Today I chat to you on the way home from work about the ups and downs of language learning.
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About the AuthorI learn languages, teach Australian English, and love all things science and nature!
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By pete — 2 years ago
In this episode of Walking With Pete I ask you guys for your advice on what area to focus on if I start making courses to sell on Aussie English. They’d be freely released on the podcast first, and then bundled into a course package to sell once they disappeared off the podcast episode list. Let me know what you think on Facebook!
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Walking With Pete: I need your advice!
G’day guys. Welcome to this episode of Walking With Pete. I hope it’s not too windy ‘cause it’s a little bit of a windy day, but it’s absolutely beautiful. It’s a Sunday afternoon. We’ve just passed lunchtime. [I’m] heading to the shops to go get some food ‘cause I’m starving, and I thought I would make a quick Walking With Pete episode.
So, what did I want to talk to you guys about today? Um… Oh I’ll give you a bit of an idea of what I’ve been up to, I guess, so I had work last night. I got home at about 12, so midnight, [I] went to bed, and then got up this morning at about 10:30. So, I had a bit of a sleep in, and then… ah… this morning my housemate and I were wanting to get rid of a whole lot of um… plant material, sort of dried leaves, dried branches, that have built up in the back yard after probably a year or two from this plant that we’ve got. We’ve got this Birds of Paradise plant that ah… has really fibrous ah… leaves and things that fall of it all the time, and it’s become a bit of a fire hazard, and obviously living in Australia bushfires are a bit of a problem, although not necessarily much of a problem here in Melbourne, but because of the temperature that can arrive in summer they can happen. We can have, you know, stints or runs of a few days of 40C or more. We have to quite often get rid of a lot of this material and either burn it off earlier on in the year. So, in spring after winter before it gets to hot. Or you have to have some… get rid of it some other way.
So, anyway, my housemate made a small brick enclosed space that we could put all this stuff in and burn it this morning, and geez it made a lot of smoke and it stank, but we got rid of most of it. Although, I think that we freaked out the neighbours. One of the neighbours was a bit worried I think. She came running out the back and looked over the fence thinking that something was on fire. So, that’s the phrase “To freak out”. “To freak out” means to worry or to scare someone.
Also, I guess, recently with the podcast I’ve been thinking about doing, you know, finding a way of making money from it without necessarily forcing anyone to have to pay for it obviously, because I want to be able to create free resources for you guys to use to improve your English that are fun, that are easy to use. And so, the main thoughts that I’m having at the moment, at least, are to create courses where you have like 50 episodes or so in a course with transcripts and I cover a certain area of English that I can make 50 or so episodes like the episodes I kind of do at the moment. For instance, the Pronunciation episodes. And I would make them… release them for free on the podcast first so that you guys all have a chance to use and listen to these things for free as they come out, but then as they slowly go down the podcast list of episodes, and then eventually disappear at the bottom, once they’ve all done that that is when I would package them into a product that I could then sell through Aussie English. So, that obviously people in the future can use these, but also to, yeah, reward you guys for listening at the moment and give you an opportunity to listen to them all for free, and then when they’re no longer on the available episode list bundle them into a package and sell them to people who haven’t obviously found the podcast when you guys have, and give them a chance to also use these episodes. So, that’s my thinking at the moment. How much and how many episodes and all of that I’ll deal with in the future. I haven’t thought that out too much at the moment, but the basic idea at the moment is to keep doing the Pronunciation episodes and hopefully… I might have to dive into the more basic areas like contracting verbs like “To be” and “To have” and all of that which… you guys… wop! [A] dog just scared the crap out of me. [It] jumped at the fence. Yeah, you guys already know I’m sure but, you know, you have to cover the basics just in case.
