Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Cool Stuff For 2008

Hi, this is AJ. Today I want to talk a little bit about the coming year, about 2008, and what will be happening at Effortless English in the next year. I'm happy to say that we are working on new lessons. When I say "we," I mean myself, AJ Hoge, also Kristin Dodds, who is another one of our teachers, and Chris Moses, who is our newest teacher. We're all working on lessons right now, and I'm gonna talk a little bit about those.

Unfortunately, these things don't get finished as fast as we want them to. Now, I've been talking about making new lessons for a long time, actually. Some of our older members are probably thinking, "AJ, when are you finally going to finish? You've been talking about new lessons for months and months, and they're still not here!"

And it's true; I'm sorry. Unfortunately, I've been very busy. I'm really the only person who does Effortless English right now, and then when Kristin and Chris got involved, I've had to spend a lot of time teaching them and training them, especially with the storytelling method. So that's taking some time; and of course, I have to manage the business itself as well. The company is growing quickly, which is great. It's fantastic. I'm very happy that Effortless English Incorporated is growing, but that creates a lot of extra work for me that is not focused on teaching.

So I'm trying to juggle and trying to handle all these different things, and that's why it's taking longer than normal — longer than I want — to get more lessons finished, so my message is please be patient! People are emailing all the time. "AJ, we want more lessons! AJ, we want more lessons!" I've gotten a lot of good ideas about different kinds of lessons that people would like, and they've been fantastic ideas. I think our members are very creative and have a lot of great ideas; and I hope to do most of them or all of them at some time in the future, but right now we're where we have to go a little bit slowly, little by little.

So let me talk about what we are actually doing now, what we're actually working on now, and what will hopefully be finished- I'm hoping in the next few months. So first let me talk about Kristin.

Kristin Dodds. Kristin Dodds is an excellent English teacher. I have taught with her, actually, at several different schools. We taught together in Korea way back in 1997. We taught small children, actually, we taught English to small children. Kristin is an excellent teacher. We are very good friends; we've known each other a long time. So she's already started helping me. Kristin is actually our customer service manager right now, so if you email — you have a question, you have a problem, if you email Effortless English — probably she's the one reading your email. Sometimes she sends an email to me if there's a big problem that I have to take care of, but normally she solves the problems. She takes care of them. So she is our customer service manager, and she's also a teacher.

She is working on the movie lessons. Now, all of you who bought my lessons have a sample movie lesson. I think there are actually two sample movie lessons on there, the beginning of a romantic comedy, a real movie; and we use the dialog, right? We use the talking, we use the story, the English in the movie to make our lessons. Why are we using movies? Well, because movies are excellent for learning real, spoken English. Okay, there's a difference between written English, the English you see in a book, and spoken, the English you hear on a street in America or England or Australia.

The style is different, the phrases are different, and even the vocabulary can be different. So movies are much better for learning spoken English. They're better than books. If you want to learn to really speak, if you want to — for example, if you want to come to the United States, and you want to come to San Francisco and walk around, and you want to talk to people on the street and talk to Americans and make friends, and you want to understand what everyone is saying, and you want them to understand you, well, then movies are better for that kind of English.

If you read a lot of textbooks, they're not gonna help you. In fact, I see it all the time here. When I was teaching at my school in San Francisco, so many people — so many students came from Asia, Latin America and Europe; and they knew a lot of textbook English, but they were very upset because here in San Francisco they could not understand anybody. They would sit at the bus stop, and they didn't know what people were saying. People were talking quickly, people were using strange phrases, strange vocabulary, different kind of pronunciation, nothing like the textbooks. So I feel bad because so many students have this experience. They come to the United States, for example, they think they know English well, they've studied many years with textbooks in schools, and then they're very frustrated because they can't actually communicate.

So that's why we chose movies as one of our next lesson sets because movies are really great for learning common phrases, common pronunciation, the way we actually speak to one another. Movies are closer. They're not exactly the same, but they're closer than a book.

