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English Trauma

There I was, in an English class, in Japan.


The Japanese teacher was standing in front of (av) a class, of middle school students. The
students were young and eager. I sat to the side, watching.
The teacher wrote an English sentence on the blackboard: John is taller than Mary. Then
she began to talk in Japanese. As she talked, she circled different words of the sentence. She
circled the word John with blue chalk. She talked, and talked, and talked.... in Japanese...
as she pointed to the word John.
The students opened their notebooks (der notbks) and began (bigaen) writing. The teacher
also began writing more on the board, in Japanese. Long sentences in Japanese. Then she
pointed to the word John again.
I couldn't understand Japanese and I wondered, What is she talking about? How can she talk
so much about just one word? Its just a name
Finally, the teacher circled the word Mary. Then she started (sta-rid) talking again, in
Japanese. She pointed to the word. She wrote long notes in Japanese. The students wrote,
and wrote, and wrote in their (er /der) notebooks (notbks). They looked (lukt) serious
(srias) and a little confused. The teacher continued talking-- always in Japanese.
Finally, after almost 10 minutes, she finished (finicht) explaining the word Mary (in Japanese).
The students were now looking stressed (strest), and tired.
The teacher underlined the word is next, using white chalk. Then, she did it again -- talking,
talking, talking, talking, talking, and talking, in Japanese. Writing, writing, writing, and writing...
in Japanese.
This continued, for the entire class. She eventually circled taller and than with green chalk,
and talked for over 20 minutes, about these two words. By the end, of the class, the young
students were tired, stressed, and totally (tourali) confused.
In 50 minutes, they had heard only one sentence in English, repeated only one time. In that
same time, they had heard the teacher speak Japanese, for nearly 49 minutes.
I couldn't believe it. However, the sad truth, is that this was a typical, English class. Everyday,
the students listened to their (er) teacher, explain sentences, in Japanese.
After three years of English classes, none of the students, could speak even simple English. All
of (ol-av) the students hated (hetd) English. The classes were stressful. The tests were
complicated.
Every day they analyzed very complex (Kam-pleks) grammar rules. Every day they
memorized, long lists of English words.

Unfortunately, many English students, in many different countries, have had similar
experiences. Because they learned (lrnd) English this way, they believe English is difficult
and complicated. They have no confidence with English. They feel stress every time they hear,
or try to speak English. One student called this feeling, English Trauma.

The Causes of English Trauma


What causes English Trauma? Why do so many students feel nervous, when they try to speak
English? Why do so many students have trouble speaking English?
Its not the students' fault. English trauma is caused by schools, not students. Specifically (spe
sfkli), English trauma, is caused by specific teaching methods (medzed).
These methods confuse students and create stress. These methods damage students ability (a
bleri) to speak well. These methods are ineffective--they are failures.

Trauma Cause 1: Analyze & Memorize


Traditional English teaching focuses on analyzing English grammar and memorizing English
words. In the typical class, students spend most of their time (av der taim), listening to
explanations in their own (on) language (not in English). During almost every class, the
teacher focuses on grammar points--complicated rules, about the structure (strkchr) of
English. These rules are very difficult to use and remember. In fact, during a normal
conversation, at normal speed, these rules are IMPOSSIBLE to remember and use correctly. It
simply takes, too much time, to remember all of (ol-av) these rules, while listening and
speaking at full speed.
Thus (s), students learn to pass grammar tests. They sometimes learn to read and write
well. But they rarely learn to speak easily and quickly.
Likewise, a lot of (a-lat av) time is spent memorizing English words. Typically, students must
memorize, long lists of vocabularyand translations. Students learn to
(fchnt-li) memorize
many words for a test. After the test, they forget most of them (most- av dem).
The result, students who do very well on grammar and vocabulary tests, but cannot understand
normal English speech, and, cannot speak easily and quickly. Because of this (des), most
English students, feel very nervous, about speaking. They have no confidence. They feel more
comfortable (kmftbl) taking a test, than (n) having a real conversation.

Trauma Cause 2: Speak Dammit! (Carajo, rayos, maldita sea)


Traditional teaching methods focus on, output. What does (dz) this (s) mean? It means,
that most schools want students to immediately produce English. In other words, they force
students to write, to take tests, and sometimes to speak.
For example, in that Japanese class, the teacher sometimes put the students in small groups.
She then told them (in Japanese), Practice using comparatives (kmpartiv). Each student
say a sentence in English, comparing two other students. The students always looked

confused and nervous during these (iz) activities.


This kind of speaking is unnatural. It is stressful.
Of course, we all want to speak English. The problem--traditional classes force students to
speak too soon, before they are ready. Also, they force students to speak in totally unnatural
ways.
Language research (rserch) shows (oz), that understandable (ndr-stndbl)
input, is the key, to speaking well. In other words, you need to listen to a lot of natural English,
BEFORE you can speak easily and quickly. The more you listen, the better, you eventually
speak.
There is also an emotional problem. When teachers force students to speak, when they are
not ready, students become very nervous. This feeling is repeated (rpitd) and
strengthened (strei-nd), again and again. Eventually, the student feels stress, every time
they try to speak English! In other words: they get, English Trauma.
Trauma Cause 3: You're Stupid!
Traditional English teachers, love to correct errors. You take a test, and the teacher identifies
(adenfa) your errors (errs). You try to speak, and immediately your errors are identified
and corrected.
In many classes, students are forced to speak, while the whole (jol) class listens. Of course,
this makes the student feel very nervous. However, it gets even (ivn) worse. As the student
speaks, the teacher will sometimes identify their (der) errors and correct them--while the whole
class listens.
Of course, this feels terrible. Its embarrassing. Its super stressful. It makes the student feel
stupid.
And its doesn't work. Research shows that error correction has NO EFFECT on accuracy
(akiuerasi). That's right-- absolutely no effect. For example, we divide a class into two groups.
In group 1, the teacher constantly corrects, every error, the students make.
In group 2, the teacher never, corrects errors.
At the end of one year (at di end af uan ir), we test, both groups of students. The result (every
time): there is NO difference, in accuracy (akiuerasi)... NO difference, in the number of errors
that students in each group make.
Error correction, seems logical, but the truth is--it is totally ineffective.
In fact, error correction is worse, than ineffective-- it actually damages, the students.
There is another result, we find, when we compare, Group 1 and Group 2: They both (bo)
still make, the same number of errors, BUT, Group 1 speaks more slowly.
In other words, error correction kills fast speech. Error correction causes students, to think
ABOUT English. Error correction causes students, to always analyze and translate, before they
speak.

These students cannot speak English easily and quickly.


Bored, Stressed, and Confused
Here (hr) is the result, of traditional English teaching:
A student who is bored, who thinks that English is boring. A student who is stressed, who feels
nervous every time they try to speak English. A student who is confused, who thinks that English
is very difficult and complicated. A student who has good tests scores, but cannot understand or
speak well.
And usually: A student who quits, who believes they cannot and will not, ever speak English
well. A student who thinks, I'm not good at English.
In other words, a student with English Trauma.

Learning languages Like Children


By Dr. J. Marvin Brown
In 1984, the American University Language Center, in Bangkok, started using a new approach
to teach the Thai language. The method is called The Listening Approach'. In more recent
years, its (has) become known as Automatic Language Growth'.
The method (medzed) says, that any attempt to speak (or even think about language), before
automatic (oramrkli) speaking comes, will cause damage and limit final results! In other
words, the method uses, a very long "silent period".
During the "silent period", students focus only on listening. After 6 - 12 months of intensive (n
tensv) listening, students begin to speak spontaneously and naturally-- without effort and
without thinking!
ONE - THE CHILD'S SECRET
Everyone knows, that when people move to a new country, the children will eventually speak
the language natively (nedvli), and, the adults won't. The normal explanation, is that children
have a special talent' that they lose, as they grow up.
Teachers said, that for adults, languages (lwdy) should be taught (tt) and studied
(stdid), instead of (nsted af) learned naturally (ntchrli). But, are we any better with
present language teaching? Why, for example, do adults in Central Africa, do better, when they
move to a new language community (kmiuunri), than our modern students do? Could it be,
that early teachers were mistaken? Maybe adults can do what children do. Maybe it's just adult
behavior (not lack of talent) that prevents them from succeeding.
THE (da) MISTAKE Children can do something that adults cannot.
THE (di) UNASKED (naskt) QUESTION What (wt) would (wud) happen, if an adult, were
(wr) to just listen for a year without speaking?
OUR ANSWER (nsr) Both adults and children can do it right, but only
adults can do it wrong (r)
Imagine (myn) a 4 year old child, and an adult, reacting to somebody talking to them in a
foreign (frn) language (lwd).The child, most often just listens, while the adult, usually
tries to talk (tk) back.
Now imagine that not trying to speak' was the child's secret. It makes sense that listening to
things that are always right, would build the language right, while saying things that are always
wrong, would build it wrong.
What would happen if adults were to do the same thing children do, (that is, just listen for a
year without trying to say anything).

In 1984, the AUA language center in Bangkok started doing exactly this in its Thai classes. The
students just listened for as much as a year (aseiir) without speaking at all (t-o:l). We found
that adults get almost the same results that children do. If adults understand natural talk, in
real situations, without trying to say anything, for a whole year, then, fluent speaking with clear
pronunciation (prannsien) will come automatically (oramrkli).
It seems that the difference between adults and children, is not that adults have lost (lst)
the ability (ableri) to do it right-- but that children haven't yet gained (uend) the ability to
do it wrong, (that is, to destroy it (dstr) with forced speaking).
Forced speaking damages (dmdes) adults. Consciously (knsli) thinking of one's
sentences (sentnses)with translations, rules, substitutions (sbsttun), or any other kind
of thinking, prevents you from speaking like a native (nedvli).
Natural speaking (speaking that comes automatically) won't cause damage (not even when it's
wrong). The damage doesn't come from being (bi) wrong; it comes from thinking about the
language.
What we're suggesting (sdesting) is this. The reason that children always end up as
native (netv) speakers, is because they learn to speak by listening. And the reason that
adults don't, is because they learn to speak by speaking.
Adults talk too much.
The formula is this: Listen', Don't speak', and Be patient' (pent). And now it appears (
prs), that this is not only the child's secret. It's everybody's secret. And while children do it
more faithfully (fefli) adults can do it faster.
TWO - HOW ALG (AUTOMATICALLY LANGUAJE GROW), WORKS
Most language teachers, are constantly telling their (er) students to try to speak as much as
they can, and to think carefully before they say anything, so they'll get it right. And now, I'm
saying that this kind of speaking and thinking is the exact thing that prevents adults from
learning languages well.
THREE PUTTING ALG IN THE CLASSROOM
We look at children who have moved to a new country, and we see them listen, laugh, and
stare. The child's secret; ears open, mouths (ma) shut, no tests. They become near- native
within two years. Then we look into language classrooms around the world, and we see just the
opposite; ears practically closed (the students use their eyes instead), mouths open, and a lot of
tests. Very few of these students become near-native.

Two things are needed for modern students.


First, they need experiences in the language that are so interesting (fun, exciting, suspenseful
(sspensful), etc. that the students forget that a new language is being used
And second, the students understanding must be high enough (nf) to
learn - and this means 80-100% from the very first day!
It takes a lot of work to train teachers to be both interesting and understandable. But it is the
secret to success! (skses). Interesting and understandable listening, and a long "silent
period", is the key to speaking like a native.

Kick Ass with English


I want you to kick ass with English!
"Kick ass" is a very common slang phrase, and one of my favorites. It has two meanings,
depending on the situation.
In this situation, it means to succeed or to do a fantastic job. For example, if you do very well on
a test, you can say, "I kicked ass on that test".
So, to "kick ass" with English means you do very well with English -- you have a big success
with English.
"Kick ass" can also mean to beat or defeat someone. For this meaning, we usually add an
object. For example, if Arsenal beats Manchester United, we can say "Arsenal kicked
Manchester U's ass".
If I play a video game with my friend and I win, I might laugh and say,
"I just kicked your ass"! This means that I just defeated him.
So, this year, I want you to "kick ass" with English!

A Kiss
"A Kiss" is the name of the first Lesson Set on the Effortless English Club Album. The central
story for "A Kiss" is about a boy who gives his car to a girl to get a kiss from her.
"A Kiss" is a mid- beginner level lesson. The vocabulary is simple. I speak quite slowly in this
lesson set. I pronounce more carefully and clearly.
Many intermediate and advanced members may want to skip this lesson. They might think,
"This is much too easy for me." But I think that is a mistake.
In my experience, most advanced English students NEED simple practice with very basic
English. I have taught many students, for example, who have large vocabularies and great
TOEFL scores--but who constantly make mistakes with common past tense verbs.
For example, many advanced students will use "go" when they should use "went". They know
that "went" is correct, but "go" is stuck deep in their brain. They know the grammar rules, but
they do not FEEL the grammar automatically.
To correct these very basic speaking problems, you need to use the easy lessons. These
lessons will teach you to use correct grammar automatically. You'll also learn to use common
vocabulary in the correct way-- without thinking.
Remember, Effortless English is a DEEP LEARNING system. Just knowing a rule or definition
isn't enough. You probably know most of the rules, but you still constantly make mistakes when
you speak. You don't need to know rules, you need to FEEL the correct forms Deeply and
Automatically.
I recommend that ALL members start with The "A Kiss" Lesson Set. And I recommend that ALL
members use every Lesson Set for a full week (or more). By listening to the lessons and

answering the questions, you learn deeply, and teach yourself to speak correctly without
thinking. English speaking becomes AUTOMATIC.
So, whether you are a beginner... or have a huge English vocabulary... start with "A Kiss"!

Storytelling
TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling)
"Suppose you want to remember a list of words... you will more readily remember the words if
you make a sentence or sentences connecting the words in the form of a short story. You would
remember it even better if the story was easy to visualize and best of all if you could picture a
story that was dramatic, or vulgar, or comic, or in some way involved your emotions.
A story is in fact a good mnemonic, and the more elaborate the story the better. A story links
words to be remembered and it causes you to build up scenes that have visual, aural, and
sensory associations for you." (Collin Rose, 1985)
While Effortless English is simple, it is also, in fact, designed according to researchproven methods. The major emphasis of the Effortless English approach is to help students
acquire English thoroughly and effectively.
One way to do this is with mini-stories. At first glance, the mini- stories may seem silly. They
are usually kind of foolish and are quite simple. Another thing that may seem strange is that I
ask a lot of questions as I retell the story. These questions can seem redundant, ridiculously
easy, or pointless. But they have a purpose.
The mini- stories are structured to help you more deeply remember the new vocabulary. I use
silly or exaggerated stories because they are easier to visualize; and visualization aids memory.
I use short and fairly simple stories because they are also easier to remember and picture.
They are also easier for the learner to repeat and retell.
The questions, likewise, have a purpose. First, the questions provide (proporcionan) more
repetition of the target (objective, purpose) vocabulary. Repetition is important.
Various research shows that we need to hear and see a new word about 30+ times, in a
meaningful (significant, significativo) and understandable (comprensible) context (situation), to
remember it and be able (pueda) to use it. The questions increase your exposure to (contact
with) these new words-- getting you (llevndote) closer to the needed (necesarias) 30+
repetitions.
Another purpose of the questions is to force your brain to participate in the story. As you listen
(mientras escuchas), you should try to immediately answer the questions as I ask them (como
les pregunto). This will trigger (activate, turn on) your memory more quickly than if you just

passively

(not actively, without energy or action) listen.

By working through (a travs) all of the Effortless English system you will learn new words,
phrases, and grammar forms more thoroughly. Read the articles and scan the word list. Listen
to the articles several times. Listen to the vocabulary lesson a couple of times. Listen to the
mini- story several times- and quickly answer the questions as I ask them. After completing the
mini-story, stop your iPod and try to retell the story out loud, in your own words- trying to use the
new vocabulary as much (como) as possible (sea posible).
By following all the steps, you will learn the new material thoroughly and completely -- not just at
a surface level.
You will then find it much easier to actually (realmente) use what (lo que) you have learned.
Good luck!

Success Stories
"I would like to say you're fanstastic. Just through a few lessons If feel more confident in
speaking English. Two weeks ago we had a party celebrating Christmas Eve, and I met two
Canadians and I said hello to them. You know they turned around and asked me: "Where did
you learn to speak English?"
I think that my pronunciation was the same as theirs so they were surprised. And one more
thing, I watched TV on an Australia network and can you imagine that I was able to understand
what they said-- almost all of the news about an ancient culture... and recent news about the
new coach for England's football team (Capello). I am so happy and am enjoying my natural
improvement. Thank you so much. God bless you." --Ha Nguyen
I love success stories! Every week, we get emails from excited English learners. I really
appreciate these emails.
To be honest, they make me very happy- - and they motivate me to keep improving. When you
send me an email like this, I feel very happy. It feels good knowing that so many people are
using our English conversation lessons to speak excellent English! Its great! Congratulations to
all of you!
This is why I started my own English teaching company. I wanted to help enthusiastic students. I
wanted to make and sell my own lessons. I wanted to encourage students to enjoy English, to
improve quickly, and to feel happy.
Because Im very busy now, I sometimes don't realize how much we are helping. Your emails
help me to remember. Your happy emails energize and excite me... and make me want to help
more students.
In the future, I will include more member emails on this blog. I try to put member comments on
the Effortless English Homepage, but we get too many emails to include them all. So I'll start
adding them here.

If you have an English success story, email me! Tell me what you did and how you improved. If
your email is great-- I'll include it here on my blog. If you send a picture of yourself, I'll also
include your picture :)
Thanks for all your great emails.
Email your success stories to me at: ajhoge@effortlessenglish.org
Put "Success Story" in the subject line.

The Key To Excellent English


What is the most important English skill? What skill must you have to communicate well?
Obviously, number 1 is Fluency. What is fluency? Fluency is the
ability to speak (and understand)
English quickly and easily... WITHOUT translation. Fluency means
you can talk easily with native speakers-- they easily understand you, and you easily
understand them. In fact, you speak and understand instantly.
Fluency is your most important English goal.
The research is clear -- there is only ONE way to get fluency. You do not get fluency by reading
text books.
You do not get fluency by going to English schools. You do not get fluency by studying
grammar rules.
Listening Is The Key
To get English fluency, you must have a lot of understand able repetitive listening. That is the
ONLY way. To be a FANTASTIC English speaker, you must learn English with your ears, not
with your eyes. In other words, you must listen. Your ears are the key to excellent speaking.
What kind of listening is best? Well, it must be understand able and must be repetitive. Both of
those words are importantUnderstand able and Repetitive.
If you don't understand, you learn nothing. You will not improve.
That's why listening to English TV
does not help you. You don't understand most of it. It is too difficult. It is too fast.
Its obvious right? If you do not understand, you will not improve.So, the best listening material is
EASY. Thats right, you should listen mostly to easy English. Most students listen to English
that is much too difficult. They dont understand enough, and so they learn slowly. Listen to
easier English, and your speaking will improve faster!
Understanding is Only Half The Formula.
Understanding is not enough. You must also have a lot of repetition. If you hear a new word only
once, you will soon forget it. If you hear it 5 times, you will still probably forget it!