So, I’m thinking at the moment that I might finish doing as much of the pronunciation stuff as possible. And yeah, I hope you guys are enjoying that. Let me know what you think. But then after I finish the pronunciation sort of area or theme of English that is what I wanted to ask you about next. What would you guys like me to cover? So, there’s a few options obviously. I have a few ideas in my head like going over phrasal verbs. So, “to go out”, “to look down” whatever, those sorts of phrasal verbs that I know you guys have a lot of trouble with in English at times, or at least, certain people tell me that phrasal verbs are a real difficulty or a real nightmare in English. So, there were phrasal verbs. I could do a series on the fifty most, or the hundred most common phrasal verbs where I would tackle or cover a single verb at a time, in an episode, and give you…, you know, talk about how and when I would use the verb and then give you examples and sentences, listen and repeat or substitution exercises, for each verb. So, that would take a while. So, there’s that, phrasal verbs. And then there’s also the opportunity to do areas like using the verb “To get”, ‘cause I know the verb “To get” is a real nightmare in English as well because it has so many different uses. So, that was another option where I could do a whole series on how to use the verb “To get”. And then obviously Like A Native, the Like A Native series where they’re not necessarily complicated expressions or idioms that I would be covering in Like A Native, but they’re the small phrases that natives use all the time that you may not necessarily be taught in a class. And so, I keep thinking of so many of these. I have a list of probably about 50 different episodes that I have to write for Like A Native episodes at the moment, where every time I come up [with], or hear, or think of some of these phrases in my head I write them down, and I’m sure that they would be really helpful, ‘cause these are the kinds of things that I would really like to be learning if I was learning a foreign language.
So, those are some options. I probably haven’t thought of everything obviously that you guys could or might need help with. So, have a listen to this episode. Let me know what you think is important and what you would like to receive as episodes or as courses potentially for improving your Aussie English or English in general, because my aim here is to kind of give you resources that really boost you from the intermediate level to advanced level in English. So, obviously it’s not for beginners. It’s for people who already have a pretty solid base in English and can speak pretty well, and understand spoken English as I’m speaking it. And yeah, if you have any ideas or any suggestions for the kinds of things that I could give you guys or make for you guys in order to turn into courses that I could sell eventually, obviously to support Aussie English and allow me to keep doing what I’m doing, then let me know in this episode[‘s comments].
So, that’s probably enough or today guys. [I’m] standing outside the IGA which is a supermarket store here in Melbourne and I’m going to go get some food ‘cause I am starving! Chat to you soon. See you!
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Check out all the other recent Walking With Pete episodes below!
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By pete — 2 months ago
AE 504: How to IMPROVE Your English-Speaking Confidence!
All righty guys, it looks like summer has arrived! It is a hot one, actually. Need to wind down the windows and let the hot air of the car out because it’s boiling inside here, but yeah back in Ocean Grove.
Living with the folks at the moment for the next few months as we get settled and get organised and yeah, I’m enjoying being back. Canberra was good, Canberra was good, but I definitely know how it feels now to be away from family and friends, you know, it wasn’t the same experience as I’m sure a lot of you guys have gone through with regards to moving, moving abroad, moving overseas and having to live away from friends and family and effectively start again, but I definitely felt that to some extent as I knew absolutely no one in Canberra. Actually, that’s a lie. I knew one person who I saw once, two people two people. I lie. I lie. I knew two people, but I wasn’t very close friends with those people. So, I had to sort of kindle those relationships and become closer with them, but yeah.
It was difficult not being near family or anything like that the entire time, that was, that was quite hard so, I can appreciate what it’s like guys moving away for substantial amounts of time and having to restart your life because at the time we thought we were going to be there for two years, but only ended up being there for about six months fortunately or unfortunately.
Just going to straighten this camera. Anyway, today I wanted to chat about confidence and building confidence when speaking English or when wanting to learn English because I had a lesson recently with one of my students and he had some difficulties at work so, I might tell you his story because I won’t mention his name, but he had been hired for a job and after a few months they had decided to let him go because they decided that they didn’t
have the money to have him on board at his experience level and not have someone with more experience to help train him up so effectively they needed someone with more experience and they only had enough money to hire one person.
So, they decided they had to let him go but in the process of letting him go they had made him do a few exercises and like presentations to try and test whether he was going to be good enough for that position. So, I was helping him prepare for one of the talks that he had to give in order to try and, I guess, show confidence when he’s speaking when he’s presenting in English and, hopefully, keep his job.
But he lost it, unfortunately, because they had already decided that they needed someone more experienced, with more experience. I guess the good thing was though that he has grown a lot through that experience and he had to obviously work through some very tough situations and practice his English and presenting skills.
But the funny thing is with with this guy he speaks really well. He speaks really well, but he lacks the confidence because of these things that he’s gone through so, his confidence has been a bit chipped away at, it’s been a bit reduced because of these experiences where he is working for a company in Australia obviously is mostly Australians. They all speak English fluently and he has the same demands put on him as they would put on a native speaker.