So Kristin is working to finish the movies. We are about 70% finished with those lessons, so we have 30% more to do. We're working together, she's recording some of the new lessons, I'm still recording a few of them also, and I'm hoping by the end of February, maybe the end of March, that those will be finished.

We'll create a new website to sell them, and I will announce those lessons here on my Podcast and on my blog, and also those of you who get my email newsletter, I'll send out a message on that also. So keep reading the newsletter, keep listening to this Podcast, keep reading the blog. You will find out about the new lessons first. In fact, as a little bonus, you'll get a chance to buy those lessons at a discount. I will — when I announce the new lessons to the Podcast and to my newsletter, actually I'll announce it to my newsletter first — and the newsletter readers will get a very, very good discount on those lessons.

I want to reward my newsletter readers because I appreciate your attention, I appreciate that you let me keep sending you emails about learning English and about my lessons, so I appreciate that. I want to reward you, so I will be giving you a chance — you'll probably have one week. I'll send — first I will send a message to the newsletter; you have one week, and you can get a very, very good discount.

After that, I'll send another message on my blog and Podcast, and maybe my general email course, and that'll be a discount, too. You'll buy them at a discount but a smaller discount. Finally, we'll do the big announcement, we'll run some advertisements, and that will be normal price. So anyway, if you're listening to this, you'll have a chance to get those new lessons at a discount.

So that's the first set of lessons, the movie lessons. The second set of lessons that we're doing are being done by Chris Moses, who I mentioned. He's also a very good friend of mine, and excellent teacher, and in fact he also taught English in Korea way back in 1997. So Kristin, Chris and I, we kind of started together. We knew each other way back in '97, and we all taught in Seoul, Korea.

So Chris is making a set of lessons for lower level learners and also for people who want the most common phrases, grammar and vocabulary. So we're gonna call this "high-frequency English." That means the most common English. His lessons will focus on the most commons words, and phrases, and grammar. The things you hear in America, for example, every day. The things we say every day, the idioms that we use, the phrases that we use every day and the slang that we use every day. The words we use every day. So this is designed, these lessons are designed, to give you fluency practice so that you can practice these words and phrases, this common English, so that it can go deep into your brain.

Many of you, if you're listening to this, you might say, "I already know these common words." Probably you know them; if we gave you a test, you could tell the definition. You would choose the correct A, B, C or D. But the question is- do you use them correctly? Do you still make mistakes with the simple past tense? Probably. Most very advanced learners that I saw in my school, for example, that came from another country, they were — quote — "advanced". Very good test scores. Yet when they spoke, they made simple, simple errors, simple mistakes. They would use the past tense in the wrong situation or they would use the present tense instead of using the past.

So this is a common problem, actually, it's a very common problem because people know about English, they study the rules, they do well on tests; but that's a different kind of knowing. It's a different kind of knowledge than deep knowledge. Deep knowledge means you know it automatically, you use it instantly, you use it correctly without thinking. For that, you need a lot of repetition; you need a lot of learning in a natural way with stories, with articles, with a lot of listening,... not reading rules. So that will be the focus of Chris' lessons.

I'm going to North Carolina this week; North Carolina is in the southeast part of the United States. That's where Chris lives, so I'm going to visit Chris with my computer and my microphone, and we are going to start making his lessons starting next Monday, actually. I will be there for two weeks in North Carolina, working with Chris to get a start on these lessons. Now, we probably won't finish in just two weeks, but I'm hoping we can make a lot of progress and get started, and I can train him with the storytelling method — that's the main thing I need to teach him. Once we do that, then he can continue, and he can finish the lessons, and again I hope he can finish his lessons maybe end of March, possibly April or May. So we'll have another set. When he finishes, we'll make a website for him, and again, I will announce his lessons first to my newsletter subscribers, second to the email course people, and finally to the blog and the Podcast.