You must hear new words and new grammar many times before you will understand them
instantly.
How many times is necessary? Most people must hear a new word 30 times to remember it
forever.
To know a word and instantly understand it, you probably need to hear it 50-100 times!
That's why I tell my students to listen to all of my lessons many times. I tell them to listen to the
Mini-Stories, the Vocab Lessons, The Point-of-View Stories, and the Audio articles everyday. I
recommend that they listen to each lesson a total of 30 times (for example, 2 times a day for
two
weeks).
So, the two most important points are: listen to easier English and listen to each thing many
times.
Powerful Listening and Excellent Speaking
1. Practice? Narrow Listening? Narrow listening? Means listening to many things about the
same topic. This method is more powerful than trying to listen to many different kinds of things.
Students who listen to similar things learn faster and speak better than students who listen to
different kinds of things.
For example, you can choose one speaker and find many things by him. Listen to all of his
podcasts, audio books, and speeches. This is powerful because all speaker shave favorite
vocabulary and grammar. They naturally repeat these many times. By listening to many things
by the same person, you automatically get a lot of vocabulary repetition. You learn faster and
deeper!
Another example is to choose one topic to focus on. For example, you could read an easy book,
listen to the same audio book, listen to a podcast about the book, and watch the movie.
I did this with my class in San Francisco. We read? Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Then
we listened to the audio book. Then we watched (and listened to) the movie. Then we listened
to interviews with actors in the movie. My students learned a lot of vocabulary in a short time,
and their speaking improved very quickly.
2. Divide Your Listening Time
Which is better: to listen for two hours without a break, or to divide that time during the day?
Well, dividing your listening time is best.
By dividing your time throughout the day, you remember more and learn faster. So its much
better to listen 30 minutes in the morning, then 30 minutes in the car or train, then 30 minutes
coming home from work, then 30 minutes before sleep. In fact, that is the exact schedule I
recommend to my students!

3. Use an iPod or MP3 Player


iPods are fantastic. You can put a big listening library on one. Then you can carry your English
lessons everywhere. You can learn English while walking, while shopping, in the car, in a train,
while cooking,..
With an iPod or MP3 player, you dont have to worry about CDs.
Also, you can find a lot of English
listening on the internet. You can find lessons, stories, podcasts, TV shows, interviews, and
audio books. Simply download the audio, put it on your iPod and learn English anywhere!

4. Listen To Movies
Movies are great for learning English BUT you must use them correctly. Dont watch all of an
English movie. You will not understand it, and therefore you will not learn anything.
Only watch one scene or segment per week (maybe 2-3 minutes). Follow this method:
a) First, watch the scene with subtitles in your language. This will help you understand the
general meaning.
b) Second, watch the scene with English subtitles. Pause. Use a dictionary to find new words
you dont understand. Write the new sentences in a notebook.
c) Listen to the scene a few times, with English subtitles. Do not pause.
d) Listen to the scene a few times, without subtitles.
e) Repeat a) - d) everyday for one week.
On the second week, go to the next scene/segment and repeat again. It will take you a long
time to finish a movie. Thats OK, because you will improve your listening and speaking VERY
FAST. This method is powerful-- use it!
5. Read and Listen at the Same Time
Listening and Reading together are very powerful. While you listen to something, also read it.
This will improve your pronunciation.
Reading while listening also helps you understand more difficult material. Read and listen to
learn faster. After you do this a few times, put away the text and just listen. You will understand
a lot more and you will improve faster.
Always try to find both audio and text materials.
To start, you can read my blog and listen to my podcast at: Audio & Text
http://www.EffortlessEnglishClub.com

Another great idea is to get both a book and its audio book (ie.the above example of Charlie
and the Chocolate Factory?).
6 Months To Excellent English Speaking
Follow the above suggestions (and the 7 Rules in my email course) and you will speak excellent
English.
I have been teaching over 10 years. Every student who follows these methods succeeds.
Always! The Effortless English method is the key to speaking excellent English. It is the key to
fluency.
You only need 6 months-- 6 months and you will speak easily to native speakers. 6 months and
you will speak quickly and naturally. 6 months and you feel relaxed when you speak English.
You have tried the old ways. You tried text books. You tried schools. You tried grammar study.
It is time to try something new!
Good luck. I wish you success with your English learning!
A.J. Hoge
Director
Effortless English
Identity
Identity is a powerful thing. What we believe about ourselves- and how we define ourselves- will
determine our speed of progress, our enjoyment of a language, and our ultimate success or
failure with a language. A negative identity can destroy our motivation and thus our ability to
learn a language quickly and easily. A positive identity can do exactly the opposite- it can be
rocket fuel for our language acquisition engine.

Tony Robbins, an inspirational speaker, talks a lot about the power of identity. In a CD of his
called "Lessons In Mastery" he makes the following point:

"See, to get to where we wanna be we gotta take on a new level of thinking. We gotta know that
what we've done up until now has been great- there's nothing wrong with it, its fantastic.

But to get to the next level we've gotta look at life in a new way, and one of those new looks is
we gotta perceive ourselves in a different way. Not just our capability, but who we are right now.
Not someday. Today.

That shift begins the minute you begin to consciously define yourself, instead of letting the
environment do it for you. Because think about it- how do most of us define ourselves? Where
do we come up with our identity anyway? Well, it comes from a variety of environments but
maybe the best way to answer the question is to ask a different one: How do you define the
people around you? How do you know if they're a friend- if they're a good person or not?

The way we define other people. The way we discover their identity is we watch them. We listen
to them. We judge people's identity usually by their behavior. Isn't that true?

I mean, think about it, somebody treats you real harshly several times, each time you're around
them-- pretty soon you go, "I know that person. That person's a jerk."

You know what the challenge is? Once you decide that they're a jerk, and if that becomes a
belief- or worse, if that becomes a conviction where you KNOW they're a jerk-- nothing's gonna
change your opinion about it. Then even if they're a really nice person later on, they were just
having a horrible day, maybe they were being a jerk that day, but that's not who they are.

Once you define them that way, guess what, nothing they can do can change it.

So you gotta know that sometimes we do the same thing to ourselves. That's the danger. "

Tony makes a good point. Defining ourselves can be very very dangerous. For example, for
many years I defined myself as "a terrible language learner". I had failed to learn a language in
High School. In college I took two semesters of Mandarin and I didn't learn anything. I failed to
learn Japanese while living in Japan. And I failed to learn Thai while in Thailand.

These experiences built upon one another. Each time I started a language, I already had the
belief that I was a bad language learner. When I failed again, this identity was strengthened. In
Thailand, I began telling people that I was a good language teacher, but a horrible language
learner.

As long as I had that identity, I was sure to fail at any language, I tried. But luckily, I chose to
change that belief. I began to realize that I was not "bad at languages". Rather, I had had bad
teachers in the past, and had used ineffective (and horribly boring) learning methods when
studying on my own. I began to read research about language acquisition in order to become a
better teacher- but this information also helped me change my learning identity.

Then I began to talk to successful language learners like David Long and Steve Kaufman. The
methods they used were totally different than those I had tried. After one conversation with
Steve in particular, I had an epiphany. I was not a bad language learner. With the right
approach, I could learn a language just as effectively as Steve, or David, or anyone else.

I changed my identity. Suddenly, Spanish became exciting and fun. I've been learning it for four
months now, and I'm more motivated and more excited than when I first started. I'm making
steady progress. I don't know if I will be fluent in one year, or two years, or when-- but I do know
that within the foreseeable future- I will be fluent. I have no doubt that I will be successful. I have
a new, chosen identity-- I am an enthusiastic and successful language learner!

Another self-defeating identity we can create is a nationalistic one. If we identify too much with
our native country and culture, we will be closed to other cultures-- and thus other languages.
For example, if an American goes to Thailand and avoids Thai food, makes no Thai friends,
lives near Sukhumvit Road with other Westerners, and constantly complains that "America is
better"-- what chance does he have to learn the Thai language.

Likewise, if a Japanese student comes to America-- but lives with other Japanese people, has
only Japanese friends, eats only Japanese food, and constantly wishes they were back in
Japan-- what chance do they have of mastering English? Very little. And even if they do, it will
require a herculean effort of willpower.

To my mind, the whole point of learning a language is to connect with other people and other
cultures. Why would I learn Spanish if I didn't want to travel in Latin America, meet Spanish
speakers, learn about Spanish football, read about Latin American history, etc. I mean, I'm dying
to take a trip to Mexico, or Ecuador, or Venezuela. I've already got a long list of places I want to
visit. That's what makes the language interesting and alive.

But to do this, I must let go of my "I'm an American" identity a little. Of course I was born here
and I'll always be an American. But its only a small part of my identity. I like many things about
America, and dislike many things too. Likewise, there are many things I love about Thailand,
and Japan, and India.

I've changed my identity, from "American" to "World citizen".

These beliefs may not seem to be directly related to language learning- but they are. By
redefining our identity- as language learners and citizens-- we can radically improve our ability
to learn another language.

So forget your past beliefs. Forget past English "trauma". Forget all those boring classes and
terrible teachers and tests and grades and criticism. None of that matters. Its not you. You are
not bad at English. You are not bad at languages.

You are an enthusiastic, engaged, successful language learner-- if you choose to be.

Aesthetics Matter. Beautiful Things Work Better.


One of the best things about freelance teaching is that I'm able to choose aesthetically pleasing
environments in which to do it. I typically meet my private (face to face) students in local coffee
shops. These shops get the "beautiful things work better" thing. They have a warm, inviting,
cozy environment. The air is saturated with the smell of roasted coffee. Pleasant music
(classical, opera, "world".) resonates. There are large windows, ideal for people watching.

Likewise, I have a comfortable environment when teaching online-- my apartment. I open a big
window to let in the light and air, kick back, and enjoy myself.

The most frustrating thing about the educational "culture of ugliness" is that its so unnecessary.
Beautiful things don't cost more. In fact, funky fabulous furniture can be bought from thrift stores
for a fraction of the cost of the sterile stuff favored by most schools.

Most cities have an art/design school or two-- why not hire a couple of students to beautify the
school?

I keep asking these questions but I think I already know the answer. The "culture of ugly", after
all, is not an isolated problem. Its just a small component of the "school as factory" mentality.
This mentality goes very deep into the core of traditional educational. Its a mentality that values
control, standardization, numbers, detailed syllabi, tests, grades, authority, and obedience.
However nice the individual teachers and administrators are, they all become infected with the
"factory virus". Students, too, become infected.

This virus is very difficult to cure.

The safest and most effective cure is quarantine-- that is, removal from the school environment.
Though it takes time, learners who leave school and embark on self-directed study do recover.
They recover their curiosity. They recover their enthusiasm. They recover their motivation,
energy, and passion.

Teachers who leave often recover as well. They recover their humanity. They recover their joy.
They recover their passion and enthusiasm. They recover a sense of purpose and a love of
learning.

The power of environment and aesthetics goes well beyond a few touchy-feely vibes. The
environment has a massive impact on our expectations, our beliefs, and our attitude. A learner
in a school environment behaves much differently than a learner in a coffee shop.

Perhaps the simplest solution to the myriad evils of traditional education is simply this: leave.

The Grammar Joke


"Grammar is the biggest joke in language education" -- Jerry Dai

Wow. I love that quote. It's from a speech by Jerry Dai, that I found on Tony's blog. Jerry is a
Chinese immigrant who lives in Toronto. He speaks near perfect English and sounds like a
native speaker (though mispronounces the word "pronunciation" ;) Before mastering the
language, Jerry, like most foreign language learners, suffered through years of traditional
language education. As in most countries, Chinese educators are obsessed with grammar. As a
result, so are the students. Jerry arrived in Canada at the age of twenty with years of English
study under his belt, but he could not communicate effectively. Frustrated, he embarked on an
intense two year period of self study.

What did he do during that time? He did not study grammar or vocabulary word lists. He
focused on listening & reading & pronunciation.

David Long, director of AUA's Thai language program, by all accounts speaks excellent Thai.
Though I can't judge this directly, I've been told by many Thais that his speech sounds natural,
effortless, and fluent. How did he learn Thai? By listening intensely for one year. In fact, David
did not speak Thai during this entire "silent period". His Thai language program uses the same
approach-- students listen first. There is absolutely no grammar instruction in the program.

And then there's me :) By all accounts, I seem to have mastered English ;) How did I do this?
When I was a child, did my parents teach me grammar? Did I learn about the past perfect
progressive tense in elementary school? No. In fact, I never knew what the "past perfect" was
until I became an English teacher. Walk around SF and ask any native speaker "what is the
present progressive tense" and they will give you a confused look. Of course, any native

speaker of any language (unless they are a language teacher :( will usually give you just such a
response if you ask them grammar questions.

Grammar, especially the obtuse, analytical, incredibly complex mish-mash of "rules" used in
English language education, is not only useless-- it is harmful. Grammar, you must understand,
is an artificial construct. Grammar is a model. It's a model developed by academics to analyze
languages. If your goal is to get a Phd. in Linguistics, and become the next Noam Chomsky,
grammar is indeed something you should study intensely.

But if you actually want to master English, or any foreign language, grammar is not very useful.
Grammar study ingrains a lot of very bad habits. The worst is a tendency to analyze the
language rather than acquire it. I see this all the time with students-- they'd rather analyze and
debate minute grammar points than truly understand, acquire, and use the language in a natural
and intuitive way. Grammar study causes them to analyze and translate every utterance
producing stilted, unnatural, painful speech (painful for them and painful to the person they are
trying to talk to).

As Steve Kaufman, Jerry Dai, David Long and others have noted, the language education field
is filled with teachers and researchers who have never actually mastered a foreign language.
They also note that much of what passes for "language education" is counter productive, and
serves mostly to prop up the perceived authority of the teacher and school.

I have not mastered a foreign language. But I'm determined to master Spanish. As I reviewed
my learning plan, I realized I had a very clear choice. I could follow the advice of traditional
educators-- people who sound very authoritative, but who have rarely mastered a foreign
language themselves. Or I could follow the advice of people who have actually mastered
another language-- who did so as adults, and who speak the language fluently, naturally,
intuitively, and without hesitation. Since my goal is to speak Spanish, not obtain a Phd. in
Linguistics, I've chosen to follow the advice of the latter group.

We can all judge the end results for ourselves, in a couple of years. But I'm already convinced.
Already, I'm experiencing great benefits. I'm thoroughly enjoying the process of learning
Spanish. My motivation is growing week by week. I can feel my comprehension improving, even
though I'm still not able to communicate much. Perhaps most importantly, I can imagine myself
as a fluent speaker.

These things never happened when I followed the grammar-analysis approach.

The tragic part about this is that so many students blame themselves. They think there is
something wrong with them. They think, as I used to, that they don't have a talent for languages.
They think that mastering English (or another language) is impossible. They think the teachers
and schools are right, and therefore they must simply be bad students.

In the end, I agree with Jerry: Grammar is the biggest joke in language education.

It's a cruel joke.

Visualization Instead of Translation


As I listen to Spanish audio, I'm trying a new approach. In the beginning of my studies (starting
3 months ago), I usually translated what I heard into English. This was not a conscious decision,
its just what seemed to happen. As I heard the Spanish, I would try to translate it instantly to
English.

This was a bad idea. It was impossible for me to do this at a normal speaking speed. As such, I
ended up missing lots of words. Also, I realized that I will never train myself to think in Spanish if
I continue to translate back and forth in my head.

So recently I've taken a different approach. As I hear the Spanish, I imagine pictures in my
head. When I hear "puerta", I picture a door. I do this deliberately and consciously, trying to
avoid English altogether. It doesn't work perfectly. But since starting to do this, I've found that
my listening comprehension has improved. I'm able to understand more Spanish at a faster
rate.

To further enhance direct comprehension (without translation), I sometimes try a little "personal
TPR" (Total Phisical Response). As I hear the Spanish, I not only make images I also move my
hands around to imitate the action. For example, if I hear "controlar el ganado" (control the
livestock), I make a gripping gesture with my hands (control) then make horns on my head
using my fingers (livestock). Yes, it makes me look like a crazy person.

But this is San Francisco, city of freaks! So I can actually get away with doing this in public and
no one even looks at me!

I find that these gestures and images help the vocabulary sink in and help me move more
quickly to direct (without translation) understanding of the words.

Heretics
After a nice break from blogging, I took a peek at Steve's Linguist Blog and whoa. its jam
packed with fantastic and interesting posts.

One general theme I picked out was his frustration with the established ESL "Industry".
including most academics.

I share his frustration. In fact, I'm almost to the breaking point. Though I generally enjoy
teaching at the school where I work, I increasingly question the efficacy of the traditional school
environment.

Also, as seems inevitable, small, innovative, interesting places grow-- and without fail begin to
take on more bureaucracy and regulation. My school just hired a "teacher supervisor" who will
begin regular observations of our classes. Usually these sorts of administrative bureaucrats
favor the typical "industry" approach-- ie. plenty of tests, grammar-analysis, contrived exercises,
and artificial textbooks. I'm trying to give her the benefit of the doubt, but my gut tells me it will
soon be time to move on.

Luckily, my private teaching opportunities are suddenly taking off. I'm having an amazing time
working with The Linguist, and am getting private students here in San Francisco and on the
internet as well. What I love most about these opportunities is that they allow me to use and
encourage learning methods that are more fun, more interesting, and more effective. No matter
how much money I'm paid, I simply can't enjoy a job unless I feel good about what I'm doing
and believe its the best possible approach.

The ESL/EFL industry approach is not the best. Not even close. Its a massively expensive and
inefficient system. This industry has a horrible success rate. Learner (ie customer) satisfaction
rates are abysmal. Students are made ever more dependent on the industry. A massive number
of textbooks are sold at outrageous prices. Countless tests are created, taken, graded, and
passed. Students learn a dizzying array of complex grammatical terms.

And after all is said and done, their progress with English is much poorer than Linguist students
who pay a fraction of the price, ignore complex grammatical terms, have no teacher-bosses,
use no textbooks, and are extremely independent & autonomous.

For the price of an ipod, a $35/month Linguist membership, and access to a computer lab, a
learner can learn more quickly and effectively than one who spends $600+/month on school

fees, $50 for a textbook, and endures a tremendous amount of boredom and nonsense in the
process.

In the ESL/EFL industry, folks like me, Steve, David Long, etc. are considered heretics. So be it.
I long ago tired of wrestling with entrenched teachers and bureaucrats. I'm not very interested in
their dogma, to be honest. My concern and enjoyment lies with enthusiastic learners-- those
who are actively learning a language. whatever their level. These folks are where the energy,
innovation, and enjoyment lie. The school industry is peopled by the undead. Don't become one
of them.

Abandon industry dogma. Abandon expensive schools. Abandon irrelevant and boring
textbooks. Abandon large classes. Abandon teacher/administrator as boss.

In order to learn a language effectively and enjoyably, become a heretic.