Despite being able to speak incredibly well, obviously, sometimes probably more often than than a native speaker he finds it hard to find the words or to express himself as clearly and it’s led to this sort of positive feedback loop of second-guessing himself, so hesitating a lot more than normal and he was saying to me when I had these lessons with with him I’m really frustrated because I know I can speak really well. I I feel like my English has gotten a lot worse recently, not because I can’t speak English, I can’t use the tenses like my grammar and my vocab hasn’t gotten worse, but I’m finding it harder to express myself and when we got to the root of the cause that was more related to his confidence than his actual speaking
abilities and I guess that was an interesting thing for me because, he was the first person I’ve sort of encountered where his English was fine, but his speaking had taken a hit. It had been reduced because of this issue with confidence.
And so, the last few lessons we had been working through how to build his confidence to improve his speaking where he already obviously has a solid foundation with regards to his speaking and that’s why I wanted to make this video today guys for you to talk a bit about what you can do if you find yourself in a similar situation where, well, you don’t even necessarily have to be in a similar situation if you’re working on your speaking and trying to improve your speaking as well. This advice will obviously help you too, but if you are in a similar situation where your speaking is already at a very good level, but you’re finding it’s still hard to express yourself because of being nervous anxious and feeling like you just don’t have enough confidence, hopefully some of these tips and tricks or this advice that I will give you will help.
So, I sat down with this guy in a Skype call the other day and we were working through ideas about how he could build his confidence around speaking and and we we worked out that the problem with with why he was so nervous was because he was always, every time he was speaking English, was in a situation where something was on the line. All right, meaning that where he was at work, and he was speaking with colleagues and he was worried about his job or he was worried about his work.
So, he was constantly nervous there or he was in class with me and he felt a little bit nervous there as well because he is trying to learn he’s trying not to make mistakes and I said to him are you going out and finding ways to speak English and to engage with other people where English doesn’t have so much weight on it where it’s not so important as to whether or not you’re correct when you speak or as to whether or not you communicate your ideas concisely and very quickly? And he said no, the only time I really speak is at work and in classes with you, and I said well, there you go, that is something that you need to do. It would be like me wanting to get better at Jiujitsu, the martial art that I used to do, but the only training I ever did was competing right so it would be like me always going to competitions and
expecting to try and improve, whilst also trying to compete and when you compete obviously you’re not in an environment where you can freely try new things, where you can take more risks, right? If you’re always practicing your English when you’re in a situation where you can’t take risks, you can’t be relaxed and you can’t try new things then you’re not going to improve and you’re going to become a lot more nervous, a lot more self-aware and have issues with your confidence.
So, what did I suggest to this guy that he could do firstly and and you know this is a pretty obvious one. Try and find something you’re interested in where you have to use your English and engage with other people. So this could be joining a sports club, doing some kind of recreational activity in groups, right? There are loads and loads of meetups that you can go to whether they’re related to English or not one example is that yesterday I went to Werribee zoo to do some photography with one of my friends Richard, who is a second…He speaks English as a second language, but he speaks like a native speaker, he’s been in Australia for five years now, and he spoke a long time before that, but before we went to Werribee zoo, he actually went on Facebook and found a walk around Melbourne to a photography group Meetup thing and spent two hours walking around, Melbourne, practicing his photography and it was free. There was no payment, it was mostly, I think mostly Australians, some foreigners as well, but he got to chill out with them and practice his photography which like his English well, his English is good, but his photography is very poor. He’s very much a beginner when it comes to his photography, right?
So, he was out there trying new things. There was no real… his photography wasn’t on the line so, he could just muck around practice take risks and feel at ease, obviously, you could do this same sort of thing, but with your English, so tip number one there, I would get online whether it’s on Google or on Facebook and look for some kind of group or Meetup related to a passion of yours. It doesn’t have to be English. Obviously, it can be English, it could be an English meetup group, but it could be related to photography. It could be related to sightseeing and travel it could be related to maybe you’re a mother or a father a new mother or a father and you could go to a meetup group for young parents, there are so many groups on there guys. Just find something you’re passionate about and try and do that once a week, you know, it could be an hour but once a week where you get to indulge in a passion of yours, but also practice English in a safe environment an environment where you don’t need to be perfect, you take risks and you can just do so in a relaxed manner, that is a great way to practice your speaking and to build your confidence, whether it’s in English alone, or it’s in another activity like photography.
