What if I told you there’s an app hidden in your phone’s App Library that can help you improve your English speaking skills? I mean, maybe you use this app quite often, but I know I didn’t even realize I had it installed in my phone until recently. I’m talking about the Voice Memos (iPhone) and Voice Recorder (Android). This app can help you improve your oral skills because you will use it to keep a personal voice diary in English. If you are searching for ways to improve English speaking, this is a resource you should consider. Keep reading for tips on how to use a voice diary to learn English.
What is a personal voice diary?
We have already written about the benefits of journaling for an English learner. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend you to do so. In that post, we explained the difference between a diary and a journal. A diary refers to the record of events in a notebook while a journal is a notebook where a person explores those events along with feelings, thoughts, and reflections. Today we will explore the idea of a voice diary.
If you record yourself on your phone every day you will be able to keep track of how your oral skills in English are getting better. You can do that by telling how your day went, for instance. You can also look for writing prompts, which are questions or topics that can help writers start their writing process whenever they feel stuck. However, you will talk about those topics instead of writing a text about them.
The idea here is to talk to your phone on a daily basis. You will record it and listen to yourself later. I know listening to our own voice can be embarrassing, but I guarantee you it will help you with self-confidence while speaking English.
The numbers are in! A voice diary for English learners improves speaking skills
In 2016, a Turkish professor named Ismail Yaman published an article about a study he did with 12 English students at the Ondokuz Mayıs University in Turkey. He asked them to keep personal voice diaries and then studied how this habit could improve their English speaking skills.
He found out that students think speaking is a challenging skill because of their lack of fluency and excessive anxiety. Some of them also said they don’t have opportunities to practice the language in their daily life. Considering those factors, Professor Yaman asked them to record themselves and then analyzed it.
He then discovered that even though nothing compares to dialogue and interaction between people in order to improve someone’s oral skills, keeping a personal voice diary can definitely help. Students can benefit from this habit because they are able to self-assess their speaking skills and they can track their progress over time, which can help them keep motivated while learning the language. Even though students have a difficult time listening to their own voices, they usually get used to it.
Overall, keeping a voice diary can help them overcome the issue of lack-of-practice opportunities. It definitely prepares them for situations in which they will have a conversation in English and it helps improve self-confidence when speaking the language. You can read more in his study, called What If There Is Nobody Around to Speak English? Then Keep Your Voice Diary here.
Tips on how to get your voice diary started
Now that I have convinced you (at least I hope you are convinced!) that keeping a voice diary can be helpful, let’s get practical.
You need a voice recorder.
Nowadays, the easiest way to record yourself is by using an app on your phone. The good news is that you don’t even have to download a new app. There are some built-in apps to make recordings with your smartphone — Voice Memos (iPhone) and Voice Recorder (Android).
Try it out with this audio recorder!
Save these recordings and create portfolio of yourself.
You also need to establish a routine for making those recordings.
You can record yourself in the morning or at night. In the morning, it is a good idea to describe what you have planned for that day. If you rather record it at night, you can share details about how your day went. The important thing here is to try and record yourself every day.
Save the recordings with names that make it easy to remember details. For example, you can save it with the date and topic, like 12-15-2020 Christmas traditions.
After recording yourself, you should listen to your own recording.
I know it can be embarrassing to do so, but it is a great opportunity to pay attention to potential mistakes you are making and correct yourself. If you don’t like the idea of listening to your own voice, you can also make a WhatsApp group with friends from your English class and talk only by audio messages.
After a few months, you can go back to your first recording and I’m sure you will notice quite a difference. Besides speaking faster and clearer, you will also be more confident.
10 topics for your voice diary
- What is your dream job?
- Who do you admire most?
- Where will you be living in ten years?
- What is the scariest thing that has happened to you?
- Which holiday is your favorite?
- When do you like to take holidays?
- Who is your best friend?
- What did you want to be when you grew up?
- If you could repeat any day, what day would it be?
- What hobby would you learn if you had the time?
A voice diary is also a good way to prepare yourself for any proficiency tests you may need to take in the future. Both the IELTS and the TOEFL English exams have speaking sections. If you take the TOEFL iBT, which is the most popular version of the test nowadays, you will record yourself on the computer since there’s no human evaluator standing in front of you. I’m sure keeping a voice diary will help you with that!
Well, I’m excited to listen to your thoughts about this idea down below in the comment section. Tell me if you have ever had a voice diary and if you are excited to do so in English in order to improve your English speaking. Let’s get those recordings going, shall we?