Exceptions to the Mediocre Rule


The most common word my Japanese friends use to describe their English education
experience is "trauma". They speak often of the "trauma" of English classes. They cite this
"trauma" as the cause of their hatred of English and their low confidence.

Its a good word. Though "trauma" is too powerful a word for me, I realize that I too have many
negative experiences with traditional language education. These bad experiences relate to both
my language teaching (English) and language learning attempts (Japanese, Thai, Spanish).

In general, my encounters with the language education industry have been overwhelmingly
negative. Most schools and most classes, quite simply, are overpriced, ineffective, boring,
wasteful, and demotivating. At worst, they are "traumatic" for the learner, and for the
enthusiastic teacher as well.

But I have found a couple of exceptions. One is my current school in San Francisco. While it is
certainly constrained by some of the challenges that face all schools/classrooms, on the whole it
is an excellent place that I have loved working at.

Due to prior negative experiences, I admit that I have constantly been waiting for the other shoe
to drop. I've had a nagging feeling that things were too good to last, and eventually my school
would turn a corner and become just like every other ESL/EFL factory.

In my last post, I bemoaned the hiring of a new teacher supervisor and predicted that this was
the feared moment-- when the school's energy, enthusiasm, freedom, and innovation would die.
Time will tell, of course, but I'm happy to say that my dread appears to be unfounded. Today I
talked with the new "head teacher" for the first time and she turned out to be a delightful person
with interesting and creative teaching ideas. She in no way struck me as a typical grammaranalysis textbook slave. Quite the contrary.

Which just goes to prove that however bad our past experiences with learning or teaching, we
should not let them destroy our present attitude. We've got to let go of those experiences and
start anew. We've got to have faith in our own abilities. We've got to find renewed enthusiasm
for the language, and for learning & teaching.

After today's meeting, I am cautiously optimistic that my school will continue to be a great place
to teach. And while school is never enough by itself, I'm optimistic that it will also continue to be
a great place for English learners.

I base this optimism not so much on the new coordinator's linguistic background, or teaching
methodology, or experience. but rather on the far more important attitudes that she seems to
radiate: enthusiasm, flexibility, curiosity, energy, and creativity. For teachers and learners alike,
these traits are FAR more important than so called "linguistic factors".

The second exception to traditional schools that I've found is the AUA Thai program in Bangkok.
This program is as close to an "ideal language school" as I can imagine. To my mind, the
program is exactly what a school should be-- a fun and interesting source of comprehensible
input. In my observation journal for AUA, I criticized some of the weak points of the program.

However, I've rethought many of those criticisms. I now believe that most of those weak points
were my own, and not the school's. My problem was that I relied solely on the school. I showed
up with a passive attitude. I sat there and expected the AUA teachers to "teach me Thai".

But a school program, however good, is never enough. You must take control of your own
learning. I should have been reading and listening to Thai outside of class. I should have been
listening to interesting content repeatedly. I should have taught myself to read Thai, starting with
baby books. I should have had Thai friends create audio versions for those books. Instead, I
went to AUA and became frustrated at the slow progress. If I'd taken responsibility, the AUA
program would have been much more powerful for me. It would have been a more effective
learning resource.

Someday, I plan to return to Bangkok to finish what I started-- and do it right. Until then, I'm
applying the lessons I've learned to my current Spanish learning plan. This time, I'm taking full
responsibility for learning the language. I understand that I and I alone am in charge. I
understand that no one can learn this language for me.

I am the one who must put in the listening hours and reading time. I am the one who must find
content that interests me. I am the one who will make the process interesting and fun.

I, and I alone, am responsible.

The Flywheel
Today I went to Borders Bookstore at Union Square and scanned a booklet called (something
like) "Good To Great for Social Organizations". Basically, this book takes the principles of "Good
to Great", which is a business book, and applies them to schools, non-profits, etc.

Its a nice little book with great ideas.

The main thrust of the book revolves around the distinction between"bad", "mediocre" and
"good" organizations on one hand, and the truly great ones, on the other. The book outlines
what the author thinks are the most important factors that help an organization (or person)
become great.

Since GREAT teaching is my goal, I read the booklet with interest.

The first factor identified by the author was passion. Great organizations have a passionate
mission. They are driven to be more than ordinary. No problem. I've definitely got passion.

The second factor is what he called "Great People First". This means that great organizations
(companies, schools, whatever) make talent recruitment and retention their number one
mission. Stocking the organization with enthusiastic, excellent, passionate, amazing people is
the first and most important secret to eventual greatness. Systems, policies, rules, budget
issues, and all other concerns come way behind this principle.

Unfortunately, very few schools follow this principle. Most consider policies, rules, and
procedures to be far more important than teachers. Most will readily sacrifice great teachers to

preserve a bureaucratic rule, or a bosses ego. Most consider "policy" to be the driving force of
the school, not people.

But since I'm an organization of one, I don't need to worry about such problems!

The next factor mentioned struck me as very important. Great organizations (or individual
performers) have what Tom Peters calls a "dramatic difference". They don't try to be everything
to everyone. They don't do what everyone else does. They identify what they can do with total
excellence (Wow!) and that's what they focus on.

This is a principle that most schools (and teachers) neglect. They try to please everyone. If a
student complains that they aren't reading enough in class, the administration will send out a
memo to teachers to "do more reading". Then another student or two complains that they aren't
getting enough speaking time, so admin extols the teachers to "get the students talking". Some
students want traditional textbook grammar-based instruction and complain that there is too
much talking & reading and the textbook isn't used enough. So teachers are told to "use the
textbook more". But this makes many other students, who hate the textbook and consider it
useless, unhappy. So they complain.

In the end, the school does a little of everything and a whole lot of nothing. The results are the
same in almost every language school in America, Japan, Thailand, Korea, etc: Confusing
grammar study, heavy reliance on commercial textbooks, and a dash of contrived
"communicative activities". Boring. Ineffective. Mediocre. Useless.

Far better for a teacher, or school, to do what they strongly believe to be most effective-regardless of what student's expect or are used to. If a school is truly convinced, due to
research and practical experience, that comprehensible input is the engine that drives language
acquisition- they shouldn't waste time doing other useless activities just to seem more
conventional. Rather, to be truly great, they should focus on providing the most comprehensible
input possible in the most interesting and effective way possible.

This is my mission as an individual teacher. I've made some progress. But now I'm working on
the last principle mentioned in the book: The flywheel.

A flywheel is a metaphor for momentum. Imagine a large, heavy wheel. such as a gigantic
Tibetan prayer wheel. To get it to move requires great effort. At first, it takes tremendous energy
to turn it only one time. It happens very slowly. But you can't stop, you've got to keep pushing
very hard to get it to turn a second time. and a third. Initially, and for quite a while, it seems you
are making a lot of effort but not doing very much.

But very gradually, the wheel begins to turn faster. And faster. As it speeds up, it becomes
easier to push. The wheel gains momentum. Eventually it gathers tremendous energy and
moves at great speed. At this point, it only takes a little bit of effort to keep it going.

This analogy applies to any person or group striving for excellence. For example, as I push to
improve my teaching, its seems that I'm getting better at a very slow rate. I try many things, and
most fail. I get tired and frustrated and feel I'm making a big effort but not much is happening.
Progress seems to be quite slow.

But I have made improvements. When I compare my teaching now to my teaching two years
ago, I realize I have improved a lot.

The challenge is to keep pushing, keep improving, keep gathering energy, keep innovating &
trying things-- until these efforts gather momentum on their own. The trick is to push for
excellence even when nothing much seems to be happening.

This, in truth, requires faith-- faith in yourself-- faith that you will eventually build momentum and
make a breakthrough-- to greatness.

In short, stay focused on what you do best, maintain your passion, and persevere until you
make a dramatic breakthrough.

Don't settle for mediocrity.

La Liga Language Lessons


What is the number one secret to successful language learning? Of course, many factors
contribute. But which is top? Which holds the key?

After observing countless students, I can clearly identify the most important factor: a curious
and passionate connection with the target language culture. This is number one. Its more
important than study method, raw talent, intelligence, training, education, or any other factor.

My very best students almost always have a passionate interest in American (or UK or Aussie)
culture. I've got one student, for example, who loves the Beatles. She's crazy about the Beatles.
She's a musician and wants to write and sing songs in English. She's a great student.

The best students engage the culture. They become interested in the country's art, or history, or
music, or sports, or food, or dating norms, or geography.

Another example- my friend Wat, who is Thai, taught himself English on the streets of
Bangkok-- selling jewelry to foreigners. He never used a textbook and, in fact, can't read
English. Of course he listened carefully. Of course he was patient. But what sustained him and
drove him was a passionate interest in two aspects of American culture: Native American
jewelry- and American motorcycle culture. He loved to talk to tourists about these subjects. He
incorporated many elements of Native American art into his jewelry. Of course, he rode a
motorcycle and was a member of a motorcycle "gang".

Now he's in America, living in San Francisco. He seems to connect with people very easily
because he is naturally curious. He's already made several connections with artists and other
jewelers. He's already visited a Harley Davidson souvenir shop-- and is eager to visit a shop
that sells bikes. As he walks around the city, he's always checking out parked motorcycles-- and
chats with the owners if he gets a chance.

Contrast this with the students who obsess only about exam scores. Their progress is typically
slow, and even worse, its painful. They exhibit no joy or passion for the language-- or the
cultures/countries where its spoken. For them, English is a chore, an ordeal, a test score. Many
of these folks spend YEARS in test prep courses just to boost their TOEFL score a few points.
They are chronically frustrated-- and can often be heard to say, "I hate English". I can't help but
think, "Then stop torturing yourself and quit."

Which brings me to my own Spanish study. Recently, I've taken an enthusiastic interest in
soccer (ie. futbol). It started with the World Cup. Our school showed most of the games, and our
students were filled with passion. I got caught up in the spirit and began taking an active interest
in the players, teams, and tactics.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I bought the FIFA 2006 videogame for my Sony Playstation. It
hooked me. Wat and I have been playing it like crazy. Not only is it fun, but by playing it I've
learned even more about futbol-- especially the Spanish teams of La Liga.

This, in turn, led me to read about La Liga on the internet. I started reading articles on
ESPN.com, in English. However, since a new season just started. and I'm craving new Spanish
language material. I've decided to start reading & listening to articles about soccer-- in Spanish.
I copied the first story today-- a recap of the game between Barcelona and Celta Vigo. I used
Speechisimo to create an audio file (and used Audio Hijack Pro to convert it to an MP3). As I've

become more passionately interested in the Spanish League-- my desire to understand Spanish
articles and broadcasts has increased.

Likewise, I'm an avid traveler- which is why the travel, geography, and cultural articles in "Read
& Think Spanish" are so interesting to me.

The point? To learn a language more quickly, more effectively, and more thoroughly, forget the
damn test scores. Connect emotionally with the language-- with some aspect of the people,
places, cultures, & countries. Investigate new, strange, and different elements of those cultures.
If you are an English learner, become an American Football aficionado, or a maniac about
Harley Davidsons, or a fan of some kind of American music, or movies, or writing.

If you do so, you'll truly enjoy learning the language.

And your test scores will get better too.

Sigmund
This podcast presents a real, unscripted conversation I had with my best friend Kristin. I
recorded the conversation in her apartment.

Kristin has a cat named Sigmund (nicknamed Siggy). Unfortunately, Sigmund was diagnosed
with an incurable form of sinus cancer. My brother-in-law is a vet, and he said that there is no
cure for this cancer. Neither surgery nor drugs nor chemotherapy can cure it. He said that most
cats only live about three months once this particular kind of cancer is diagnosed.

Kristin has a very close connection with Sigmund. She's had him for over 13 years, since he
was a kitten. She was very upset about Sigmund's diagnosis. But she has decided not to give
up. Since traditional medical science has no cure, Kristin has decided to try to treat Sigmund
with natural herbs, supplements, and remedies. She researched cat sinus cancer on the
internet and found a few suggestions for natural treatments.

Here is Sigmund's standard treatment plan:

Transfer Factors: These are immune boosting components taken from cow colostrum (in the
milk) and chicken egg yolks. This supplement is supposed to boost the immune system.

Flax Seed Oil: Many natural vets recommended flax seed oil as an overall health booster. Some
claim that flax oil has anti-cancer and immune boosting properties.

Blessed Thistle: This is an herb. It increases appetite and boosts general health. Kristin got a
liquid tincture and adds it to Sigmund's water.

Licorice Root: This herb (also a liquid concentrate) thins mucus and thus helps Siggy breath
(since the tumor partially blocks his nose).

Digestive Enzymes: Cooking food destroys natural enzymes in it that aid digestion. So Kristin
gives Sigmund a digestive enzyme capsule after every meal.

Fulvic Minerals: This is a multi-mineral and trace mineral liquid supplement that Kristin adds to
his water-- which is supposed to boost his general health and immune system.

Raw Food: Kristin adds a bit of raw cat food (not cooked, bought at a pet store) to Sigmund's
canned food. The raw food is supposed to contain a lot of healthy enzymes, vitamins, minerals,
etc.

Other supplements she sometimes uses:

Q10: This is an anti-oxidant that boosts the immune system.

Shitake Mushroom capsules: Shitake mushrooms have anti-cancer properties.

Cat's Claw: This is an herb that boosts the immune system.

Essiac: This is an herbal blend that is rumored to have immune boosting and anti-cancer
properties.

Terramin Clay: This clay is rich in minerals and is also supposed to have de-tox properties. It is
added to the water.

Kristin has been following the "standard plan" for about a month. It seems to have helped
Sigmund. His general health seems good and he seems generally happy and comfortable. The
swelling around his eye and nose, caused by the tumor, has not increased.

However, it has not decreased either. So Kristin bought the additional supplements (Q10,
Shitake, Cats Claw, Clay, & Essiac). This Monday, she gave him all these new supplements on
the same day. It was too much. Sigmund vomited (threw up) shortly after getting all these pills.

So, when I went to Kristin's apartment, we discussed this problem and what to do about it.

Here is the discussion:

AJ: Yeah, so anyway I think that. I think that, you know, we've established a pretty good routine
with his, uh, you know, the raw food.

just the Blessed Thistle in the water, the licorice stuff in the water. The Transfer factors I think
are pretty good. Flax seed oil is supposed to be really good, and.

what else do you give him everyday?

Kristin: The minerals.

AJ: Oh yeah, the minerals in his water. You still. you got those in his water again?

Kristin: Not right now, I have the,. only the clay.

AJ: Ahhh.

Kristin: That's why yesterday I gave him a syringe-full of, ahh, minerals, the Blessed Thistle, and
the Licorice Root.

AJ: And he barfed. I think that.

[barfed= vomited]

Kristin: It wasn't just that it was everything.

AJ: Yeah, I think that the minerals are also supposed to be diluted in water maybe.

Kristin: Oh.

Kristin: They usually are, that's the first time I've done that cause (AJ: Cause he was.) Kristin: I
hadn't given him any in a few days.

AJ: And he was drinking it all down fine before right? When it was in his water.

Kristin: Yeah

AJ: So, you know, maybe go back to all that routine. and then just the other stuff is just kind of
maybe a little extra supplement. You know, one extra thing a day-- either the Cat's Claw or the
mushrooms or the Q10 is probably plenty.

Kristin: After a few days?

AJ: Yeah, like maybe, maybe tomorrow just do the standard thing. I mean, go. maybe when the
clay is. when you're done with that, go ahead and put that. the minerals back in his water. And
then, uh.

Kristin: Yeah

AJ: Yeah, just do the basic stuff, for tomorrow and. then maybe after that you can test him with
one thing, one of the pills. of the pills., with food.

Does he ever eat the catnip?

Kristin: He has been.

AJ: Oh really.

Kristin: So all this time he's been throwing up in the past several days.

AJ: Yeah.

Kristin: He's started eating it a little bit.

AJ: Does he get crazy?

Kristin: No, I don't. I think he kind of just pulls it off and.

AJ: Chews on it?

Kristin: Chews at it but doesn't really take it in. ingest it.

(Sigmund comes out from under the bed, AJ talks to him)

AJ (to Sigmund): Hey Mr. Sigmund. Whatcha doin boy? Hello boy. Ooohp, he's gonna eat some
Catnip.

Change Your Goal


It's so easy to get impatient. We are conditioned, by school and society, to demand instant
results. Our attention spans get shorter and shorter.

School, in particular, teaches us a lie. The lie is that in one semester, or four years, we can take
all the required courses, pass all the required tests, and then receive our degree as proof of our
"mastery" of a subject or subjects.

But this is a farce. Its a farce in most subjects, not just language education. In fact, formal
school is a very poor place to master any subject or skill.

I got my undergraduate degree in journalism. I graduated with honors. I took all the required
journalism courses and was near the top of my class. I thought I knew this subject well.

But upon graduation, I realized that I knew almost nothing about writing or journalism. I was told
by many reporters and editors that journalism school was almost useless- and that the only
thing that mattered was developing one's skills independently, through experience.

Several years later (still clueless), I went back to school to get a Masters degree in Social Work.
I took classes, passed tests, and endlessly analyzed obtuse theories of social work. At the end
of my program I had an internship. I was placed in an agency that helped abused and neglected
teenagers. After just one week there, I realized that I had no idea what to do. My Masters
degree program had not given me any practical knowledge- nor usable theories.

Everything I learned as a social worker, I learned on the job. I learned by trying things,
examining the results, formulating new ideas, and then trying more things. Relentlessly, over
several years, I improved as a social worker. The Masters degree was a ticket to higher paying
jobs- but it provided nothing useful beyond that.

The truth is- school is not a good place to learn. Life is where you learn and that learning is a
lifelong process. There is no end. There is no graduation. There are no "permanent grades" or
records.

True learning, true skill, true mastery, come from the process that Anthony Robbins calls CANIConstant And Neverending Improvement. The Japanese call this "kaizen".

The truth is- learning never ends. Most language learners, including me, are still stuck with a
school mentality. They think that if they take enough courses, they'll get a certificate that will
prove that they speak the language. Then they try to talk to a native speaker and discover that
their certificate is, in fact, useless. Many language learners also have a "graduation" mentality.
They think that if they study hard enough, in one year, two years, five years, etc. they will finally
"graduate" from English and be finished.

But there is no graduation. I am a 38 year old native speaker and I'm still trying to improve my
English speaking ability. I'm trying to work on the rhythm of my speech. I'm also trying to reduce
the number of fillers that I use (for example, "Uhm", "you know", "like"). As a writer, I still have a
lot of improvement to make. I need to develop the clarity and power of my writing. And I'm still
learning new words.

The point is- I will always be improving my English ability. I'll never be "finished". I'll never
graduate. English learning is a life long learning process.

And though I'm starting 38 years later than I did with English, I'm beginning to realize that
Spanish is also a life long learning process. I'm trying to shift my attitude from a "graduation"
mentality to a CANI mentality. There is no finish line- there is only constant and neverending
improvement- for as long as I live.

A CANI attitude can help your motivation because it takes off the pressure. So many language
learners view learning as a race. They are desperately trying to get to the finish line as fast as
possible. Instead, try adopting a mindset of Constant And Neverending Improvement. Don't
worry about finish lines. Instead, be sure that every week, you improve just a little bit. You might
learn a few new phrases. You might make a tiny improvement in listening comprehension, or
pronunciation.