Okay, and third, finally, I am working on my own new set of lessons. Now, I have a different idea about what I want to do with my next lesson set, my next lesson album. It's going to be different than the ones that you all have now. I've been thinking a lot, and I want to create a set of lessons, an album of lessons, that is very powerful, that helps you learn totally unconsciously. It means you don't have to think at all; it happens totally automatically. How I want this to happen is I want to create a story — okay, like a small book, a small novel, or maybe a small movie if you want to think about it in that way — but it'll be one big story. There'll be 10, 15, maybe 20 chapters. Each chapter will include the basic story, we'll have the story; and then there'll also be a mini-story, the normal listen-and-answer lessons for that chapter as well.

The idea is that — what I hope — is that you will focus totally on the story, not on the English language. I want the story to be so interesting, so different, that you focus on the story. You're focusing on the information, not on the English language, not on the grammar, not on the vocabulary. I want you to focus only on the story. What's happening? Who are these characters? Why, why did that happen? Who is this? I want you to be asking a lot of questions about the story, focused on the story, interested in the story.

If that happens, you will learn the vocabulary automatically. You'll learn the grammar automatically. You won't even know you're doing it. You'll think, "I'm just listening to this cool story in English," but in fact, you'll also be learning new words, new phrases, and getter grammar. But you'll never think about the grammar, you'll never think about the words if I do it well. That's my goal. Can I do that 100%? I don't know; I'll try, but that's my goal. More and more, I want my lessons to become invisible so that the English becomes invisible. I want you to forget that it's happening in English. I want you to be so into the story, you forget it's in English, that it's just like it's happening in your native language.

That's how the most powerful learning happens. That's how the deepest learning happens. When you forget that you're actually listening to English because you're so focused on the story and because you understand everything, that's when you really learn deeply, automatically. That's when you'll be able to use English, and you won't even think. You won't translate. It just comes out of your mouth. It's like, "HUH!" and then you say, "Wow, how did I do that? How did I say that? What happened?" That's what I want for you.

Now, my current lessons will give you that power also, but I want the next lessons to be even better. Much better. Much more focused on story and information, and let me do the the — let me do the English part, okay? If I'm smart, if I do the mini-story lessons correctly, you won't realize that you're learning English. It'll happen without you trying at all. That's the most powerful form of learning, and that's my goal for my own next lesson set.

Okay. Well, that's it, and those are our big plans for the beginning of this year, 2008. We've got three possible sets of lessons coming. We've got the movie lessons, which we're working on now; we've got the high-frequency, most common English lessons, which I will start with Chris next week; and then we've got my own lessons. They'll probably be at a high intermediate and low advanced level, and I am just now starting to outline and create the story.

So thank you for joining me. I really enjoy Effortless English. I've just had a fantastic time emailing you guys, talking to you, doing this Podcast. I've met some of the members when I've traveled, and in general, it's just been a fantastic experience this first year of Effortless English. I look forward to us growing even more in 2008, I look forward to meeting more of you in 2008, and please keep commenting on my blog, keep giving me your ideas. I love hearing from you, and my blog is the best place to contact me directly.

Okay. Have a great 2008. This is the year you will be fluent in English; this is the year you will speak English automatically without trying, without thinking, and without translating. You can do it. See you next time. Bye-bye.

Listen To This Article at:
The Effortless English Podcast.


hakki al saidi said...

Thank you very mach mr.AJ
And I ask you send to us some samples of your lessons

CuocSong said...

Thanks so much for all, mr Aj.
Your idea is great for 2008.
I hope I will see your album soon.
I have a real girl friend who also likes what You teach.
whatever You have teached and said I've also colected to her. And she loves me more and more each day as time gose by.
best regards!

Sri Agustiani Monoarfa said...

YOU ARE SO AN ENERGETIC and AN ENTHUSIASMS teacher AJ!! I LOVE THAT!!! You influeced me to study more and more, deeply and deeply!!!


Love, Sri.