is best used for students of spoken English?
Firstly, Received Pronunciation (RP) does have more sounds with some 50 identified phonemes. Correspondingly, General American pronunciation has less with 44 to 48 (depending on the analysis done). Secondly, different vowel phonemes are used in different words – for example in the word chance (or dance) – a long vowel is used in RP whereas a short one is used in American.
SpeechSchool.TV, a leader in online speech training initially offered both English pronunciation courses, the American Accent (based on General American) and the English Accent (based on Received Pronunciation).
According to the School, the majority of students signing up worldwide – even in some of their most popular markets like the USA and Canada, preferred to subscribe to the English Accent course in order to gain what they perceived as the most pure basis possible for their spoken English.
Moreover, practice demonstrated that when learning the principles of Standard English pronunciation it is relatively easy to adapt that to any English speaking environment, whereas the American accent tends to be more regionally based.
In 2010 the School made the decision to close the American Accent course in order to concentrate on a sole Master Speaker Standard English program for all learners wanting clear speech and a neutral accent regardless of their language background.
“The result of this learning process from offering both English and American courses,” reports the Course Director, “is that we now have a Standard English Accent course based on International Received Pronunciation. This teaches the 50 phonemes along the lines of Received Pronunciation but shows students how they can adapt their sound to maintain their cultural identity whilst speaking the clearest form of English possible. In our view this also represents the best possible process for those seeking accent softening and accent reduction when English is not their first language.”
Research has also suggested that a more pure English accent is preferred in the United States and Canada than any of the home grown American accents as it is perceived to be more sophisticated. According to SpeechSchool, international students are best to learn Standard English pronunciation and adapt it accordingly in the US.
Further research in the call center industry shows that Standard English has the lowest rate of errors and highest level of customer preference worldwide. This would further cement the view that the best option for English pronunciation training is to begin with the pure Standard English accent.
Becoming a superior education provider requires finding ways to improve learning outcomes and add value to student learning.
While course and curriculum directives are important, it is the ability to round education with other skills that can really make a difference in the learning environment and provide students with more to offer when they graduate.
For around the cost of a couple of text books, students can be offered a choice of programs that will transform their speech and enable them to work better with staff and other students.
● International Students:
When coming from a different language background, overseas students experience difficulty in effectively communicating with tutors, teachers and fellow students. This is most evident in situations where they have to speak in groups or present to classes or tutorials.
An online SpeechSchool.TV accent course will achieve two things: First it will work to neutralise the student’s foreign accent, helping them to feel more accepted. Second it will improve spoken English and impart clear speech, which will improve learning.
The recommended program for second language speakers of English and those wishing to gain a clear and neutral accent is the Master Speaker Program.
● Native Speaker Students:
First language speakers of English, their parents and future employers are looking for well rounded education from schools and universities. The ability to speak and present is an extremely important area in subsequent personal or professional life.
The SpeechSchool.TV Master Speaker Program can help to achieve clearer pronunciation and speech for native speakers, while the Master Communicator Program covers advanced areas such as making the most of your voice and public speaking.
Students from all around the world are currently using SpeechSchool.TV’s online English Accent learning program that employs video training to neutralise accents in spoken English. Many of these students have come to English as a second language. In order to reach their goal of gaining a neutral and natural form of English, understanding slang and where it comes from can really help.
Languages of course are not static, they are forever changing with use. English is one of the fastest changing languages due to it being the world’s global language and the basis for a large proportion of modern science and technology.
So where does slang come from? As a language is used in different communities and is influenced by changing technology, new words start to enter the lexicon. Younger people and technology are among the most powerful influencers. Teenagers and young adults seek to create their own identity and in Western cultures play the most significant influence on fashions.
In the 1960s, the sexual revolution in Britain led to many slang words entering normal usage which would have previously been considered obscene. For example ‘tosser’ and ‘wanker’ are now common slang simply used to denote an idiot. These words entered the language as slang when first used by younger people pushing linguistic and social boundaries.
In the same way, technology is influencing the English language. For example words like ‘spam’ and ‘bandwidth’ were originally tech terms but have now become common slang. Bandwidth for instance was originally a technical term from internet hosting but is now used to describe a number of situations where something is limited by space or capacity. When a person says “I don’t have the bandwidth for this right now” that means they don’t have the room in their mind to consider it.
English is a global and dynamic language, introducing new slang words from the sub cultures of youth and high-tech. Understanding slang and where it comes from can help speakers use and avoid it appropriately as different situations require.
You may not know, but the late Steve Jobs who helped create the iPhone was also renowned as an inspiring public speaker.
He possessed that most special ingredient – charisma, the ability to get people to follow him. Charisma may seem like a mystical quality but psychologists have actually broken it down into forces such as confidence, optimism, an interest in others, a passion for your subject and an ability to express it.
These forces in fact result from being;
(1) relaxed and happy, (2) loving your subject, and (3) wanting to connect with others.
Connecting with others is the key.
A female journalist once interviewed two wealthy and eligible men in England for a magazine story. After the interviews she was asked which of the men she liked better. Both were successful and attractive. But only one had real charisma.
“Well she said, the first gentleman made me feel like I was with the most important person in the world. But the second gentleman made me feel like I was the most important person in the world.”
Good presentations gain their charisma from making your audience feel like they are the most important people in the world.
So what can we learn from the presentations of Steve Jobs?
In her book ‘The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs’, Carmine Gallo outlines some key techniques. Let’s take a look in this blog at just a few of the key features:
1. The Power of 3
Analysis of his presentations suggest that Steve Jobs never tries to make more than 3 key main points. Why is 3 magic right number? It’s memorable for the human mind. It was never Goldilocks and the seven bears was it, or the four stooges?