The next week, be sure to make a few more improvements. They don't need to be big. They
don't need to be dramatic. Small, even tiny improvements are enough- as long as they are
constant and neverending.

I'll end this article with a challenge. For the next few months I challenge you to forget all your
"finish line" goals. Forget TOEIC and TOEFL scores. Forget certificates or degrees. Forget any
idea of "finishing" English. Instead, for the next few months, make Constant And Neverending
Improvement your only goal. Decide that every week you will make a very small improvement
with your English ability. And you will do this every week.

Constantly. Consistently. Neverending.


The Math of English Learning
Let's do some math. Let's compare the cost and efficiency of attending a typical English school,
with the cost and efficiency of supported self-study.

Most semi-intensive schools in San Francisco charge between 400-1000 dollars a month, for
about 16 hours of classes per week. Let's say the average is about 500/month.

For 500 dollars a month, you get a class with 8-20 people in it-- or possibly more. Some of the
learners in the class are serious and motivated, some are only a little motivated, and many are
not motivated at all.

Also, some students will be above your level, and some will be below your level.

At the typical English school, the teacher will use an eclectic mix of grammar analysis, textbook
based explanations, textbook drills, dialogue formulas, and contrived "communication activities".
Much time will be spent discussing, debating, explaining, and questioning linguistic jargon such
as "transitive vs. intransitive verbs", "countable and uncountable nouns", complex rules for using
"definite and indefinite articles", verb tenses such as "the past progressive, the present perfect,
and the past perfect progressive".

You'll spend hours dissecting incredibly complex explanations for such simple phrases as "listen
to the music", or "hear a sound", or "that's a lot of information", etc.

You'll waste a lot of time. You'll waste time while the teacher takes attendance. You'll waste time
while students come in late. You'll waste time while the teacher explains something to another
student that you already understand. You'll waste time taking exams. And you'll waste
tremendous time on super-complicated explanations that you will quickly forget.

For all of this, you pay 500 dollars a month or more.

As an independent learner, you can do VERY well spending only 100 dollars a month, and can
succeed paying half that much.

For 48 dollars, you could learn English with The Linguist. With The Linguist, you could chat with
native speakers, and learners all over the world, using Skype. You would have access to a huge
audio and text library. You would be able to use the Linguist system to find the meaning of new
words, save them in a personal database, and review them. You could submit writing samples
and have them corrected by a native speaker.

With your remaining 52 dollars, you could buy study guides, audio books, English magazines,
English audio magazines, books, tapes, etc. every month. In other words, you could build a
library of REAL English materials- not textbooks.

Not only would you have tremendous resources, for only 100 dollars a month, you'd also save a
lot of time. Independent study is much more efficient. You choose exactly what YOU want to
read and listen to. You choose when you want to study. You waste no time on lengthy and

complicated (and, in my opinion, useless) linguistic explanations- instead concentrating on the


real, living language itself.

You don't have to wait while other students get explanations. You don't have to feel frustrated by
rushing ahead too fast. You set your own pace.

It is my belief- a belief shared by Steve Kaufman (of The Linguist)- that one hour of intensive
independent study is equal to four hours of classroom instruction.

You will make the same progress by studying one hour a day on your own, if you use effective
methods, as you will sitting in a typical English class for four hours.

Thus, the independent learner pays much less, spends much less time, uses more interesting
materials, generally has more fun, and learns more quickly than the student who is stuck in a
typical English classroom.

If you are serious about wanting to learn (or improve) English, supported independent study is
the best way to do it!

Meditation for Language Learning


We have a strong tendency, as both language teachers and language learners, to focus on
quantity. We stress about test score numbers. We stress about the number of words we know.
We stress about the number of hours we study each day.

There's no doubt that quantity is important. To learn a language well, you have to put in a lot of
hours. You need hundreds (thousands) of hours of listening. You need hundreds and thousands
of hours of reading. You've got to listen to and read a lot of different material.

But quantity is only half the story. For all study hours are not equal.

I see this a lot in my class. Many students dutifully come to class each day. They attend four
hours a day, four days a week. for a total of 16 hours.

But some learn a lot faster than others. I've found that the speed of their learning has less to do
with natural talent and more to do with the quality of their class time. In other words, some

students concentrate and participate during the entire four hours. while others barely pay
attention. The latter group text message on their cell phones, stare out the window, chat with
each other in their native language, daydream,. and do anything else but focus on the English
material we are working on.

All the students in my class are getting the same quantity of English hours, but some are getting
much higher quality.in other words, much more efficiency. because they have the ability to focus
and concentrate.

While many of the "bad" students are not motivated, some are. What they lack is not so much
the desire to learn English as the ability to focus for an extended period of time.

Perhaps this is a result of the TV age. But for whatever reason, many people just can't seem to
concentrate on one thing longer than 15 minutes.

This is a problem- as concentration is essential for mastering any skill, not just language
learning.

The good news is that if you don't have much power of concentration, you can develop it. The
best way I know is through meditation. There are many forms of meditation, but all demand
increasing powers of concentration. Daily meditation practice, therefore, will strengthen and
lengthen your mental concentration. Little by little, day by day, your mind will grow stronger.

Do a google search on "meditation", or get a book by Thich Nhat Hahn, S.N. Goenka, or
another meditation master. Start slow. just a few minutes a day. and then build up gradually.

As your meditation time increases, you'll be able to focus longer, and will thus get much more
out of your study time.

This is vital, because in language learning, all hours are not created equal.

Momentum and Engineering


I've reached a very important point in my Spanish studies. I am truly addicted.

Today I had an extremely hectic day. I was running around frantically to classes and meetings.
As a result, I didn't have the opportunity to listen to much Spanish-- only 20 minutes.

Though I didn't have time, Spanish was constantly on my mind. I found myself getting frustrated
because I was too busy to listen and read. Its the feeling I used to get when I was running
regularly-- a gnawing feeling that I was missing something I wanted and needed to do.

The great part about this is that I can remember three months ago, when I started, that I
struggled to complete 20 minutes a day. That seemed like a lot of listening and reading to me. It
took effort to do it. But today I was severely annoyed because I could "only" do 20 minutes.

Why the change? There are a few reasons. First of all, I'm having fun. I'm reading/listening to
content that I find enjoyable and interesting. Though I sometimes use the word, in fact I don't
feel like I'm "studying" at all. I'm enjoying the process. Read & Think Spanish is particularly
interesting- with its myriad articles about the food, people, history, and culture of Spanish
speaking countries.

Second, success is addictive. I can feel myself improving. What was very difficult to understand
two months ago now seems fairly easy. That feeling of progress and success is extremely
motivating. Its what Kathy Sierra calls the all important "I kick ass" feeling. No, I can't really
speak. Yes, I'm still a beginner. But I'm understanding text/audio that just two months ago
seemed impossibly difficult. What a feeling.

Third, I believe. As a runner, a key milestone for me was completing my first 5k run. For serious
runners, that's nothing. But doing it changed my image of myself. Before that race, I never
called myself a "runner". After finishing that race, and from then on, I've always referred to
myself as "a runner". even now, though I haven't run regularly in the last 6 months!

Likewise, something changed for me recently. Suddenly I started to think of myself as a


language learner. I could envision myself successfully speaking Spanish. I know it will take a lot
more time and effort, but I believe! I know I can do it.

As I analyze my increasing momentum with Spanish, I can't help but notice the stark contrast
with traditional language education. Most students who go to "normal" language programs
(public schools, language schools) have the exact opposite experience from mine. First, they're
bludgeoned with artificial, grammar-heavy, extremely boring content-- usually textbooks.
Second, they never experience success. Rather, teachers focus on their mistakes, test them,
and grade them. a frustrating and demotivating experiencing for even the most talented. Finally,
these students rarely learn to believe in themselves. They are subjected to methods that don't

work, and then, when they fail to acquire the language, they blame themselves and not the
school.

In short, traditional language education is engineered for demotivation. It is engineered for


failure.

Leadership 101
To be a better teacher, or coach, or tutor I must develop better leadership skills. This, now, is my
quest.

I will begin simply. The first step I'm going to take is to follow the basic principles of "situational
management" as outlined by Ken Blanchard. The beauty of Blanchard's approach is its
simplicity.

Of course, leadership is a complex skill. However, at the moment I am at a very low level of
competency. Right now, I need to develop a few basic skills that I can use in almost any
situation with almost any client.

I will begin by observing the three basic principles of Blanchard's "One Minute Manager".

Principle One: One Minute Goal Setting The first step, and perhaps the most crucial step, is to
have agreed upon goals and a plan for reaching them. This has been a big weakness of my
teaching thus far. I have not created measurable goals with my students. Of course we share
vague goals such as "improve English ability", but such a goal is much too vague to be helpful.

Goals, ideally, should be measurable in some way. They could be "process goals". Such goals
describe the ideal behavior and process the learner hopes to follow. For example, "I will listen to
comprehensible English, repeatedly, for one hour every day". I like process goals because they
create good habits. Process goals are the key to reaching "outcome goals".

An outcome goal is an end result. Its what you hope to accomplish at the end of a specific time.
For example, "I will have a 2000 word Spanish vocabulary by may 2007". Outcome goals can
be very motivating, but ONLY if the outcome is very meaningful and important to you, the
learner. Otherwise, these kinds of goals can be very demotivating. For example, "I will get a
very high TOEFL score" could be a very motivating goal if you have a strong, positive feeling
about your TOEFL score and if this score has important real-life meaning to you (ie. you want to
go to graduate school in America). However, if the TOEFL does not have a very important real-

life meaning for you, you will simply see the test as something unpleasant and stressful. In such
a situation, its better to avoid creating a goal about getting a certain score, and instead focus on
process goals.

Another important factor regarding goals is that they should be measurable in some way. For
example, when learning English with The Linguist you can use the system to track how many
words/phrases you know. But if you don't have such a system, its very difficult to measure the
size of your vocabulary and thus you should probably choose a more easily measured goal.

The final step in "one minute goal setting" is to agree upon a few goals (1 or 2 is best. don't
choose too many) and write them down. These written goals should have a deadline. Both the
coach/teacher and the learner should have a copy of the goals and both should sign them, thus
creating a learning contract.

Step Two: One Minute Praisings Once the goals are clear, the most important job of the
teacher-coach is to encourage the learner. After all, the learner must do most of the work.
Sometimes its easy to become tired or frustrated. The teacher's job is to notice what the learner
is doing well and point it out. The teacher should praise the learner as often as possible.

But praise must be specific. Its nice to say, "you are a good student", but its better to say, "you
are doing a great job of listening to interesting content more than one time. I like how you are
repeating the content often and thus absorbing the new phrases. Keep doing this!"

In other words, the teachers NUMBER ONE JOB is to catch the learner doing something right.

Step Three: One Minute Reprimands For students who are new, or who lack confidence, the
teacher should follow only steps one and two-- clear measurable goals plus lots of praise. If a
student is not confident, the teacher should not correct them. They should not criticize them.
Constant, specific praise is enough.

Learners who are confident, well known, and motivated, however, can sometimes benefit from a
short reprimand. For example, some high performers like to be pushed. If they are lazy one
week, they want the teacher-coach to reprimand them and remind them of their goals. They
want to be held to high standards.

According to Blanchard, reprimands should be done in a certain way. You do not simply criticize
the person. Rather, you point out what they did incorrectly, then you remind them of their goals
and how it should be done. Finally, and very importantly, you end with praise. You remind them

of the positive qualities they have and of your respect for them. For example, "You didn't listen
at all this week. That's not good. You need to listen more. Your goal is to increase your usable
vocabulary by 500 words, but you will not do that if you don't listen. So this week, get back on
track and stick to your plan. You are a motivated student and you are making progress. You are
usually excellent and I'm sure you will continue to be".

That, in a nutshell, is the "One Minute Manager" approach. In my previous career as a social
worker, I used this approach with my clients and it was quite successful. I'm hopeful I can find
equal or greater success using it to help students learn English

The Dance of Learning


When learning any difficult skill, there is a dance that goes on.

We do not learn in a regular, linear, methodical way. Learning occurs in spurts. Sudden jumps in
skill are interspersed with plateaus in which nothing much seems to happen.

Of course, we generally love the sudden improvements, and become very frustrated during the
plateaus. Its easy to understand why. We were working hard. We were making fast progress.
Then suddenly, all progress seems to stop.

We keep working. We keep listening and reading. We keep reviewing. We might even increase
the time and energy we devote to language learning. Yet nothing much seems to happen.

At such times, its easy to panic. We start having crazy thoughts like, "I'm never going to learn
English", "I'm not learning anymore", "this is impossible". If we indulge these feelings, we may
start to lose our motivation. We become frustrated and depressed, and convince ourselves that
we will never again make good progress.

During such times, its important to realize that this phenomenon is universal. It applies to
learning ANY skill-- not just language learning. Athletes experience the same cycles of rapid
progress and plateaus. At times, their strength, skill, and endurance improve quickly. At other
times, they train intensely yet make only a little bit of progress. Athletes must deal with the same
frustrations that language learners face.

What we must realize is that the plateaus are natural and necessary. In fact, many
psychologists believe that the plateaus are where the real learning is taking place. While you
seem to be making no progress, your brain is in fact processing all the new information, creating

new neural networks, linking pieces of information together, and learning how to access and use
it.

Your speech may not seem to be improving- but inside your brain, dramatic changes are
happening. Once these changes are complete you "suddenly" make rapid progress again. In
other words, what you do during the plateaus determines how much and how fast you improve
during the learning jumps.

This relates to another common experience that most researchers and language learners
recognize-- understanding is usually more advanced than speaking. For example, you may hear
and understand a word many times before you are actually able to use it correctly in speech.
Many learners complain about this. They are frustrated that they understand words or phrases
but struggle to use them.

But native English speakers are no different. Various research shows that with native speakers,
listening/understanding ability is usually about one year ahead of speaking/writing ability.

In other words, all the progress you are making right now, by listening and reading and
reviewing, won't show up in your speech until next year! With speech, we generally have a long
plateau. There is a long delay between learning new English and actually using it in
conversation.

There is not much you can do about this. With intense practice, you can shorten the plateaus.
But the best attitude is to accept them. Realize that they are useful. Realize that while you may
feel you are not improving, in fact your brain is working hard. And most importantly, realize that
the work you are doing right now won't actually show results for weeks, months, or even a year.

In this way, we must develop the attitude of professional athletes. We must realize that the
benefits of training are delayed. You don't run 10 miles one day and expect to be faster and
stronger the next day. It takes time for the body to adapt, change, and grow.

The same is true of the brain.

So. even when you feel nothing is happening- keep listening, keep reading, and keep up your
motivation. Enjoy yourself. Read and listen to interesting content. Focus more on
communication and fascinating content than on obsessing about your progress.

If you continue to listen and read repetitively and consistently- your progress is automatically
guaranteed.

So relax and enjoy the ride!

Rule 1
Hi. How are you doing today? I'm writing because you asked for my 7- Day email course and
you want to improve your English. You will get 8 emails from me-- one every day for 8 days.

This Email Course is sent only to subscribers. To unsubscribe, go to {!remove_web}

My name is A.J. Hoge. I live in San Francisco, USA. I am an English teacher. I have a Masters
degree in Teaching English. I enjoy travel, SCUBA diving, motorcycle riding, movies, and
learning Spanish.

I will teach you a new method for learning. I will teach you how to study to speak English faster
and more easily.

Your First English Learning Suggestion

Imagine speaking English automatically without thinking. The words come out of your mouth
easily, and fast. You understand instantly.

To do this, you must change the way you study English. Your first action is to stop studying
English words. What?

Stop studying English words.

That's right, do not memorize words. Native speakers do not learn English by remembering
single words. Native speakers learn phrases.

Phrases are GROUPS of words that naturally go together.

Learn English 4x Faster

Research by Dr. James Asher proves that learning with phrases is 4-5 times faster than
studying individual words. 4-5 Times Faster.

Also, students who learn phrases have much better grammar.

RULE 1: Study Phrases, Not Individual Words

Never study a single, individual word. Never.

When you find a new word, always write down The Phrase it is in. Always. When you review,
always review all of the phrase,.. not the word.

Collect phrases.

Your speaking and grammar will improve 4-5 times faster. Always write the complete phrase.
Never again study a single word. Never write a single word in your notebook,

Learn Phrases Only.

**Your Next Tip Comes Tomorrow

During this week, I will teach you 7 rules for learning English. I will send you a new rule each
day, for 7 days.

I look forward to helping you improve your English!

Have a great day :)

Cheers,
Rule 2

Hi. How are you? Are you having a good day? I'm doing fine. Let's get started with Day 2 of
your email course.

**Rule 2: A Story From Angelina

"My name is Angelina and I'm a student from Paraguay. When I started learning with A.J., I
couldn't speak any English. I had studied English grammar many years, but I couldn't speak.

The first day with A.J.'s Effortless English I thought I would study grammar. However, he
surprised me because he never taught grammar rules.

Instead, he told a story. He told it many times, in a strange way. He constantly asked questions,
and I answered the questions. The questions were super-easy.

Honestly, I was a little confused. I thought he was kind of a crazy teacher :) I thought I needed
to learn more grammar.

I continued with Effortless English and then, after only two weeks, something amazing
happened. My speaking improved! My friends asked me, 'How are you improving so quickly?'

I realized that A.J. was quite clever, and the stories and questions and articles were teaching
me to speak English, without studying grammar rules. Wow!"

Angelina is a great student. She learned extra fast because she listened to Effortless English 5
hours a day. However, you can improve with just one hour a day.

You can get the same results... but you must follow Rule 2.

**RULE 2: Don't Study Grammar

Angelina quickly improved speaking-- when she stopped studying grammar. This is your
second rule.

Stop studying grammar. Stop studying grammar.

Right now. Stop. Put away your grammar books and textbooks. Grammar rules teach you to
think about English, you want to speak automatically-- without thinking!

With Effortless English, you learn English without grammar study. Your speaking improves
quickly. You succeed. You speak English naturally.

So Rule 2 is: Don't Study Grammar!

*The Vital Secret For English Learning Power

In the next email, I will discuss the most important rule for speaking English easily. Have a
great day and continue to improve your English :)

Take Care,

AJ Hoge http://www.EffortlessEnglishClub.com Director Effortless English

PS: Ignacio Almandoz wrote and said:

"I've just sucessfully downloaded the 'A Kiss' lesson set. Congratulations on your teaching
program! I'm learning a lot through your lessons!"

Rule 3
Hi! This is A.J. again, with the next day of your 7 Rules Email Course. I really enjoy emailing
you and helping you improve English.

Today is the most important rule.

Most schools ignore it.

**Rule 3: A Story

Humberto is from Venezuela. He moved to Canada a few years ago. He studied English in
Venezuela for many years-- mostly grammar.

In fact, Humberto learned English with his eyes- by reading textbooks, by studying grammar
books, by remembering word lists.

