Mistakes are Okay!
Everybody has an internal critic, and he's preventing you from speaking!
He says, "That's a mistake!" and "You're not very good at English, are
you?!" and "Watch out for verb tenses!"
But did you know that your critic is wrong? Did you know mistakes are a good thing?
Let's say you've just learned some new vocabulary or sentence structure.
As you first start to use it, you will of course make mistakes. The
information is new and not so familiar. But you will also make many more
mistakes with familiar language. Why? Because you're so intently
focused on the new information, slips occur elsewhere. As you use the
new material, the mistakes become fewer and fewer.
Your teacher should pay attention to mistakes with the new language at
the start of the lesson. He should ignore mistakes with other, more
familiar language too. But as the lesson continues, and you become more
comfortable with the information, then he should correct other mistakes
that you make. This will help you link new language with old language.
But even later in the lesson, some mistakes can be a good thing. For
example, let's say that your class has an extended discussion on
vacations for the final part of the lesson. You'll mix the new
information with previously learned material in new and dynamic ways. In
effect, you personalize the language, respond to questions, direct the
conversation to areas of interest, and use English that best meets your
needs. Mistakes naturally result here because you take risks. You
experiment. You move beyond the strict and narrow confines of the target
language, and open up new possibilities with English. This is a good
thing, a very good thing.
Remember: Your critic is wrong. Ignore him. Focus on speaking because mistakes aren't so bad.