2. The villain and the conquering hero
Great presentations are ultimately built on sharing stories. The best stories involve the conflict between good and evil, or a hero and a villain – the more treacherous the villain the better.
Steve Jobs would often begin with introducing the villain – for example, access to the internet never being truly mobile – and then he would reveal the hero, or the solution that would make your life easier and more enjoyable – the iPhone.
3. The care factor and the build-up
In the early part of his presentations Jobs seemed to focus on the key question, why should you care? Once he got the response, “yes, I care,” he’d then develop it to work towards a “wow, that’s amazing!” moment.
In the award-winning online Master Communicator TV course, by SpeechSchool.TV an entire lesson is devoted to more fully exploring the techniques as used by Steve Jobs. Get more information about this English Public Speaking course.
Every organisation wanting to lead its field is always looking for new ways to improve the way they do things. While external consulting, improving systems or a raft of other measures can help, it must also be remembered that an organisation is only as good as its people.
The ability and potential of each person within the organisation can be expanded through professional development courses on a regular basis. While many such P.D. courses, as they are known, are focused on hard skills such as retraining to use a new software suite for instance, in fact it is often those courses that focus on more personal skills that achieve the greatest overall improvements.
As anybody who has spent time in University and then experienced a successful and profitable career knows well, it is not so much what you study at the time but how your brain is trained to think from that study. Indeed, analysis of The Sunday Times Rich List, indicates that while a majority of Britain’s wealthiest individuals are tertiary educated, they have often strayed far from their field of study to build successful businesses.
A good and typical example of this is Martha Lane Fox who read ancient and modern history at Oxford University but then went on to build lastminute.com, one of Europe’s most successful online travel businesses. Ms. Fox has remarked in interviews it is the ability to think that is more important than undertaking a particular area of training.
Technology is also improving speed and availability for personal professional development courses. An example of this is the speech development and communication courses offered by SpeechSchool.TV. These courses make use of online video and an assessment system and have already been awarded internationally. By undertaking speech training, organisation members can improve their communication skills and be better understood in the workplace, creating improved efficiencies and outcomes.
The Master Communicator course at SpeechSchool.TV is one of the leading online video courses on the internet that teaches successful public speaking techniques through providing detailed examples and opportunities for assessment. This week at the Speech Success blog we caught up with 5 key public speaking tips taught in this course:
1. Capture audience delight in your opening
The most important part of your speech that you will craft is your opening gambit. This is powerful because it is from that opening that most of your audience will decide whether they want to go on listening to you! This first impression is vital as the audience gains a sense of whether they will be entertained or bored. Get a laugh or a little warm appreciation from your audience at this point and you’ll also gain the confidence you need to deliver the rest of the speech well. Use your opening to get attention with a story, question, major promise or surprise.
2. Generate credibility immediately after your opening
Once you have relaxed, entertained and got your audience on your side right from the start, the question that then goes through people’s mind is “what do you have to do with this topic and why are you the best person to be sharing with us about that?” Now that you have your audience’s attention you need to build credibility and provide your back story or credentials so they continue to trust you to tell them the rest of the story.
3. Build from points of lesser value to higher value, reaching a climax
Like a good story, the energy, intensity and power of your speech should build as you go. For example if you were talking about your involvement with a fast growing business, you would begin with the simple, early days processing radio orders from a garage, then build up to the growth through TV advertising and the employment of hundreds of people – through to the terrible collapse and bankruptcy – and the remaking of your life. The technique is that the points become more hard hitting as you build to the climax, building and intensifying audience interest as you go.
4. Ensure you come down from the climax with a denouement (explanation and unravelling of what happened)
Once you have built the climax toward the end of your speech, it is then important to unravel and explain what this means for you audience. This is the part where they are hanging on your every word to gain the moral of the story and the key piece of ‘take home’ information.
5. Finish your speech by making it clear what action your audience should now take or what changes they should make
This is important. The aim of any speech is to take an audience emotionally from their existing thinking about a subject (A) to new thinking (B) about that subject from your speech. At the end you must explain what you need the audience to do to embrace thinking ‘B’. It could be to take some action, or to change their mind on some issue. This is the chance to capitalise on all the arguments and material you have made in your speech.
The SpeechSchool.TV Master Communicator course provides further online video training and demonstrations on how to use and implement these tips for more effective public speaking.
SpeechSchool.TV is one of the largest online providers of speech training on the internet. In recent times they have found a growing market with organizations looking to provide a simple and cost effective form of professional development for communication training.
According to Management Consulting Firm Accenture, when a survey of executives were asked to rank which 3 skills were most valuable to their success in business: 61% identified communication skills followed by 40% technical and 30% analytical skills.
SpeechSchool says that communication skills training is the fastest, most effective way to help boost a team’s performance and online communication courses are a very efficient and cost effective way to do this. The School cites recent findings from the US Department of Education who reported that online learning environments actually lead to higher test performance than face to face environments.
The SpeechSchool system uses online video training and interaction with speech and voice coaches through an assessment system to drive learning outcomes. Currently their most popular program is their Master Speaker – English Accent course which has been proven to dramatically reduce foreign accents that may be impeding communication. This is particularly useful for call centres, customer service staff and personal relationship managers.
The School has provided professional development programs using their online courses to a variety of organizations around the world, from HSBC Dubai in the United Arab Emirates to Massey University in New Zealand.
For more information on SpeechSchool.TV’s online communication courses and professional development in New Zealand, the UK and around the world please visit the SpeechSchool site.