Now, the other tip that I gave him was to check out public speaking groups. So, there’s one in Melbourne and I’m not sure this could be all over the place. It could be everywhere in Australia in the big cities, but there is a a group called Toastmasters, Toastmasters, I’m not sure if this is free or not. I have a feeling it is, but I could be wrong Toastmasters is a group that you can meet up with or you can go to that practices public speaking, so it can be for anyone whether you’re in business whether you’re a student at university, whether you’re learning English as a second language and usually the whole focus the whole point of these things is to just improve your public speaking, so it could be that you need to present at university and maybe they will critique you that will give you advice but it’s a safe environment because they as well are learning how to speak publicly, it could also just be practicing your English in general where you get up and introduce yourself and, you know, talk about yourself in front of them, but I think the basic idea here is that you will work on your public speaking which will definitely help you build confidence in English.
So, anyway, those were the main sort of points that I ended up saying to this guy, I was like you need to find time outside of work and outside of lessons with me where you can be speaking English and practicing your English and it’s not a risky moment, right? like the time that you’re spending doing. This isn’t going to make you nervous, isn’t going to make you anxious because it doesn’t matter if you get anything, right or wrong, the focus isn’t on how correct or efficient your English is, the focus is on just enjoying yourself and meeting other people.
Oh, I just I just remember the third one, the third one here, guys. Language meetup groups. I’m sure a lot of you will know about these in Melbourne in Sydney in Brisbane all the big cities around Australia and if you’re overseas, I am sure if you are in America or Canada there will be language meetup groups elsewhere in the big cities there to go to those guys, they tend to be free the ones that I went to in Melbourne when I was practicing my French and practicing my Portuguese were one called Lingos and another one called Mundo Lingo, okay? So, you should be able to find those or equivalents to those online if you go to Google or Facebook and type in language meetups, you’ll either find their website or their Facebook page and these are usually weekly or monthly meetups where foreigners and native speakers of English from that country as well can meet up to practice languages so, it’s not just English that they’ll be practicing. It’ll often be English speakers, they’re wanting to practice foreign languages as well. You know, whether it be Chinese or French or Portuguese. And so this is another relaxing, informal environment where you can meet many different people in the same boat as you learning languages their humble, they’re working on their confidence as well. So you you don’t need to be anxious you don’t need to be nervous and you can share your experiences, your worries, your concerns, all of that sort of stuff whilst also having fun and meeting new people, right?
So, language meetups are also an amazing place to just hang out meet new people, especially if you’re new to the area it’s a great place to meet native speakers and are foreigners as well and hopefully foreigners who don’t speak your native language and work on learning languages anyway, so I hope that’s helped guys at the moment.
I am off to Torquay I am about to catch up with two of my mates Dave and James. You’ve probably seen them in other episodes, we haven’t caught up in a week or two. So, we are going to go and get some healthy fish and chips there is a restaurant in Torquay called ‘Fishos’, called ‘Fishos’, just passing the airport here, you might see some of the planes out the window here a fish and chips place called Fishos and it is really gourmet. It’s very nice. They have fresh fish, that’s locally sourced. They have salads that you can pick to have with your fish. I think there were some sweet potato chips not just potato chips sweet potato. That’s healthy, huh?
Anyway, so I’m looking forward to that and I brought my camera gear so, I might go out and take a few sneaky shots before we get down and get down to business and start eating some food because I’m also quite hungry. It’s after lunch so, I hope that helps guys. I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode. Don’t forget to check out the Aussie English Podcast if you want to learn Australian English or English in general, that is theaussieenglishpodcast.com, if you’d like to support the podcast and Aussie English in general there’s a link down below for the Patreon page where you can sign up to donate as little as a dollar a month and if you would like to learn English in more depth, go over to theaussieenglishclassroom.com and that is where I upload a course every single week, I add to that constantly and there are videos and other materials in there that will help you Learn English, build your vocab and speak English confidently like a native speaker a lot faster.
So, get over there and try it, it is just a dollar guys to sign up. So, give it a go! I’m gonna stop rambling, keep driving and I’ll see you guys later. Thanks for joining me guys! See ya!
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By pete — 3 years ago
In this episode of Walking With Pete I chat a little bit about what I got up to over the Easter holidays long weekend here in Australia and how we as Australians tend to celebrate Easter.
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