This is the transcript for my 10th Episode Special where I answer some questions from listeners around the world.
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Hello and welcome to the 10th episode of my podcast Learning English with Stephen! In this short time I have been amazed at some of the new connections I have been lucky to create with people all over the world. As a way of celebrating I have decided to answer some of the questions I have been asked by some of my listeners.
But first, it’s music time.
Before we start with the questions, I’d like to ask that you subscribe to this podcast on your favourite podcast platform like Apple podcasts or Spotify, or that you sign up to receive emails from my site englishwithstephen.com. By subscribing you will make sure you never miss an episode in the future.
Now, onto the first question. This comes from Cherie in Taiwan and she asks a simple question.
Where are you from?
Well, I was born in the city of Birmingham in the UK. Birmingham is the second biggest city in Britain, but not many people visit it or even know about it. I lived there until I was 18 and I went to university in Nottingham. My family still lives in Birmingham and I try to visit when I can. I have an idea to do a podcast about the origin of the names of different cities and places in the UK and I will definitely include Birmingham on this list.
The second question comes from Fatimah in Lebanon and she asks
Why did you become a teacher?
I became a teacher by accident. I studied economics and politics at university, but the only thing I really learned was that I didn’t want to work in either economics or politics. I loved travelling, so I decided to be a teacher for a few years so I could earn some money to pay for travelling. In my first year in Poland, I fell in love with teaching, and now, over 20 years later, I am still teaching English.
The next question comes from Brazil and is asked by Fernanda. She wants to know where I have taught.
My first job was in a small town in Poland. As I mentioned, I loved teaching and I also loved the Polish people and the country. It has such a unique history situated in the middle of a number of large European empires. The only problem with Poland is that it is too cold! So after, that, I went to Taiwan for a year. I learned how to teach young kids and how to live in a completely different culture.
Following Taiwan, I came to Brazil for just over a year, before moving back to the UK. I taught English in London, studied for a diploma in teaching English, and then did a Masters in linguistics. In 2005, I got married and moved back to Brazil. First of all, we lived in Rio de Janeiro for a few years before moving to Curitiba in the south of Brazil. I have been living and teaching in Curitiba since 2011.
Also from Brazil is Marco. He asked What’s the most important thing I should do when studying a language?
Lots of people will give different answers: you should study grammar or vocabulary. You should pay attention to pronunciation. You should try to think in English. Well, I believe that everyone learns differently and has different goals, so it is difficult to recommend what you should study.
Instead of what you study, the important question is HOW you study. I believe you should do a little, often. This means you should try to do between 10 and 30 minutes every day. Don’t spend 3 hours studying once a week. You have to use a lot of effort to study for that long and you don’t actually learn a lot.
The other thing to remember is that you need to like what you are doing. If you like listening to songs, then listen to songs. If you like watching films, then watch films. If you like studying grammar, then study grammar. There are so many different approaches you are sure to find one that you like. If you hate what you are doing, then you will probably stop or give up.
Finally, a question from Abdullah in Cairo: Why did you start your podcast?
When I did my Masters in Linguistics, my dissertation was on Learning Strategies. Learning strategies is about what good learners do to learn English as effectively as possible. A few years ago, I wrote a blog for teachers. I loved doing that, but I felt I was talking to the wrong people. The teachers who read my blog were already good teachers and so their students were getting a good service. If a teacher wasn’t interested in getting better, they wouldn’t read any blogs and so it was impossible to help their students.
A couple of years ago, I started listening to podcasts for my own entertainment. I have learned so much from some amazing podcasts and I thought it would be a good way of reaching students. It took me a long time to organise things, but last Christmas my wife bought me a microphone and I just decided that I had to do it now or never. And here we are.
Ok, so that is everything for today. There were a lot more questions, but I wanted to keep everything under 10 minutes because one of my students gets very angry with me if the podcast is too long.
Just a reminder that you can find the transcript to this podcast, as well as all the previous podcasts, at my site englishwithstephen.com
Thanks for listening and I hope to have you with me for the next 10 episodes!