Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Sunday, October 14, 2007

New Address For Blog

I have finally changed the address of the blog. We've got both the blog and the podcast on our main page now! Look on the right sidebar. New posts will be at:


This blog will remain active as Archives.... but all new posts will be at the above address.

There are a few reasons I've changed.

1. The new URL web address fits better with the main Effortless English Club pages.
2. This blog has tended to focus on my personal English teaching experiences...
3. This blog was written for a general audience of teachers and learners.
3. I want to focus specifically on interests, needs, and ideas related to The Effortless English Club Community (Lesson owners, Podcast listeners, Email Course graduates...)

So... I'll see you all at the new URL. English teachers and others, please enjoy the archives of this blog site.

Take care,


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Listen & Answer

Every student knows about "listen and repeat". Listen and repeat is the normal way to teach and learn English.

In school, the teacher says something in English. Then the students repeat exactly what the teacher said. I call this "robot English".

English students also do this at home. They buy CDs, or tapes, or a podcast. They listen. Then they repeat after the speaker. More robot English.

Listening to English is great-- but Listen and Repeat is the WRONG way to do it. Listen and repeat is a robot-like activity. You don't even need to understand the English to do it. Just copy the speaker like a robot.

There are several problems with this method:

1. It is passive. You don't think. You don't need to understand. You just repeat, like a robot machine.

2. It is totally unnatural. In a real conversation, will you ever do this? Of course not.

3. It is super boring. Since you don't use your brain, you quickly get bored with "listen and repeat".

As you know, I think Listening is THE MOST important activity for learning English. But you must use a better way.

That better way is "Listen and Answer". This means you Listen to a question, and then you Answer it. You don't repeat after the speaker, you answer his/her question correctly and quickly.

With Listen and Repeat, the speaker says, "What is your name?"... and then you repeat, "What is your name?"

With Listen and Answer, the speaker says, "What is your name?"... and you say, "My name is AJ". It seems like a small difference--- but in fact it is a VERY important difference.

To ANSWER, you MUST understand. You must understand the question, and then you must quickly think of an answer in English. This encourages your brain to think in English. This is an active method.

This is also much more natural. In real conversations, this is exactly what you do... someone asks you a question and you must understand it and answer it quickly.

Listen and Answer is also more interesting. It is challenging. You can't get bored and sleepy because you must Understand and Answer. Its like a game-- you try to answer more and more quickly.

When you use the old method, you are not ready for real conversations. When you use Listen and Answer, you are ready.

Effortless English lesson sets always include Listen and Answer Mini-Stories. You improve your English quickly by answering questions. The questions are usually very easy, but by answering them you teach your brain to use English quickly.

Get my lessons at: http://www.EffortlessEnglishClub.com

Or find your own Listen and Answer lessons and stories. Just never use "listen and repeat" again!

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007


I want to express my support and admiration for the heroes in Burma-- the monks, the students, the men & women who are fighting, non-violently, for freedom, democracy, human rights, and the true dharma.

Thousands of these brave and peaceful people have been killed by the horrible military government. The people in Burma knew what the military would do. They know their lives were at risk. They knew the government would imprison, torture, burn, and kill any who stood against them. Yet, the monks and people stood anyway.

The events in Burma remind us what is truly important. Let us support the Burmese people any way we can-- with our thoughts, by giving to Human Rights groups,.. and
by pressuring our own governments (and companies) to cut support for the military government.

To this effect, I am working on a new policy for Effortless English. We will give a percentage of every membership fee to Human Rights organizations.

Take care... AJ