He thought his English was good. But when he came to Canada he was surprised and
shocked-- he couldn't understand anyone! He joined an English school in Canada. He went to
school everyday. What did they teach him? More textbooks, more grammar books, more word
lists!

After 12 months of school, Humberto was angry and frustrated. The school cost over $10,000
for one year-- but he still could not speak English. He didn't know what to do.

He said:

"I couldn't believe it A.J. After one year, I still couldn't speak English. I told the teacher, 'this is a
waste of time'. I was very upset.

Thank God I found a better way. Now I can speak English. I understand native speakers. I
talk to Canadians every day. I feel confident. I can't believe I wasted so much time with
schools... and so much money too!"

**RULE 3: The Most Important Rule-- Listen First

What is the rule that Humberto found? Simple. The rule is listening.

Listening, listening, listening.

You must listen to UNDERSTANDABLE English. You must listen to English EVERYDAY. Don't
read textbooks. Listen to English.

Its simple. That is the key to your English success. Stop reading textbooks. Start listening
everyday.

**Learn With Your Ears, Not Your Eyes

In most schools, you learn English with your eyes. You read textbooks. You study grammar
rules.

Effortless English is a listening system. You learn English with your ears, not your eyes. You
listen 1-3 hours every day.

Your speaking improves quickly. You speak English easily-- just like Humberto.

Spend most of your study time listening- that is the key to great speaking.

* The Next Powerful Method

Good luck. I know you can do it.

Have a great day. Enjoy these emails and enjoy your English learning!

Take Care,

AJ Hoge http://www.EffortlessEnglishClub.com Director and Founder Effortless English

PS: Hiroshi Ichikawa writes:

"Hi AJ, Ever since I joined Effortless English Club, I have been listening to every lesson I
downloaded into my MP3 player for 5-6 hours a day. Whenever my boss is not around, I put a
headphone on and start listening to them!"

Rule 4

Hi. Its me again ;) I hope you are feeling good and are enjoying the 7 Rules Email Course.
Here's rule 4.

**Rule 4: A Story

Hyun, a student from Korea, said:

"Im a very serious student. When studying English in Korea, I memorized 50,000 English words
for a big test. Fifty Thousand!

My problem was-- I couldn't USE them. I could pass an English test. But I could not
understand native speakers.

With Effortless English, I learned to instantly understand English. I learned how to automatically
use vocabulary. After 6 months, I could speak easily. I didn't need to think.

Thanks so much!"

**RULE 4: Slow, Deep Learning Is Best

Hyun learned a lot of words in a short time. Her learning was short and shallow. That's why
she quickly forgot the words. That's why she could not use them.

The secret to speaking easily is to learn every word & phrase DEEPLY.

Its not enough to know a definition. Its not enough to remember for a test. You must put the
word deep into your brain.

To speak English easily, you must repeat each lesson many times.

You must learn English deeply.

Learn deeply, speak easily.

Learn deeply, speak easily.

How do you learn deeply? Easy-- just repeat all lessons or listening many times. For example,
if you have an audio book, listen to the first chapter 30 times before you go to the second
chapter. You could listen

to the first chapter 3 times each day, for 10 days.

**Deep Learning Of Grammar

What about grammar? How do you learn it deeply, without studying grammar rules?

I'll tell you in the next email.

Have a great day :)


Rule 5
Hi. How are you today? Are you having a great day? I'm doing well.

Today I'm back to explain Rule 5. I hope you are enjoying these emails :)

On Day 2, I told you never to study grammar rules. But, of course, you want to use correct
English grammar.

Maybe you are thinking, "How can I learn English grammar if I don't study English grammar
rules?"

Well, today I will tell you.

I will teach you a way to learn grammar naturally. Use this method and your grammar will
improve automatically. You will automatically use the correct verb tense. You won't think. You
won't try.

**Rule 5: A Story

Miyuki did very well on grammar tests. She knew all of the grammar rules. She knew English
verbs.

But Miyuki had a problem. She couldn't USE the grammar in a real conversation. She could
explain the past tense, but when speaking, she would say "Yesterday I GO to school".

Miyuki was confused. How could her grammar tests be so good, but her speaking so bad?

Miyuki said:

"Before Effortless English, I knew all the grammar rules, but I couldn't speak correctly. I couldn't
feel English grammar. After using Point of View stories, I feel it and use it correctly.

Now my grammar is great when I speak. I never think about it, I just automatically use correct
grammar. Thank you A.J.!"
Miyuki learned this grammar naturally. She never studied
grammar rules. How did she do it?

First she listened to a short story in the present tense. She listened to it everyday.

Then, she listened to the exact SAME story-- but this time it started with "10 years ago...." She
learned to "feel" the past tense by listening to this story.

Next, I gave her the exact same story. This time, it started with "Since 2004..." Miyuki learned
to FEEL the perfect tenses by listening to this story.

Finally, I gave her the exact same story... beginning with "Next year". She learned to FEEL the
future tense simply by listening to this story.

***RULE 5: Use Point Of View Mini-Stories

I call these stories "Point Of View Mini-Stories". They are the most powerful way to learn and
use English grammar automatically.

Use Point of View Stories for Automatic Grammar


Automatic Grammar

Use Point of View Stories for

You must learn grammar by listening to real English. The best way is to listen to the same
story... told in different times (points of view): Past, Perfect, Present, Future.

How do you do this? Easy! Find a story or article in the present tense. Then ask your native
speaker tutor to write it again in the Past, with Perfect tenses, and in the Future. Finally, ask
him to read and record these stories for you.

Then you can listen to stories with many different kinds of grammar. You don't need to know the
grammar rules. Just listen to the Point of View stories and you will improve grammar
automatically!

You can also find Point of View lessons and use them to learn grammar automatically.

It is powerful. It is simple. It is successful. You will succeed. You will use correct grammar
naturally and automatically.

This is the secret to English grammar.

**How To Learn Real English

In the next email, I will tell you how to avoid textbooks and learn only real English.

I guarantee you will succeed. Don't quit. You can do it :)

Have a great day!

Rule 6
Hi again :) It's me, your English teacher... with another rule!

I want you to think about something today: You have studied English for more than 4 yearswhy do you still have trouble understanding native speakers?

Nothing is wrong with you. Something is wrong with the schools you went to, and the textbooks
you used. English textbooks and audio tapes are horrible.

You never learned REAL English.

You learned TEXTBOOK English.

**How To Understand Native Speakers

Megdelio studied English for 5 years in Venezuela. Teachers said he was an advanced student.

When he came to the USA he felt good. He was excited to meet Americans. He was ready. He
wrote:

"One day I tried to talk to an American woman and everything changed. The woman started
talking-- and I couldn't understand her. Not at all!

Her pronunciation was totally different than the textbook tapes and CDs I listened to. She used
idioms, slang, and many casual phrases.

I was totally confused. That's when I realized I needed to learn real English!"

**You Must Learn Real English

I taught Megdelio to learn with real English materials-- learning the English we use everyday in
conversations, books, movies, TV shows, comic books, audio books, articles, newspapers,
magazines, and podcasts.

**Stop Learning Textbook English

If you want to understand native speakers, you must stop learning English from textbook tapes
and CDs.

To learn real English, you must listen to English that native speakers listen to. You must watch
what they watch. You must read what they read.

Listen only to real English

Listen only to real English

Listen only to real English

How do you learn Real English? It's easy. Stop using textbooks. Instead, listen only to real
English movies, TV shows, audio books, audio articles, stories, and talk radio shows. Use real
English materials.

After 6 months of real English, Megdelio could speak easily. He could understand real English
from real native speakers. You will too.

**RULE 6: Only Use Real English Lessons & Materials

You learn real English if you want to understand native speakers and speak easily. Use real
magazines, audio articles, TV shows, movies, radio talk shows, and audio books.

Learn Real English, Not Textbook English

Learn Real English, Not Textbook English

**The Final Rule

In the next email, I will tell you the final rule. I'll teach you how to speak 2-3 times faster.

Until then, have a great day and enjoy learning English!

Good luck,

Rule 7

Hi. Today is the last rule! Remember, I promised to send you 8 emails. Today is number 7 :)

Today is the last Rule, and it is the easiest:

Most English CDs use "listen and repeat". The speaker says something in English, and you
repeat exactly what they said. This method is a failure.

**Rule 7: A Story

Emi, a Japanese woman, had a problem. Her speaking was SLOW. She could not answer
questions quickly.

Emi listened to many English tapes and CDs. She listened. She repeated what the speaker
said.

Emi emailed me. I recommended "Listen & Answer" lessons. I told her not to use "listen and
repeat".

I told her to use "Listen & Answer" Mini-Stories.

I told her that "listen and repeat" is not enough-- when you repeat, you only copy the speaker.
But when you hear a question and you ANSWER it- - you must think in English.

After using listen & ANSWER lessons for just 4 months, her speaking was fast, easy, and
automatic.

Emi was excited. She wrote:

"The lessons are FANTASTIC! I love them. My speaking is so much faster now. I understand
quickly and I can now speak English without thinking. I can't believe it!"

**RULE 7: Listen and Answer, not Listen and Repeat

Use Listen & Answer Mini-Story Lessons

Use Listen & Answer Mini-Story Lessons

In each Mini-Story Lesson, a speaker tells a short simple story. He also asks a lot of easy
questions. Every time you hear a question, you pause and answer it.

You learn to answer questions quickly-- without thinking. Your English becomes automatic.

How can you use Listen & Answer Stories? Easy! Find a native speaker tutor. Ask him to use
this method: Ask him to tell a story... and to constantly ask you easy questions about it. This
will teach you to think quickly in English!

You can also find Listen & Answer lessons. They will teach you to think quickly in English.

**What's Next?

That is the last rule! How can you continue?

A great way to use the 7 Rules is to use my Effortless English Club lessons. I teach you to
speak English easily, and fast. My lessons use all of the 7 Rules.

To get my Effortless English Club lessons, go to:

http://www.EffortlessEnglishClub.com

Use the lessons and I guarantee you will succeed :)

Thanks for allowing me to teach you.

**One More Email

You will get only one more email from me for this course.

Have a great day!

Day of the Dead Audio // Ling V-1


I arrive in Guatemala on The Day of the Dead, November 1st. I'm curious about this holiday, so
I go to the cemetery to see what's happening. What I find is quite interesting.

The atmosphere is like a party. There are people everywhere. Families are sitting around the
graves of their dead ancestors. They clean the graves and add fresh flowers. I walk through
the cemetery and admire the beauty of all the colorful flowers.

There is also color in the sky, because many kids are flying kites. Some families are having a
picnic next to the graves. They eat, drink, and chat together. People laugh and smile.

In the Unites States, cemeteries are always somber. We certainly never have festivals or
parties next to graves. We don't laugh or play music or fly kites in cemeteries either.

I find that I prefer the Guatemalan approach. I like the way they remember and celebrate those
who have passed away. I like that they acknowledge death, instead of denying it the way
Americans do. I like that there is life, as well as death, in their cemeteries.

Guatemalans call it The Day of the Dead, but it is also a day to appreciate life.

Day of the Dead MiniStory // Ling V-2


Welcome to the mini story for Day of the Dead. In the mini story I will do 3 things. I will make a
statement. For example, I arrived in Guatemala. When you hear a statement, a sentence, you
just say, Ah, or, Oh.

You need to say that. Show that you understand this is not a question. A statement is not a
question, so when you hear a statement say, Ah. For example, I arrive in Guatemala. Ah.

The second thing I will do, is ask a question you know the answer to.

For example, Where do I arrive? I will stop. You say the answer. You must say the answer to
every question. I say, I arrive in Guatemala. Where did I arrive? You say, Guatemala. Easy.

And No. 3, I might ask a question you don't know the answer to. If you don't know the answer
just guess.

Say any answer, but you must answer every question. Use your pause button if necessary.

Let's begin. Here we go.

I arrived in Guatemala on the Day of the Dead, November 1st.

Did I arrive in Guatemala? Yes.

Yes, I arrived in Guatemala.

Where did I arrive? Guatemala, right. I arrived in Guatemala.

I arrived in Guatemala on the Day of the Dead, November 1st.

Who arrived in Guatemala on the Day of the Dead? Well, me AJ. I arrived in Guatemala on
the Day of the Dead, November 1st.

Did I arrive in Guatemala on November 3rd? No, no. I didn't arrive in Guatemala on November
3rd; I arrived in Guatemala on November 1st.

What day did I arrive in Guatemala? November 1st. I arrived in Guatemala on November 1st.

Where did I arrive on November 1st? Guatemala. I arrived in Guatemala on November 1st.

I arrived in Guatemala on the Day of the Dead, November 1st.

I was curious about this holiday so I went to the cemetery to see what was happening.

Was I angry about this holiday? No, no. I wasn't angry about this holiday.

Was I sad about this holiday? No, no. I wasn't sad about this holiday. I was curious about this
holiday.

Who was curious about this holiday? Well, I was AJ. I was curious about this holiday.

What was I curious about? The holiday. I was curious about the holiday.

Which holiday was I curious about? Which holiday was I curious about? The Day of the Dead. I
was curious about the Day of the Dead.

Was I curious about the Day of the Dead or was I curious about Christmas? No. I was curious
about the Day of the Dead of course.

I was curious about the Day of the Dead so I went to the cemetery to see what was happening.
Where did I go? To the cemetery.

I went to the cemetery. Did I go to the cemetery or did I go to the airport? Easy. I went to the
cemetery.

Who went to the cemetery? Well, me AJ. I went to the cemetery.

Where did I go? To the cemetery, right. I went to the cemetery.

When did I go to the cemetery? November 1st, the Day of the Dead. I went to the cemetery on
the Day of the Dead, November 1st.

Why did I go to the cemetery? Well, to see what was happening. I went to the cemetery to see
what was happening.

Who went to the cemetery to see what was happening? Me AJ went to the cemetery to see
what was happening.

Where was the cemetery? In Guatemala. The cemetery was in Guatemala.

What is the Day of the Dead? A holiday. The Day of the Dead is a holiday.

When is the Day of the Dead? November 1st. The Day of the Dead was and is November 1st,
so I went to the cemetery on the Day of the Dead to see what was happening.

What I found was quite interesting. Was it boring? No, no. It wasn't boring.

Was it interesting? Yes, yes. It was interesting. The cemetery was interesting.

How did I feel about the cemetery? I felt it was interesting or I thought it was interesting.

Was it boring or was it interesting? It was interesting. Of course it was interesting.

What was interesting? The cemetery. The cemetery was interesting.

When was the cemetery interesting? It was interesting on the Day of the Dead, November 1st.

The atmosphere in the cemetery was like a party. Was the atmosphere very sad? No, no. The
atmosphere was not sad. The atmosphere was like a party.

The atmosphere was very happy. Was the atmosphere sad or happy? The atmosphere was
happy. The atmosphere was like a party.

What was like a party? The atmosphere. The atmosphere in the cemetery was like a party.

Where was the atmosphere like a party? In the cemetery the cemetery. The atmosphere was
like a party in the cemetery.

Was the atmosphere like a party at my house? No, no. Not at my house. The atmosphere was
like a party at the cemetery.

The atmosphere was not like a party in my house.

So the atmosphere was like a party. There were people everywhere.

Families were sitting around the graves of their dead ancestors.

Where were the families sitting? Around the graves. They were sitting around the graves.

Who was sitting around the graves? The families. The families were sitting around the graves.

Were they sitting around the trees? No. They weren't sitting around the trees. They were sitting
around the graves.

So where were they sitting? Around the graves. Families were sitting around the graves of their
dead ancestors.

Were they sitting around the graves of their dead ancestors? Yes, yes. They were sitting around
the graves of their dead ancestors.

Were they sitting around the graves of their friends? No, not really. They were sitting around the
graves of their dead ancestors.

Who was sitting around the graves? That's right. Families were sitting around the graves.

Whose graves were they sitting around? Whose graves were they sitting around? Yes. Their
dead ancestors' their ancestors' their ancestors' graves.

They were sitting around the graves of their dead ancestors.

Were they sitting around the graves of their dead ancestors or the graves of their friends?
Ancestors, right? They were sitting around the graves of their dead ancestors.

They cleaned the graves and added fresh owers. Who cleaned the graves? That's right. The
families.

What did they add? They added fresh owers.

Did they add food? No, no. They didn't add food. Did they add money? No, no. They didn't add
money. They added fresh owers.

What did they clean? They cleaned the graves. Whose graves did they clean? Their ancestors'.

They cleaned their ancestors' graves.

Where did they add owers? Where? They added owers to the graves. That's right. They
cleaned the graves and added fresh owers. Good.

I walked through the cemetery and admired the beauty of all the colorful owers. Where did I
walk? Through the cemetery. I walked through the cemetery.

Did I walk through the park? No. I didn't walk through the park. I walked through the cemetery.

Where did I walk? Through the cemetery.

Who walked through the cemetery? I did AJ. I walked through the cemetery.

Did I walk through the cemetery or did I walk through the park? I walked through the cemetery.

That's right, and I admired the beauty of all the colorful owers.

Did I admire the beauty of the trees? No, no. I didn't admire the beauty of the trees.

Did I admire the beauty of the children? No. I didn't admire the beauty of the children.

What did I admire? The owers. Yeah. I admired the beauty of all the colorful owers.

Who admired the beauty of all the colorful owers? That's right. AJ me admired the beauty
of all the colorful owers.

Where were the owers? On the graves in the cemetery. The owers were on the graves in the
cemetery.

Were the owers in the park? No. They weren't in the park.

Were the owers in my house? No. They weren't in my house.

Where were the owers? The owers were on the graves in the cemetery.

Where did I walk? I walked through the cemetery.

When did I walk through the cemetery? Ah. November 1st, the Day of the Dead. November 1st,
the Day of the Dead, I walked through the cemetery.

What was the cemetery like? Like a party. It was like a party. The cemetery was like a party.

Was I curious about this holiday? Yes. I was curious about this holiday.

Which holiday was I curious about? Yeah. The Day of the Dead. I was curious about the Day of
the Dead so I walked through the cemetery.

There was also color in the sky because many kids were ying kites.

Where was the color? In the sky. That's right. In the sky.

Why was there color in the sky? Because kids were ying kites the kites. There was color in
the sky because kids were ying kites.

Who were ying kites? Kids. Kids were ying kites.

Was the sky colorful or was the sky gray? The sky was colorful.

What was colorful? They sky. The sky was colorful. Why was the sky colorful? Because kids
were ying kites.

What were the kids ying? Kites. That's right. The kids were ying kites.

Where were they ying kites? In the cemetery. The kids were ying kites in the cemetery.

Who was ying kites in the cemetery? Kids, children. Kids were ying kites in the cemetery.

Some families were having a picnic next to the graves. We in the United States don't do this, so
some families were having a picnic next to the graves. They ate, they drank, and they chatted
together.

Did they eat? Yes. They ate. Who ate? Families, right? Of course. Families ate.

What did they eat? They ate Guatemalan food food from Guatemala. The families ate
Guatemalan food.

Did they eat American food? No, no. They didn't eat American food. They ate Guatemalan food.

Where did they eat Guatemalan food? In the cemetery. They ate food in the cemetery. They ate
Guatemalan food in the cemetery.

They also drank in the cemetery. Did they drink water in the cemetery? No, no.

What did they drink in the cemetery? They drank beer.

Who drank beer? The families. The families drank beer.

What did they eat? Guatemalan food. They ate Guatemalan food and drank beer.

Did they drink beer or did they drink water? They drank beer.

Where did they drink beer? They drank beer in the cemetery.

When did they drink beer? Ah. November 1st, the Day of the Dead they drank beer.

When did they eat? They ate on November 1st, the Day of the Dead.

Did they chat together? Yes. They chatted together.

Who chatted together? The families, of course. The families chatted together.

When did they chat together? Yes. November 1st, the Day of the Dead. And people laughed
and smiled.

In the United States, cemeteries are always somber. Are cemeteries happy in the United
States?

No, no, no. Never. Cemeteries aren't happy in the United States. Cemeteries are always
somber, sad, and serious.

Are cemeteries serious in the United States? Yes. Yes, they are. In the United States,
cemeteries are always somber. They are always serious.

In the United States, are cemeteries somber or are cemeteries happy? Somber. Cemeteries are
always somber in the United States.

Was the cemetery somber in Guatemala? No, no. It wasn't somber in Guatemala. The cemetery
wasn't somber in Guatemala, but in the United States cemeteries are always somber.

Are cemeteries always somber in Guatemala or in the United States? In the United States
cemeteries are always somber.

Where are cemeteries always somber? The United States. That's right. In the United States
cemeteries are always somber.

Are they happy? No, no. They are always somber. Cemeteries in the United States are always
somber very, very somber.

We certainly never have festivals or parties next to graves.

Do we have parties next to graves? No, we don't. We don't have parties next to graves.

Do we ever have parties next to graves? No. We never have parties next to graves.

Do we ever have parties in restaurants? Yes, yes. We have parties in restaurants but we never
have parties next to graves.

Do we ever have parties in houses? Yes, yes. We do. We have parties in houses but we never
have parties next to graves.

Do we ever have parties next to graves? No, never. We never have parties next to graves.

Where do we never have parties? Next to graves. We never have parties next to graves.

Do we ever? No, never. We never have parties next to graves not ever; never.

We don't laugh or play music or y kites in cemeteries either. Do we laugh in cemeteries


usually? No, we don't.

We don't laugh in cemeteries.

Where don't we laugh? In cemeteries. That's right.

I found that I preferred the Guatemalan approach.

Did I nd that I preferred the American approach or did I nd that I preferred the Guatemalan
approach? The Guatemalan approach. I found that I preferred the Guatemalan approach.

Did I nd that I preferred the American approach? No, I didn't. I didn't nd that I preferred the
American approach. I found that I preferred the Guatemalan approach.

Which approach did I prefer? I preferred the Guatemalan approach.

Did I prefer the American approach? No.

Who preferred the Guatemalan approach? Me AJ. I preferred the Guatemalan approach.

I found that I preferred the Guatemalan approach. I liked the way they remembered and
celebrated those who had passed away.

Did they celebrate those who were alive? No, no. They didn't celebrate those who were alive.
They celebrated those who had passed away.

Did they celebrate those who had passed away or those who had become rich? They
celebrated those who had passed away.

Who celebrated those who had passed away? Guatemalans, right? Guatemalans celebrated
those who had passed away.

When did they celebrate those who had passed away? On the Day of the Dead, November 1st.
On the Day of the Dead, November 1st, they celebrated those who had passed away.

Who celebrated? The Guatemalans. Guatemalan families celebrated.

Who did they celebrate? They celebrated those who had passed away.

I liked that they acknowledged death instead of denying it the way Americans do.

Who liked that they acknowledged death? Me AJ. Me AJ. I liked that they acknowledged
death.

Did they acknowledge money or did they acknowledge death? They acknowledged death.

What did they acknowledge? Death. They acknowledged death.

Who acknowledged death? Guatemalans, right? Guatemalans acknowledged death.

Did they acknowledge death or did they acknowledge money? They acknowledged death
instead of denying it.

Who denies death? Americans. Americans deny death.

Do Guatemalans deny death? No, no. Not Guatemalans. Guatemalans don't deny death.
Americans deny death.

Do I like that Americans deny death? No, I don't. I don't like it.

I don't like that Americans deny death but I like that there is life as well as death in Guatemalan
cemeteries. I liked that.

Did I like their cemeteries? Yes. I liked their cemeteries.

What did I like? Their cemeteries Guatemalan cemeteries. I liked Guatemalan cemeteries.

Did I like Guatemalan cemeteries or did I like Guatemalan restaurants? I liked Guatemalan
cemeteries.

Whose cemeteries did I like? Guatemalans', right? Guatemalans' cemeteries. I liked the
Guatemalans' cemeteries Guatemalans' cemeteries.

Whose cemeteries did I like? The Guatemalans' cemeteries. I liked the Guatemalans'
cemeteries.

Guatemalans call it the Day of the Dead but it is also a day to appreciate life. That is all for this
mini story.

This was a very slow and soft mini story, so this mini story is good for beginning-level learners.

For intermediate learners, for advanced learners I use mini stories that are much faster

A Kiss Audio // Ling V-3


Carlos buys a new car. It's a very expensive car. It's a huge, blue, fast car.

While driving down the street, Carlos sees a girl on a bicycle. She has long blond hair and is
beautiful.

He yells to her, "What's up?"

She ignores him.

He yells, "How's it going?"

She keeps going and ignores him.

He yells, "Hey, why won't you talk to me? I want to go to dinner with you. I'll take you to an
expensive restaurant."

The girl turns, gets off the bike, and looks at him.

She says, "I don't want to go to dinner. But if you give me your car, I will give you a surprise."

Carlos says, "OK!"

He jumps out of the car. He gives her the keys and says, "Here are the keys."

The beautiful blond takes the keys and then kisses Carlos on the cheek.Then she jumps into
the car and drives away. Carlos stands on the sidewalk. Now he has no car and no girl.

He says, "That's it, just a kiss on the cheek?"

He gets on her bike and rides home.

The Race Audio // Ling V-4


It's 5 o'clock and Allen is riding his motorcycle in San Francisco. He is riding down Van Ness
street and comes to a stop light.

A red Ferrari pulls up next to him. The driver's wearing dark sun glasses. He looks over at
Allen. Allen looks at him and realizes that the driver is Tom Cruise!

Tom sneers at Allen. He says, "When the light turns green, let's race".

Allen says, "Allright, you're on!"

Tom says, "I'm gonna smoke you, sucka!"

Allen says, "You wish. I'm gonna beat you and your sorry-ass car".

Allen and Tom wait at the light. They rev their engines.

Suddenly, the light turns green. Allen and Tom take off! They zoom down Van Ness at top
speed. Tom is winning.

But suddenly, blue and red lights appear behind Tom-- its the police. They pull him over.

Allen zooms past Tom, laughing. He yells, "Better luck next time!"

Allen is the winner!

The Race MiniStory // Ling V-5


Hello, welcome to the mini-story for The Race. Let's get started. It was 5:00 and Alan was
riding his motorcycle in San Francisco.

When was Alan riding his motorcycle?

Well, at 5:00, right?

At 5:00, Alan was riding his motorcycle.

Was Alan riding his car?

Or was Alan riding his motorcycle?

Well, of course, Alan was riding his motorcycle.

Where was Alan riding his motorcycle?

In San Francisco.

Alan was riding his motorcycle in San Francisco.

When was he riding?

At 5:00.

At 5:00, Alan was riding his motorcycle in San Francisco.

He was riding down Van Ness Street and came to a stoplight.

Who was riding down Van Ness Street?

Alan. Alan was riding down Van Ness Street.

What was he riding down Market Street?

No, no, no, not Market Street, he wasn't riding down Market Street.

Was he riding down Lombard Street?

No. He wasn't riding down Lombard Street, he was riding down Van Ness Street.

No. He wasn't riding down Lombard Street, he was riding down Van Ness Street.

When? When was he riding down Van Ness Street?

At 5:00. At 5:00, he was riding down Van Ness Street.

Who was riding down Van Ness Street at 5:00?

Alan. Alan was riding down Van Ness Street at 5:00.

Was he in a truck?

No. He wasn't in a truck. He was on his motorcycle and he came to a stoplight.

Did Alan come to a go light?

No. No, no, no, no. He didn't come to a go light. He came to a stoplight.

We never say go light, we only say stoplight.

Who came to a stoplight?

Alan, of course! Alan, came to a stoplight.

What was he on when he came to a stoplight?

A motorcycle. He was on a motorcycle when he came to a stoplight.

Where was the stoplight?

Well, on Van Ness Street. The stoplight was on Van Ness Street.

Was the stoplight on Embarcadero Street or was the stoplight on Van Ness Street?

Van Ness, of course, Van Ness. The stoplight was on Van Ness Street.

Who was at the stoplight?

Alan was at the stoplight.

Which city was Alan in?

In San Francisco, of course. Alan was in San Francisco.

Where is Van Ness?

Well, Van Ness Street is in San Francisco, of course. Van Ness Street is in San Francisco.

Is Van Ness Street in New York? Or is Van Ness Street in San Francisco?

Well, of course, Van Ness Street is in San Francisco.

Where was Alan riding?

He was riding on Van Ness Street, in San Francisco and he came to a stoplight.

A red Ferrari pulled up next to him.

Did the red Ferrari pull up behind him?

No, no, no, not behind him, the red Ferrari pulled up next to him.

What pulled up next to Alan?

A red Ferrari. A red Ferrari pulled up next to Alan.

Did Alan pull up next to a red Ferrari?

No, no, no. Alan didn't pull up next to a red Ferrari, a red Ferrari pulled up next to him.

Where did the red Ferrari pull up next to Alan?

At a stoplight on Van Ness Street.

At a stoplight on Van Ness Street, a red Ferrari pulled up next to Alan.

Was Alan in a red Ferrari?

No, no, no, Alan wasn't in a red Ferrari. He was on a motorcycle. Alan was on a motorcycle.

What did the red Ferrari do?

Well, it pulled up next to Alan. The red Ferrari pulled up next to Alan.

The driver was wearing dark sunglasses.

So, Alan was wearing dark sunglasses.

So, Alan was wearing dark sunglasses.

No, no, no, no. Not Alan, Alan wasn't wearing dark sunglasses.

Who was wearing dark sunglasses?

The driver of the Ferrari.

The driver of the Ferrari was wearing dark sunglasses, not Alan.

The driver looked over at Alan.

Did the driver look behind Alan?

No, no, no, he looked over at Alan.

Who looked over at Alan?

The driver of the Ferrari looked over at Alan.

Did Alan look over at the driver?

Yes, he did! Alan also looked over at the driver.

Who was the driver?

Tom Cruise! Tom Cruise was the driver. Alan looked over at the driver and realized that the
driver was Tom Cruise.

Who was the driver of the Ferrari?

Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise was the driver of the Ferrari.

Who was the motorcycle rider?

Alan. Alan was the motorcycle rider and Tom Cruise was the driver of the Ferrari.

Who looked over at Alan?

Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise looked over at Alan.

What was Tom Cruise wearing.

Ah, sun glasses. Tom Cruise was wearing dark sunglasses.

Was Alan wearing dark sunglasses?

No, he wasn't. Alan wasn't wearing dark sunglasses.

Tom Cruise was wearing dark sunglasses and he looked over at Alan.

Tom sneered at Alan.

Oh, no, did Tom smile?

No, he didn't Tom didn't smile, he sneered at Alan.

Was Tom friendly and nice?

No! No, he wasn't friendly and nice, he sneered at Alan.

Did Alan sneer at Tom Cruise? Or did Tom Cruise at Alan?

Well, Tom Cruise sneered at Alan.

After he sneered, what did Tom Cruise say?

Well, he said, When the light turns green, let's race!

After he sneered at Alan, Tom Cruise said, When the light turns green, let's race!

Did Tom want to race?

Yes, of course, of course. He has a Ferrari. He wanted to race.

Alan said, All right. You're on!

Did Alan agree to race Tom?

Yes, he agreed, he agreed, he said, You're on! No, Tom didn't say, You're on! Alan said,
You're on! Alan agreed to race.

Who said You're on!

Alan. Alan said, You're on!

What did Alan agree to do?

Alan. Alan said, You're on!

What did Alan agree to do?

Well, to race. Alan agreed to race Tom. He said, You're on!

Tom said, I'm gonna smoke you, sucka!

Did Tom say, he would beat Alan?

Yes, he did. He said, I'm gonna smoke you. I'm gonna beat you.

Did Tom say he would win?

Yes, he said he would win. He said, I'm gonna smoke you.

Who was Tom gonna smoke?

Well, Alan. Tom was gonna smoke Alan.

Was Tom gonna smoke Schwarzenegger?

No, no, no. No, Tom wasn't gonna smoke Arnold Schwarzenegger. Tom was gonna smoke
Alan.

Was Tom gonna smoke Alan at football? Soccer?

No, no, no. He wasn't gonna smoke Alan at football or soccer. He was gonna smoke Alan in a
race. In a race, he was gonna smoke Alan, in a race.

Was Tom nice and polite?

No! He said sucka! He called Alan sucka!

Is sucka a nice, polite word?

No, it's not! It's not polite, it's not nice. He said I'm gonna smoke you, sucka!

Alan said, You wish! I'm gonna beat you and your sorry-ass car.

Did Tom have a very, very nice car?

No! He did not have a nice car, he had a sorry-ass Ferrari, a sorry-ass car.

What kind of car did Tom have?

What kind of car did Tom have?

Ah, he had a sorry-ass car. Low quality car, bad car. Cheap car.

Is a Ferrari a nice car?

No! It's a sorry-ass car. Ferraris are sorry-ass cars.

Did Alan like Tom's car?

No, he didn't. Alan thought it was a sorry-ass car.

Who had a sorry-ass car?

Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise had a sorry-ass car.

Did Alan have a sorry-ass motorcycle?

No! Alan had a great motorcycle. But Tom had a sorry-ass car.

Alan and Tom waited at the light. They revved their engines. Vroom! Vroom! Vroom vroom!

Who revved their engines?

Alan and Tom. Alan and Tom revved their engines.

Did they rev their bicycles?

No, no, not possible! They didn't rev their bicycles. Of course not! They revved their engines.

What did they rev?

Their engines. They revved Vroom! Vroom! Vroom! their engines. Tom and Alan revved
their engines.

Suddenly, the light turned green. Alan and Tom took off.

Did Alan and Tom start slowly?

No, they didn't start slowly, they took off. They started quickly. They started very fast. Alan and
Tom took off.

What did Alan take off on?

Alan took off on his motorcycle, on his motorcycle. Alan took off on his motorcycle.

What did Tom take off in?

In, his car. Tom took off in his car. Tom took off in his Ferrari.

Did they stop or did they take off, quickly?

They took off, quickly.

Why did Alan and Tom take off quickly?

Oh, they took off quickly because they were racing, right? Of course, they took off quickly
because they were racing.

They zoomed down Van Ness at top speed.

Who zoomed down Van Ness at top speed?

Tom and Alan. Tom and Alan zoomed down Van Ness at top speed.

When did they zoom down Van Ness?

Well, after the light turned green. After the light turned green, they zoomed down Van Ness.

Did they zoom down Van Ness before the light turned green or after the light turned green?

After, of course. They zoomed down Van Ness after the light turned green.

Did they zoom down Lombard Street?

No, no, no they didn't zoom down Lombard Street. Which street did they zoom down? Van
Ness. They zoomed down Van Ness Street.

Tom was winning.

But suddenly, blue and red lights appeared behind Tom. It was the police. Rrrrrrrrrrr! They
pulled him over.

Who pulled over Tom Cruise?

They pulled him over.

Who pulled over Tom Cruise?

Well, the police. The police pulled over Tom Cruise.

Who did the police pull over?

Tom Cruise. The police pulled over Tom Cruise.

Did the police pull over Alan?

No, no, no. They didn't pull over Alan, they pulled over Tom Cruise.

Why? Why did they pull over Tom Cruise?

Well, because he was going too fast. He was going too fast. They pulled over Tom Cruise
because he was going too fast.

Who was going too fast?

Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise was going too fast.

Alan zoomed past Tom.

Did Tom zoom past Alan?

No, no, no. Tom didn't zoom past Alan, Alan zoomed past Tom.

Why did Alan zoom past Tom?

Well, because the police pulled over Tom. The police pulled over Tom so Alan zoomed past
Tom.

Alan was laughing, Ha ha ha ha! He yelled, Better luck next time!

When did Alan yell, Better luck next time!?

Well, he yelled as he zoomed past Tom. When he zoomed past Tom.

As he zoomed past Tom, Alan said, Better luck next time!

As he zoomed past Tom, he yelled, Better luck next time!

Who yelled Better luck next time! as he zoomed past Tom Cruise?

Well, Alan, of course, easy right? Alan, yelled Better luck next time! as he zoomed past

Well, Alan, of course, easy right? Alan, yelled Better luck next time! as he zoomed past Tom.

Alan was the winner.

Okay, that is the end of the mini-story for The Race

Day of the Dead


I arrive in Guatemala on The Day of the Dead, November 1st. Im curious about this holiday, so I
go
to the cemetery to see whats happening. What I find is quite interesting.
The atmosphere is like a party. There are people everywhere. Families are sitting around the
graves of their dead ancestors. They clean the graves and add fresh flowers. I walk through the
cemetery and admire the beauty of all the colorful flowers.
There is also color in the sky, because many kids are flying kites. Some families are having a
picnic
next to the graves. They eat, drink, and chat together. People laugh and smile.
In the Unites States, cemeteries are always somber. We certainly never have festivals or parties
next to graves. We dont laugh or play music or fly kites in cemeteries either.
I find that I prefer the Guatemalan approach. I like the way they remember and celebrate those
who have passed away. I like that they acknowledge death, instead of denying it the way
Americans do. I like that there is life, as well as death, in their cemeteries.
Guatemalans call it The Day of the Dead, but it is also a day to appreciate life.

Day of the Dead

A Kiss
Carlos buys a new car. It's a very expensive car. It's a huge, blue,
fast car. While driving down the street, Carlos sees a girl on a bicycle.
She has long blond hair and is beautiful.
He yells to her, "What's up?"
She ignores him.
He yells, "How's it going?"
She keeps going and ignores him.
He yells, "Hey, why won't you talk to me? I want to go to dinner with
you. I'll take you to an expensive restaurant."
The girl turns, gets off the bike, and looks at him. She says, "I don't
want to go to dinner. But if you give me your car, I will give you a surprise."
Carlos says, "OK!" He jumps out of the car. He gives her the keys
and says, "Here are the keys."
The beautiful blond takes the keys and then kisses Carlos on the
cheek. Then she jumps into the car and drives away.
Carlos stands on the sidewalk. Now he has no car and no girl. He
says, "That's it, just a kiss on the cheek?"
He gets on her bike and rides home.
Vocabulary
huge: adj. very very big
Whats up: a greeting,
hello
ignores: v. doesnt listen to
Hows it going: a greeting,
How are you?
keeps: v. continues

Thats it: idiom. That is all,


there is no more, that is
everything
Past Tense Verb Forms
buys: bought
is: was
driving: was driving
drive: drove
sees: saw
has: had
yells: yelled
ignores: ignored
keeps: kept
turns: turned
looks: looked
says: said
jumps: jumped
gives: gave
takes: took
kisses: kissed
drives: drove
stands: stood
gets on: got on
rides: rode

Bubbas Food
Sara Smith, who lives in San Francisco, went shopping for cat food.
Sara is 30, and lives at 3037 Market St. She has lived there since 1990. Sara is married. She is
married to a man named John. She has been married for 7 years.
They have two children, and one very big cat. Their son Bob is five years old and their daughter

Nancy is three. Their cat, Bubba, is 2 years old. Bubba is huge. He weighs 258 pounds (117
kilos)!
At 9am, Sara got into her car and drove to the pet store. She bought 68 bags of cat food for $10
each plus tax. The regular price was $15, so she got a good deal. The total was $680. She paid
by credit card.
On her way home, Sara stopped at a convenience store to buy milk. Bubba loves milk. The milk
was $3.00 for one gallon, and Sara bought 30 gallons. She paid $100 and got $10 back in
change.
Sara got home at 11 a.m. Bubba was waiting at the door. He was very hungry.
Bubbas Food

Changed Nivel

1.4

NO AFFECTION ANYMORE
DEAR ABBY:
My husband of 39 years no longer hugs me or shows me any affection. I have seen him through
cancer and diabetes. We have four grown children, and we have been seeing a therapist for a
year
and a half. He is kind, generous and friendly, but there are no compliments or any of the
flirtatious
banter we used to enjoy.
He swears he's not having an affair, and he doesn't know why he has changed. Perhaps you
do?
-- GRACE IN PHOENIX

Drag 1.5
HIGH PRICE OF MOM'S HELP IS DRAG ON FAMILY BUSINESS
DEAR ABBY:
Twenty years ago, my sister and I bought a business from our mother. We all love and respect
one
another and get along well. We will be finished paying off the business in two years.

Our problem: Mom, who is now 77, still draws a salary from us above and beyond the payment
for
the business. Her workload has lessened greatly, as it should. She could do all of her work in
one
day and lessen the burden of her salary. However, she says she'd "go crazy" if she retired. We
don't want that. She could still come in as often as she wants and do her personal paperwork,
banking,
letter-writing, reading, etc. These are all things she does at "work" -- on the clock.
If we try to discuss this, Mom gets hurt and says, "Just let me know when I'm not worth the
money."
We don't want to do that. We would hope she would see the fairness of this and suggest it
herself.
Business expenses are going through the roof, and there are updates we should make, but we
can't do it as long as we are paying Mom at the level we are, on top of the money for the buyout.
-- DAUGHTERS DEAREST

Bad Choices 2.1


Publish Date: April 6, 2007
Dear Dr. Tracy,
I am a 33 year old divorced woman with four kids. I was married for 12 years and I have been
divorced for
approximately 3 years. I met my new boyfriend during my divorce. We hit it off and have been
together ever
since. He is a 44 year old divorced man. When I met him he had been divorced for 2 years.
Well, I met his exwife
and she seemed to be an okay person. What I found out 3 months into my relationship with him
was that
he was fooling around with his ex-wife again-- who also at this time had a boyfriend of her own.
I figured
that since I did not have a committed relationship with him, I had no place to say anything. The
problem is
it continued further into our relationship, up to the point when I found out I was pregnant. At the
same time I
found out that he and his ex-wife planned to go to his family reunion together. Of course before
all of this, I

drove by his house one night and saw her car parked outside his home. The excuse I got after
all of this was
that they were considering getting back together. I thought it was very funny that as soon as she
met me, she
found interest in him again.
I guess my issue is the fact that now I am still in this relationship. I have brought a child into this
nonsense
and I hate the fact that he keeps in contact with her. My boyfriend has taken responsibility for
her son from a
previous relationship. His excuse for having so much contact with his ex-wife is because of that
boy. I know
this is not true but I have no real proof otherwise. I have also dealt with him taking women to
hotels and my
gut tells me it was her, but he promises it was not her.
I have tried to get over all the cheating. I know that she is very close to his family and I also
know that his
family does not like me because I stand up for myself. I guess the bottom line is knowing how
much contact
his ex-wife has with him and the fact that he knows I cant stand her. Am I in a weird relationship
with a man
that wants to have his cake and eat it too? Or am I being paranoid and need to trust him when
he says he
does not want her. I have never had so much animosity towards two people in my life. I do love
this man, but
I feel like I have put myself back in an unhealthy relationship with a man that is trying to lie to
me.
To be totally honest, now that I have his child I even hate the fact that he helps her son. She
never has to ask
for anything regarding that boy, but I have to constantly remind him when our son needs
something. He does it
for the other boy without thinking, but my son is a second thought even when I have said, Look
at your son.
He is in dire need. I was married to a cheating man and hooked up with another cheating man.
I wonder if
its just my bad choices in men.

Double Standard

Publish Date: April 8, 2007


FAMILY IS UNEASY WHEN ONE SISTER DATES OTHER'S EX-LOVER
DEAR ABBY:
My sister, "Jane," and I are both in our mid-50s. Jane has had numerous affairs over the past
several years
after her third divorce, and was involved in an "intimate relationship" with a terrific man, "Will,"
that lasted
about three months. Jane broke up with Will several months after she decided he wasn't what
she was looking
for, and she's presently engaged to be married to a very nice man ("Sam") and seems very
happy.
I dated Will several times before he and Jane became involved. We weren't intimate at that
time, and we started
seeing each other again over the last month. This time we have fallen in love.
My problem is Jane is upset that Will and I are together and says I have "betrayed" her. She is
worried about
having her former and current lovers present at family gatherings, and our parents are also
concerned. They say
it's "just weird." The fact that my sister was intimate with Will doesn't bother me or Will, but it
sure bothers
them.
Abby, I have always been the "good girl" in the family and bowed to their pressure, but my
relationship with
Will is more than I could have ever imagined, and I don't want to give up my future happiness
just to make my
sister and my parents more comfortable. My adult children have all met and approve of Will and
our relationship,
but Jane and my parents won't budge. Any suggestions?
-- WANTS WILL IN WALLAWALLA, WASH.
DEAR WANTS WILL: Perhaps it's time to stop being the "good girl," begin acting like a woman
who knows
what she wants, and confront the double standard in your family. If your sister was
"sophisticated" enough to
have serial affairs, and your parents have been so worldly they have turned a blind eye to it,
then they should

all be adult enough to realize that you are entitled to your happiness, too.
Although this may make for some awkward first few family gatherings, as grown-ups, everyone
should be able
to get past it. But if they can't, you are going to have to decide whether you want this man, or to
be a peoplepleaser
for the rest of your life.

Lost Custody
Publish Date: March 20, 2007
YOUNG MOTHER IS FRIGHTENED BY THREAT OF LOST CUSTODY
DEAR ABBY:
I am 22 years old and have been married 17 months. "Derek" and I have a 23-month-old son.
Derek hasn't
worked for about a year and refuses to help support our family. He also belittles me whenever
he talks to me. I
am not happy in this marriage, but I am not sure what to do about it.
On our honeymoon, Derek told me if I ever divorced him that he'd make sure he would get
custody of our son.
And his mom already said that she would tell the judge that I was an unfit mother.
My son is my world, Abby. He doesn't even let his daddy hold him, so I know he wouldn't be
better off with
Derek. But because I am on disability, I don't know if I have a good chance of getting custody if I
leave. I
don't feel Derek loves me or my son.
What should I do? Stick it out with my husband or take the chance of losing my son?
-- TRAPPED IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

Meddling Mother-In-Law
Publish Date: March 12, 2007
Old Audio Article Archives Available At:
http://www.effortlessenglish.libsyn.com
WIFE READY TO WASH HER HANDS OF MEDDLING MOTHER-IN-LAW

DEAR ABBY:
How do I politely tell my mother-in-law to stop doing my laundry? It all started when I was on
bed rest due
to my pregnancy. I didn't mind her doing an occasional load to help us out. But now she does it
anytime she's
over to watch the kids.
I'm very picky about how I do my laundry, and this is the main reason I don't want her doing it.
Also, I'd prefer
she spend time playing with the kids than with the laundry!
She also puts things away in the wrong places. She does it with my dishes, too. Once I told her
not to worry
about my laundry because I wasn't done sorting it. She took it upon herself to do it anyway.
She's very strong-willed. My husband and I have had problems with her not respecting our
parenting, too.
She often takes things the wrong way. What's the best way for us to tell her that her help is not
needed?
-- DIRTY FAMILY LAUNDRY

Disobedience
Publish Date: December 3, 2006
All Sound (Audio) Archives Available At:
http://www.effortlessenglish.libsyn.com
Law never made men more just; and, by means of their respect for
it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice. A
common and natural result of an undue respect for law is, that you
may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, privates and all,
marching in admirable order over hills to the wars, against their
wills, indeed, against their common sense and consciences. They
have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned;
they are all peaceably inclined. Now, what are they? Men
at all? Or small movable forts, at the service of some unscrupulous
man in power?

The mass of men serve the State thus, not as men mainly, but as
machines, with their bodies. They are the standing army. In most
cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the
moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth
and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will
serve the purpose as well. Such people command no more respect
than men of straw, or a lump of dirt. They have the same sort of
worth only as horses and dogs. Yet such as these are commonly
considered good citizens.
-- Henry David Thoreau (Civil Disobedience)
Many of the abominable problems in the world are the result of obedience.
In our personal lives, in the media, we cry and moan and
blame "our leaders" for the problems of the world. We shift responsibility
to them. But are they solely responsible? What about the thousands
and millions who are actually carrying out their orders?
These people are the ones actually doing the terrible things that their
leaders want done. These people have abandoned their conscience
and have abandoned their responsibility.
Can such people be considered adult human beings at all; or are they
still children, or dogs-- dutifully obeying their master-parent?
Think of the American soldiers currently in Iraq. In the end, it is not
George Bush who is pulling the trigger or dropping the bombs or torturing
the prisoners. He merely gives the orders- orders which no
particular man or woman must follow. For while they might be discharged
or put in prison for refusing an order, no one will be hurt or
killed for doing so.
Isn't Thoreau correct? Aren't our true heroes the ones who disobey
unjust laws? Aren't the true heroes the ones who follow their conscience?
Here in America, it is our rebels who are our historical
heroes- those who refused to support injustice: Martin Luther King,

the heroes of the American revolution, John Brown, Malcolm X, Susan


B. Anthony, Vietnam War resistors....
In the present, such people are always condemned. They are
attacked, called unpatriotic, imprisoned, and vilified. Yet history is
usually kind to such people, and harsh to the unjust. In the 1950s,
Martin Luther King was vilified as a radical. Today, he is celebrated
as a hero, while the authorities he resisted are now viewed as the
worst kind of scum.
Thoreau, and later Gandhi and Martin Luther King, all believed that
individual conscience was more just and powerful than law. All three
encouraged people to break unjust laws; and to instead have
respect for what is good, right, true, and just. Though all three men
are now dead, their message is as important today as it was during
their lifetime.
Thoreau was a great writer, philosopher, poet, and a most practical
man, that is, he taught nothing he was not prepared to practice in
himself. He was one of the greatest and most moral men America has
produced.
--Mohandas Gandhi
just: fair, good, correct and fair
by means of: because of
well-disposed: people with good
thoughts (with good hearts)
agents: actors, doers
injustice: unfairness, wrongness,
badness, evil
undue: too much, not necessary
a file of: a line of
soldiers: fighters, army people
colonel, captain, privates: ranks
(levels) of people in the army
admirable: should be admired; worthy,
good
against their wills: not by choice;
against what they want to do
common sense: what most think is
correct and right
conscience: feeling of what is right

and wrong; moral feeling


damnable: horrible, terrible, wrong
inclined: what someone usually
does or thinks (usually peaceful)
forts: an army building, a base
unscrupulous: without morals; without
goodness
the mass of men: most men
the State: the country, the nation
standing army: permanent army
exercise: use (noun)
the judgement: ability to make decisions
the moral sense: ability to decide
what is right and wrong
manufactured: made, created
command: demand, require
straw: hay
lump: small round piece
considered: thought to be
abominable: horrible, terrible
obedience: doing what someone
else tells you to do
the media: newspaper, TV, etc...
moan: make a sad sound
blame: criticize
shift: move; change
solely: only
carrying out their orders: doing
what they say to do
abandoned: left; got rid of
dutifully obeying: doing what other
people say-- because of duty

soldiers: fighters in an army


trigger: part of a gun that you pull
(in order to shoot)
torturing: hurting (someone who
is helpless or powerless)
orders: commands
particular: individual
discharged: fired (from the army)
refusing: saying no (to an
order/command)
disobey: not do something that
you are told to do
unjust: not fair, not good, not
moral
follow their conscience: do what
you think is right/good/moral
rebels: those who fight against

authority/power
resistors: people who resist, people
who dont obey
condemned: criticized, blamed,
said to be guilty, accused
unpatriotic: not loving your country,
not loyal to your country
imprisoned: put in jail, put in
prison
vilified: described as a bad person,
described as a terrible or evil
person
harsh: tough, not kind, not gentle
a radical: someone who fights for
big changes; someone who fights
the government
celebrated as: praised as
the authorities: the government;
those with power
scum: low class people, criminals,
bad person/people
to break unjust laws: to disobey
bad laws
lifetime: time a person lives; time
when a person is alive

Emotionally Intelligent Husbands


Publish Date: September 16, 2007
Old Audio Article Archives Available At:
http://www.effortlessenglish.libsyn.com
by Dr. John Gottman
My data on newlywed couples indicate that more husbands are being transformed.
About 35 percent of the men we've studied fall into the category of
"emotionally intelligent husbands". Research from previous decades suggests
the number used to be much lower. Because this type of husband honors
and respects his wife, he will be open to learning more about emotions
from her. He will come to understand her world and those of his children
and friends. He may not emote in the same way that his wife does, but he
will learn how to better connect with her emotionally. As he does so, he'll
make choices that show he honors her. When he's watching the football

game and she needs to talk, he'll turn off the TV and listen. He is choosing
"us" over "me".
I believe the emotionally intelligent husband is the next step in social evolution.
This doesn't mean that he is superior to other men in personality,
upbringing, or moral fiber. He has simply figured out something very
important about being married that the others haven't yet. And this is how to
honor his wife and convey his respect to her. It is really that elementary.
The new husband is likely to make his career less of a priority than his family
life because his definition of success has been revised. Unlike husbands
before him, he makes a detailed map of his wife's world. He keeps in
touch with his admiration and fondness for, and he communicates it by
turning toward her in his daily actions.
This benefits not only his marriage but his children as well. Research shows
that a husband who can accept influence from his wife also tends to be an
outstanding father. He is familiar with his children's world and knows all
about their friends and their fears. Because he is not afraid of emotions, he
teaches his children to respect their own feelings-- and themselves. He turns
off the football game for them, too, because he wants them to remember him
as having had time for them.
Emotionally Intelligent Husbands
www.effortlessenglish.com
The new type of husband and father leads a meaningful and rich life.
Having a happy family base makes it possible for him to create and work
effectively. Because he is so connected to his wife, she will come to him not
only when she is troubled but when she is delighted. When the city awakens
to a beautiful fresh snowstorm, his children will come running for him to
see it. The people who matter most to him will care about him when he lives
and mourn him when he dies.
The other kind of husband and father is a very sad story. He responds to the
loss of male entitlement with righteous indignation, or he feels like an

innocent victim. He may become more authoritarian or withdraw into a


lonely shell, protecting what little he has left. He does not give others very
much honor and respect because he is engaged in a search for the honor and
respect he thinks is his due. He will not accept his wife's influence because
he fears any further loss of power. And because he will not accept influence
he will not have very much influence. The consequence is that no one will
much care about him when he lives nor mourn him when he dies.
data: n. information, facts
newlywed: adj./n.people who
were recently married; newly
married
indicate: v. show
transformed:v. changed
emotionally intelligent: adj.
good at handling emotions,
good at talking about emotions
honors: v. respects
emotions: n. feelings
emote: v. show feelings
evolution: n. change over time,
development
superior: adj. better
upbringing: n. how someone
was raised (by parents)
moral fiber: n. goodness
convey: v. show, communicate
elementary: adj. simple, basic
priority: n. something that is
important
revised: v./adj. changed, edited
map of his wifes world:
detailed knowledge of wifes
life
keeps in touch with: remembers
admiration: n. liking, respect
fondness: n. good feelings for
outstanding: adj. Great
leads: v. does, lives
troubled: adj.having a problem,
upset
delighted: adj. very happy
mourn: v. feel sad for someone
who is dead (or gone)
entitlement: n. power (given by

society or government)
righteous indignation: n. feeling
very angry and correct;
angry because you think you
are right
authoritarian: adj. bossy, controlling
withdraw into a lonely shell:
idiom. stop communicating
with other people
is his due: idiom. he is supposed
to get, is his right
consequence: n. result

First Battle
Publish Date: April 25, 2007
by AJ Hoge
A howl from the opposing army..... swords thudded against shields... thunder
beat in unison. Hearts pounded. I gripped my sword... and braced the shield
against my shoulder. Giddy tendrils raced through my gut and chest....... a wild
grin broke upon my face. I began to bounce.... knees spring-like.....standing on
toes. A racehorse in the gate.
A wild shout went up to my left..... I turned to see a wiry warrior clad in
sparkling scale and a green cape..... carrying a coffin shaped shield. He strode
the front of our lines, turned to our enemies and threw insults against them,
Cowardly vermin of Trimaris, prepare to die... he shook his sword and our
army let out a cackling howl. Goose bumps spread across arms and belly..... I
thudded the butt of my (rattan) sword on the inside of the shield.... our lines
advanced.
The enemy continued drumming their shields, and likewise strode forward. Full
of adrenaline, eyes wide with awe, muscles tense as steel....... I approached my
first battle... almost forgetting that none of this was real. No one would die.
No one would kill.
This was my introduction to the SCA, or the Society for Creative
Anachronism. The SCA is a collection of oddballs who dress in medieval
clothing, strap on armor, and beat each other with wooden swords. They also
dance, sing, and create works of art. The group is a collection of outlandish
creatives, hyper-intelligent geeks, talented artists, hammish performers, history
buffs, academics, poets, social misfits, and folks who simply refuse to succumb
to the drudgery of being normal. I was a member for nearly ten years.... and
loved every minute.
The heart of the SCA is the weekend event..... an affair that revolves around
a number of semi-historic activities, usually held at a state park. Typically, a
battle or tournament is the centerpiece of the event. My first battle was
small by todays standards..... each army had only 100 people. The group now
hosts battles which involve thousands of participants... the largest is held annually
in Pennsylvania, in August, and is known as the Pennsics War. As the
Pennsics example implies, SCA groups and events are spread throughout the
United States. In fact, the group is growing internationally, especially in

Europe. There are also groups in Japan and Korea.

First Battle

www.effortlessenglish.com

The SCA divides the US, and the world, into a patchwork of regional organizations,
called kingdoms. Georgia, for example, is part of the Kingdom of
Meridies, which also includes Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi. North and
South Carolina are the Kingdom of Atlantia. California is in the West
Kingdom. Each Kingdom is further divided into local groups, called Baronies
or Shires.
The function of local groups is to host events, welcome newcomers, and teach
medieval skills. Skills include arts such as calligraphy, jewelry making, woodworking,
and costuming; craft arts such as armoring & blacksmithing; performing
arts such as medieval dancing and singing; and martial arts such as hand-tohand
fighting and archery. Most groups host a weekly business meeting and
various guild meetings to practice these arts.
Since I joined, the organization has expanded tremendously and is now a fullfledged
counter society: with its own government (a monarchy- with rulers
chosen by combat), its own economy (some members make a full-time living
selling their arts), and its own social system (a system of titles, clans, knights,
and nobles). Every member of the SCA develops an alternate persona: a
medieval character they become during events.
The combined effects are stunning. At times, I felt Id been transported back in
time. My first SCA battle produced all the nerves, all the excitement, all the
intensity of entering a real battle: pounding heart and manic energy and fear
of being killed.
For some, the SCA is an exercise in living history. Many members are meticulous
researchers- accomplished experts in a chosen discipline of history. Others
join the group for its unique social characteristics-- its embracement of eccentricity....
its community and camaraderie. But for me, the SCA was an act of
jubuliant defiance: an enthusiastic refusal to surrender to tedium.
I did not, and do not, want to abandon the creative flow of childhood. I am
convinced that play.... fantasy and creativity for its own sake... is a deep and
profound human need; one we, as adults, must nurture and maintain. Play is
not an escape.... it is a celebration. Play is the essence of creativity.
We, as adults-- for the sake of our happiness and our souls, should re-discover it.

The Role of Media 1


Publish Date: March 28, 2007
by Noam Chomsky
The role of the media in contemporary politics forces us to ask what kind of
a society we want to live in, and in particular in what sense of democracy
do we want this to be a democratic society? Let me begin by counter-posing
two different conceptions of democracy.
One conception of democracy has it that a democratic society is one in
which the public has the means to participate in some meaningful way in the
management of their own affairs and the means of information are open and
free. If you look up democracy in the dictionary you'll get a definition
something like that.

An alternative conception of democracy is that the public must be barred


from managing their own affairs and the means of information must be kept
narrowly and rigidly controlled. That may sound like an odd conception of
democracy, but it's important to understand that it is the prevailing conception.
In fact, it has long been, not just in operation, but even in theory. There's a
long history that goes back to the earliest modern democratic revolutions in
seventeenth century England which largely expresses this point of view.
I'm just going to keep to the modern period and say a few words about how
that notion of democracy develops, and why and how the problem of media
and disinformation enters within that context.
contemporary: adj. modern,
current
in what sense: in what manner,
in what way or kind
counter-posing: v. comparing
conceptions: n. ideas, theories
has it: v. says
affairs: n. lives, life issues &
activities
means: n. methods, ways
look up: v. search for and find,
look for and find
alternative: adj. different
barred from: v. prevented
from, stopped from
narrowly: adv. in a careful and
tight way, in a small way
rigidly: adv. without flexibility,
in a strict & tough way
odd: adj. strange
prevailing: adj. common,
majority
in operation: in reality, in use,
related to how something is
done
in theory: in idea, related to
idea
largely: adv. mostly
point of view: n. opinion, belief
keep to: v. stay with, stick with
notion: n. idea
disinformation: n. wrong
information, lies, propaganda
context: n. situation, environment.

Neo-Bedouins

Publish Date: March 14, 2007


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A new breed of worker, fueled by caffeine and using the tools of modern
technology, is flourishing in the coffeehouses of San Francisco. Roaming
from cafe to cafe and borrowing a name from the nomadic Arabs who wandered
freely in the desert, they've come to be known as "bedouins."
San Francisco's modern-day bedouins are typically armed with laptops and
cell phones, paying for their office space and Internet access by buying coffee
and muffins.
San Francisco's bedouins see themselves changing the nature of the workplace,
if not the world at large. They see large companies like General
Motors laying off workers, contributing to insecurity. And at the same
time, they see the Internet providing the tools to start companies on the
cheap. In the Bedouin lifestyle, they are free to make their own rules.
"The San Francisco coffeehouse is the new Palo Alto garage," declares
Kevin Burton, 30, who runs his Internet startup Tailrank without renting
offices. "It's where all the innovation is happening."
The move toward mobile self employment is also part of what author Daniel
Pink identified when he wrote "Free Agent Nation" in 2001.
"A whole infrastructure has emerged to help people work in this way,"
Pink said. "Part of it includes places like Kinkos, Office Depot and Staples."
It also includes places like Starbucks and independent coffee shops, where
Wi-Fi -- wireless Internet access for laptops and other devices -- is available.
"The infrastructure makes it possible for people to work where they want,
when they want, how they want," said Pink.
Pink calls it "Karl Marx's revenge, where individuals own the means of
production. And they can take the means of production and hop from coffee
shop to coffee shop."

Neo-Bedouins
"There is nothing more free than being a Web worker," Om Malik says.
"There is no boss. You work for yourself. This is the new Wild West. The
individual is more important. That's the American way. It's about doing
things your own way. Web workers represent that. ... It's the future, my
friend."
Ritual Roasters in San Francisco's Mission District is in many ways the epicenter
of the bedouin movement. Ritual, on Valencia Street near 21st Street,
is almost always packed with people working on laptops.
Every bedouin seems to have a Ritual story. There's the time someone
buzzed through the cafe on a Segway scooter. Rubyred Labs, a hip Web
design shop in South Park, had its launch party there. Teams from established
Web companies such as Google Inc. and Flickr, a photo sharing site that's
now owned by Yahoo, meet there. "You'd never know these guys were millionaires,"
said Ritual co-owner Jeremy Tooker.
As for why they're there, Sean Kelly said, "I'm visiting with my friends
instead of being locked up in a big building in the South Bay."
Using a cafe to run a business is nothing particularly new. Venerable insurance

firm Lloyd's of London was actually started in a coffee house, Kennedy


points out. According to the Lloyd's of London Web site, "Edward Lloyd
opened a coffee house in 1688, encouraging a clientele of ships' captains,
merchants and ship owners -- earning him a reputation for trustworthy shipping
news. This ensured that Lloyd's coffee house became recognized as the
place for obtaining marine insurance."
Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote some of their best work in
Parisian cafes. And in San Francisco, writers and poets of the Beat generation,
such as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, wrote in the cafes of North
Beach.
Caffe Trieste was among the most popular North Beach hangouts. "To have
a cappuccino, you come to North Beach, to Caffe Trieste," says Giovanni
"Papa Gianni" Giotta, the founder.
Now Caffe Trieste has joined the ranks of Wi-Fi cafes. It would figure that
the one laptop in action on a recent afternoon belonged to an art dealer. "A
cappuccino for overhead isn't bad," said David Salow, 33. He struck out on
his own three months ago, and has yet to open a gallery. "Sixty to 70 percent
of what I do can be done with the standard tools available to everyone -- a
phone, a computer and a laptop connection."

New Years Resolutions


Publish Date: January 4, 2007
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So, have you made your New Years resolutions? What are your
goals for the coming year? Do you have formal, written resolutionsor
just a vague plan?
The tradition of the New Year's Resolutions goes all the way back to
153 BC. Janus, a mythical king of early Rome was placed at the
head of the calendar.
With two faces, Janus could look back on past events and forward to
the future. Janus became the ancient symbol for resolutions and
many Romans asked for forgiveness from their enemies and also
exchanged gifts before the beginning of each year.
The New Year has not always begun on January 1, and it doesn't
begin on that date everywhere today. It begins on that date only for
cultures that use a 365-day solar calendar. January 1 became the
beginning of the New Year in 46 B.C., when Julius Caesar developed
a calendar that would more accurately reflect the seasons
than previous calendars had.
The Romans named the first month of the year after Janus, the god
of beginnings and the guardian of doors and entrances. He was
always depicted with two faces, one on the front of his head and one

on the back. Thus he could look backward and forward at the same
time. At midnight on December 31, the Romans imagined Janus looking
back at the old year and forward to the new. The Romans began
a tradition of exchanging gifts on New Year's Eve by giving one
another branches from sacred trees for good fortune. Later, nuts or
coins imprinted with the god Janus became more common New
Year's gifts.
A New Year's resolution is a commitment that an individual makes to
a project or a habit, often a lifestyle change that is generally interpreted
as advantageous. The name comes from the fact that these
commitments normally go into effect on New Year's Day and remain
until the goal has been achieved, although many resolutions go
unachieved and are often broken fairly shortly after they are set.
Many New Year resolutions in the Western world involve maintaining
peak vitality, physical fitness, or appearance. For example, one person's
goal might be to reduce or to eliminate intake of alcohol or
tobacco.
The most common new year's resolution is weight loss. A student may
make a resolution to stay focused in class or to complete all of his
assignments. Resolutions to eat sensibly or increase exercise are
also quite common.

No Belief
Publish Date: February 6, 2007
Old Audio Article Archives Available At:
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This remark was made, in these very words, by John Gribbin, physics editor
of New Scientist magazine, in a BBC-TV debate with Malcolm Muggeridge,
and it provoked incredulity on the part of most viewers. It seems to be a
hangover of the medieval Catholic era that causes most people, even the
educated, to think that everybody must "believe" something or other, that if
one is not a theist, one must be a dogmatic atheist, and if one does not
think Capitalism is perfect, one must believe fervently in Socialism, and if
one does not have blind faith in X, one must alternatively have blind faith
in not-X or the reverse of X.
My own opinion is that belief is the death of intelligence. As soon as one
believes a doctrine of any sort, or assumes certitude, one stops thinking
about that aspect of existence. The more certitude one assumes, the less
there is left to think about, and a person sure of everything would never have
any need to think about anything and might be considered clinically dead
under current medical standards, where absence of brain activity is taken

to mean that life has ended.


My attitude is identical to that of Dr. Gribbin and the majority of physicists
today, and is known in physics as "the Copenhagen Interpretation," because
it was formulated in Copenhagen by Dr. Niels Bohr and his co-workers
between 1926-28. The Copenhagen Interpretation is sometimes called
"model agnosticism" and says that any grid we use to organize our experience
of the world is a model of the world and should not be confused with
the world itself. Alfred Korzybski tried to popularize this outside physics
with the slogan, "The map is not the territory." Alan Watts, a talented
Oriental philosopher, restated it more vividly as "The menu is not the meal."
Belief in the traditional sense, or certitude, or dogma, amounts to the
grandiose delusion, "My current model" -- "contains the whole universe and
will never need to be revised." In terms of the history of science and knowledge
in general, this appears absurd and arrogant to me, and I am perpetually
astonished that so many people still manage to live with such a
medieval attitude.
Briefly, the main thing I have learned in my life is that "reality" is always
plural and mutable.
"Reality" is a word in the English language which is (a) a noun and (b) singular.
Thinking in the English language (and in many Indo-European languages)
therefore subliminally programs us to imagine "reality" as one
entity, sort of like a huge New York skyscraper, in which every part is just
another "room" within the same building. This linguistic program is so pervasive
that most people cannot "think" outside it at all, and when one tries to
offer a different perspective they imagine one is talking gibberish.
The notion that "reality" is a noun, a solid thing like a brick or a baseball
bat, derives from the biological fact that our nervous systems normally
organize the dance of energy into such block-like "things," probably as
instant survival cues. Such "things," however, dissolve back into energy
dances -- processes or verbs -- when the nervous system is joined with certain
drugs or transmuted by spiritual exercises or aided by scientific instruments.
In both mysticism and physics, there is general agreement that
"things" are constructed by our nervous systems and that "realities" (plural)
are better described as systems or bundles of energy functions.
So much for "reality" as a noun. The notion that "reality" is singular, like a
sealed jar, does not jibe with current scientific findings which, in this century,
suggest that "reality" may better be considered as flowing and meandering,
like a river, or interacting, like a dance or evolving, like life itself.
Most philosophers have known, at least since around 500 B.C., that the
world perceived by our senses is not "the real world" but a construct we
create -- our own private work of art. Modern science beginning with
Galileo's demonstration that color is not "in" objects but "in" the interaction
of our senses with object, understands that reality is created by our own
brains.

Storytelling
Publish Date: December 17, 2006

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TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling)
"Suppose you want to remember a list of words... you will more readily
remember the words if you make a sentence or sentences connecting
the words in the form of a short story. You would remember it
even better if the story was easy to visualize and best of all if you
could picture a story that was dramatic, or vulgar, or comic, or in
some way involved your emotions.
A story is in fact a good mnemonic, and the more elaborate the
story the better. A story links words to be remembered and it causes
you to build up scenes that have visual, aural, and sensory associations
for you." (Collin Rose, 1985)
While Effortless English is simple, it is also, in fact, designed according
to research-proven methods. The major emphasis of the
Effortless English approach is to help students acquire English thoroughly
and effectively.
One way to do this is with mini-stories. At first glance, the mini-stories
may seem silly. They are usually kind of foolish and are quite
simple. Another thing that may seem strange is that I ask a lot of
questions as I retell the story. These questions can seem
redundant, ridiculously easy, or pointless. But they have a purpose.
The mini-stories are structured to help you more deeply remember
the new vocabulary. I use silly or exaggerated stories because they
are easier to visualize; and visualization aids memory. I use short and
fairly simple stories because they are also easier to remember and
picture. They are also easier for the learner to repeat and retell.
The questions, likewise, have a purpose. First, the questions provide
more repetition of the target vocabulary. Repetition is important.
Various research shows that we need to hear and see a new word
about 30+ times, in a meaningful and understandable context, to
remember it and be able to use it. The questions increase your exposure
to these new words-- getting you closer to the needed 30+ repetitions.
Another purpose of the questions is to force your brain to participate
in the story. As you listen, you should try to immediately answer the
questions as I ask them. This will trigger your memory more quickly
than if you just passively listen.
By working through all of the Effortless English system you will learn
new words, phrases, and grammar forms more thoroughly. Read the
articles and scan the word list. Listen to the articles several times.

Listen to the vocabulary lesson a couple of times. Listen to the ministory


several times- and quickly answer the questions as I ask them.
After completing the mini-story, stop your iPod and try to retell the
story out loud, in your own words- trying to use the new vocabulary
as much as possible.
By following all the steps, you will learn the new material thoroughly
and completely-- not just at a surface level.
You will then find it much easier to actually use what you have
learned.
Good luck!

Thriving On Chaos
Publish Date: January 27, 2007
All Sound (Audio) Archives Available At:
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"It is easy to understand why many teachers revert to textbooks or worksheets
when things around them are in constant, challenging motion, but
they must learn to be in motion, too. The students are being loud; they are
having a hard time paying attention to each other; they are having a hard
time paying attention to the teacher. We all know that telling students to turn
to page 37 and answer the questions can relieve chaos and make the room
quieter for a time. I've recently heard of a new trend of teachers using wireless
microphones in an effort to keep students' attention and be heard above
the other noise in the classroom. Education is not about who can speak the
loudest. It's about the students and teacher wanting to listen to each other. A
truly personalized, small school allows that to happen.
Another reason I look to my friend Tom Peters for ideas on how to deal with
the tough moments is because he entitled one of his books "Thriving on
Chaos". Tom told me it took him a long time to land on that word "thriving".
But he was looking for a way of saying you must be ready for and
enjoy the process of change. Our schools must be thriving environments,
thriving on the chaos and on the beauty. We all need to re-examine our situations
from time to time and make sure we are not sticking to old patterns in
new situations."
--Dennis Littky
I like the phrase "Thriving on Chaos". As we all know, the world is constantly
changing and its changing quickly. Science, education, travel, technology,
and human relationships are evolving rapidly. Sometimes it can
feel overwhelming.
In fact, many people do become overwhelmed by the pace of change. They
may become depressed. They may dig in and become very conservative in
an effort to stop.... or at least slow the change. Some people even become
quite bitter about it. Others try to keep up, but can't.
Without a doubt, human societies have changed. Its no longer possible to
thrive by doing things the way they have always been done. "We've always

done it that way" is no longer a reasonable explanation. In fact, it's an


excuse that is a recipe for failure.
So how can we thrive on chaos? How do we not only survive these rapid
changes, but learn to enjoy them? How do we use change to enhance our
lives?
It may seem antithetical, but one of the key ways to thrive on change is to
have a set of unchanging principles. A principle is not a rule. Rules are
inflexible. They are limiting. They slow us down and make it hard for us to
adapt quickly when circumstances change. Principles, on the other hand,
are highly adaptable. A principle is a general value -- a commitment to
something that is deep and meaningful. "I must always shake hands when I
meet a new person" is a rule. If you meet a Japanese person and you have
this rule, you may become confused. "I will try always be kind and respectful"
is a principle.
Principles are easily adaptable to new circumstances because principles are
generally not concerned with specific actions or details. There are many
ways to show respect, for example. In the past, schools, companies, and
individuals often focused on rules. The problem is, students, employees,
society, and individuals have changed. The old rules don't work anymore.
What we need to thrive in this tumultuous age are deep principles-- and the
flexibility to change the way we follow them.
Another vital skill for this age of chaos is reflection. Reflection means
thinking deeply about something-- usually yourself, your life, and your
actions. Many people have been taught to first think, then act. But I think
its better to do the opposite-- first act, then think. If you think first, it's easy
to get lost in a theoretical world of abstract ideas. The education field is
full of these kinds of people. They think, talk, write, and debate-- but its all
theory-- all in their head. These people actually have no idea what is happening
in the world and what would happen if they tried something new.
If you act first, however, you then have something concrete to think about.
Your thinking is grounded in the real world. When you act first, its harder
to become caught up in speculation. Another tremendous advantage to
acting first is that actions often have surprising consequences. When we
think, we often believe we have thought of every possibility. But then, to our
surprise, we discover that lots of unexpected things happen when we actually
try something new.
These surprises are the seeds of innovation and creativity. Unimaginative
people often label the surprises as "failures"-- simply because the results
were not as expected. But in the words of Tony Robbins, there are no failures-there are only results. In fact, so-called failures are often more valuable than what
most consider success. Failure gives you new ideas and new
input. "Success" often just reinforces your old ideas.
And so, to truly thrive on chaos, we must act first and then think. We must
also discard labels such as "failure" and "success" and instead think in terms
of "interesting results", "possibilities", and "opportunities".
The time for rigid, rule-centered thinking was 100 years ago. In the churning,
hyper speed digital age-- the only way to thrive is to stick to your principles,
act without fear, and embrace interesting failures. Those who thrive
on chaos are those who learn to enjoy the ride.