Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Sunday, March 25, 2007

English Teachers

At Effortless English, I've gotten a few English teachers as members. This has been a big surprise. I have always expected English learners to join.. but didn't expect English teachers to join.

But I guess it shouldn't be a huge surprise. The teachers can download the English lessons and play them to their classes. They can also print out the text for the articles. By using all the lesson parts, they get about an hour of teaching from each lesson.

Even better, in a classroom they can then follow-up with questions and discussions. Since the class will probably only hear each lesson once, they may not understand everything and may need to ask the teacher for clarification.

Since the articles are usually about thought-provoking topics, the teacher can lead a discussion (as a class, in small groups, or in pairs) after all the lessons are finished. This is a great way to conclude the lesson-- and a great way for students to solidify their knowledge.

Although all my efforts thus far have been directed towards getting English learners to join... perhaps I'll also start focusing on busy English teachers who are eager to use more natural lessons.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Birthday Special!

It was my birthday yesterday, so I'm offering a special FREE Trial with Effortless English. For just this weekend, you can try learning English with me for one month for free.

As a member, you can get all of my audio lessons and you can help me build the Effortless English Club. I hope you enjoy it.

To try one month for Free, go to www.effortlessenglish.com and then click the yellow "Join Now" square.

See you at Effortless English!

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Loving It

I don't know how else to say it, other than "I'm loving Effortless English". I'm just having a fantastic time. Why didn't I do this earlier?

Building the site has been a fantastic experience. To be sure, there have been many frustrations. Tomoe has gotten used to me screaming profanity at the computer :) I've had microphone problems, software problems, marketing problems, payment problems.

But one by one they've gotten solved. And slowly, membership has grown. Slowly, the lesson library has grown. Slowly, the quality and size of the site has grown.

Its an amazing experience to build something like this yourself. So different than working a job. As an employee-teacher, you are never really more than a Mc-WageSlave. You use the textbooks you are told to use, you follow the schedule you are given, you follow a curriculum developed by bureaucrats. However "good" your job, you always serve another's agenda in the end.

Under such circumstances, its hard to remain committed and passionate. And no wonder. No wonder burnout is so common. Who can sustain passion, after all, when you are not serving your own values and principles.

As a freelancing entrepreneur, I have no administrators over me, no rule books, no policy manuals, no "required curriculum", no command & control, no grades, no discipline, no bureaucrats to satisfy, no ego-maniac bosses to tip-toe around, no decorum to follow. I am free-- and so are my learner-members.

We are free to create a fun, cool, interesting, new learning community together. As a free entrepreneur, I can respond to a learner's suggestion immediately. Somebody suggests doing a lesson on censorship... and I can make one and put it on the site the next day. Someone suggests a Forum for scheduling Skype chats... bham, its done in 5 minutes. Somebody complains about a problem... I can immediately address it MYSELF. No administrators to consult or ask permission from. No procedure to follow. No imposed schedules or syllabi to worry about.

I tell you, its exhilarating!

It is absolutely exhilarating to create something yourself-- to be fully responsible and fully autonomous.

And the results are amazing too. The amount and quality of what you can do, when unfettered from bosses and bureaucrats, is simply amazing.

And so today, on my birthday, I offer my thanks to you-- the members of Effortless English. Thank you for helping me live this dream! Thank you for working together with me. Without you, it wouldn't be possible.

Truly, deeply,... Thank you.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Technical Frustrations

On one of our Forums, a member told me that the volume for several of the lessons was low. He also said my last two podcasts were much too quiet and he couldn't hear them.

I checked my audio files and there was definitely something wrong. But I couldn't figure out what the problem was. Finally, I found it-- my microphone was slowly dying.

I've had a lot of frustration with my sound equipment-- mainly the microphone. In the beginning, I tried using the built-in mic on my computer... but the quality wasn't good. Then I tried using the microphone on my iSight camera. This was an improvement, but there was always a background hum that was a bit annoying. Finally, I switched to a clip on mic (lavalier). The quality was better, but its a weak mic. Because of this I always had to increase the volume on each audio file. Then it started to die, and the volume decreased even more.

So yesterday I finally went out and bought a professional quality microphone. Its called the "Snowball" from the Blue company. What I love about this mic is that it plugs directly into the USB on my laptop. Most professional mics require additional equipment.

The sound quality is excellent. There is no background hum at all. Its also got a strong and clear sound. I hope Effortless English members notice the difference :)

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