A very common question from various students comes every once in a while – “I know the grammar but I want to improve my fluency, how can I do it?”
The answer to this question is simple in essence, but maybe not so much in practice. In order to speak better, you must SPEAK!
In group classes, and even in private classes, the teacher should allow students to speak as much as possible of course. But, it is difficult in a class consisting of only an hour or 90 minutes, to give every student the due attention and speaking practice. There are many more ways to increase fluency outside your class.
In all major international cities nowadays you have what are called Group Language Exchanges, where people from throughout the globe interested in picking up a new language congregate and have a drink. In Madrid for example these events take place every night of the week, so really you have no excuse! Places such as J & J Books and Coffee (http://www.jandjbooksandcoffee.com/) in Malasana have numerous during the week.
If you’re a little less socially outgoing, why not arrange to meet with a native English speaker during the day for a coffee? Not only can you practise your English, but you may also find a few new friends! Sites such as (www.lingobongo.com) offer a section to find a person that you can exchange languages with. I refuse to accept a recent reasoning from a student that “there just isn’t that many English speakers living here!”
There really is no excuse, it’s just about not being afraid to go out there and not being afraid of new people or not being confident with your own level. You will quickly find that once you start speaking and increase your confidence, there’s no looking back.
Below is an article in Spanish that gives a great description of the best “Intercambio de Idiomas” in Madrid: