I created this website as I was frustrated with a lot of mainstream language learning and teaching practices. You would think that with all the research that has been in the past 30 years or so, there would have been real developments. Unfortunately, the figures tells us that there have been virtually no improvements as far as outcomes go, in fact some would suggest that we have even gone backwards!
So, my mission has been, for many years now, to have learners experience such engagement and progress in their learning that they feel energised and motivated to keep at it. The result being a growth in their confidence alongside their growing skills. The reality is that you can experience confidence as a beginner, and at any point along the progress.
Learners continue to feel engaged when they experience real skill improvement that they achieve from their own efforts. Continuing dependence on others eventually kills motivation. So everything you read in these pages is about how you as a learner can become successfully independent. Not just independent but also an effective learner. There are many who are fiercely independent but have not realised what they need to do to keep learning.
It does not mean you do not go to others for help. It means you know exactly what you want, and you don’t give up your sense of what you need and let the teacher take the reins from you.
A bit of history
I wondered, from early on in my career, why it is that we all started out as great language learners, learning the hardest language of them all, our first, yet most people struggle to learn a subsequent language. On my journey to find the answer I explored many different theories of education and language education in particular. In my efforts to better understand the nature of language learning, I learned Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian and Spanish, none to the higher levels though. As an aside, but relevant I believe, I have also in this time been extensively involved in teacher education in various capacities, some of the time doing that to the exclusion of all else. During most of that time I was extensively involved in teaching English to those whose first language was not that.
In my search I came across some amazing teachers and ideas that were instrumental in very significant shifts in my thinking and in my practices. I spent many years developing what I learned and making it into something I can call “my own”.
Even then, though I believed I was helping my students far more than than I was before, I still felt there was something missing. I knew that because, despite my best efforts, some of my students were being held back by forces that I did not fully comprehend. It was as if some forces were at work beyond the realm of what is normally considered in language education.
So I turned some of my attention to looking at what it is in our experience that enables some to achieve success in life whilst, at the other end of the spectrum, others give up at the first sign of difficulty. In turning my attention to matters outside of languages to see what I could make of these factors in other areas, I explored many diverse ways of seeing the human condition, During this time I spent time looking into many areas, including Buddhism, the New Thought Movement and NLP.
I came to new understandings and refined some of my earlier ones about human nature, human endeavour and success. These I have integrated into what I do to provide what I can for my students so they can achieve what they desire.
On this website I have put together a range of insights into language learning that can help language learners improve the way they go about learning languages. The result of this can include everything from becoming more confident in their use of the language, to enjoying the process more to improving every aspect of language skills. These will be added to on a regular basis.
Along with this input, that can take your language learning to new heights if you learn to employ them, I will also be bringing you interviews with experts, tools and approaches that will also assist you to transform your learning. By following the posts, articles, podcasts and videos, depending on where you are at on your journey to achieve mastery in another language, you may:
- If you are starting out, begin your learning better understanding what to do and look for and what not to do so your experiences can be more productive and more satisfying!
- If you are already on your way, start to see improvements in areas where before you may have given up on or where you may be going too slowly..
- If you are a more advanced learner, open up doors that may either have appeared shut for you or you might not have even been aware that they existed.
I have also published a number of books, including Language Learning Unlocked and How to Dramatically Improve your Memory for Learning Languages, which extend and put these ideas into a coherent whole. These are good places to go to if you want a better grasp of the totality of the approach advocated here.
I am now making a range of personalised services for English language learners, to be added to on a regular basis, that you can find at https://englishconfidenceunlocked.com.
Currently these include a pronunciation feedback service, coaching and a number of ebooks on pronunciation. All of these products and services employ the kind of approach that I talk about and advocate on these pages.