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English Out There Online Case Study - Jane, Strasbourg - Episode 6b
April 29, 2010 09:44 AM PDT
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Lesson 6 continued - Jane and I get onto the topic of why sometimes it is hard for her to find the right words when she wants to speak.

English Out There Online Case Study - Jane, Strasbourg - Episode 7a - Q&A session
May 13, 2010 04:10 AM PDT
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Jane wanted to just ask a few questions in relation to language from her previous sessions, so the language in this session 7 is from various lessons.

[11:41:59] Janeliu: (talk) coucou...
[11:42:20] Jason West: Hi there, how are you?
[11:42:45] Janeliu: fine, just a little tired
[11:42:48] Janeliu: and you?
[11:42:54] Jason West: Me too! smiley
[11:44:46] Janeliu: so have a rest...
Jane asking general questions - 11th May 2010

Jane asked a couple of questions about specific grammar but I didn't want to try and give her some cobbled together and probably inorrect and ultimately confusing explanation. I just explained what the difference in meaning between the similar sentences were. Apart from being caught on the hoof and not wanting to give a misleading explanation I think that learners like Jane have studied a lot of grammar over the years and really don't need another explanation of it. She agreed that in China when learners can't speak the get more grammar, but that it doesn't work.

A good little free form session and useful I think. She wants a lesson on telling the time next time.

[11:46:50] Jason West: It has been tough, I worked all weekend sad But I am ok. Do you want to have an EOT chat, are you prepared...I have some time and it will be good to listen you again..
[11:47:16] Janeliu: yes, i want !!!
[11:47:42] Jason West: Ok, ready?
[11:47:50] Janeliu: yeh, i prepared something, but not too much
[11:48:03] *** Call from Janeliu, duration 15:10. ***
[11:49:01] Jason West: www.last.fm
[11:51:23] Janeliu: emule
[11:51:56] Jason West: legal or illegal
[11:59:16] Janeliu: creer
[11:59:16] Jason West: Jason West is away. This is an auto-reply message.
[12:03:13] *** Call ended ***
[12:03:21] *** Call from Janeliu, duration 15:08. ***
[12:05:16] Janeliu: short
[12:05:23] Janeliu: line
[12:05:35] Jason West: cable
[12:06:19] Jason West: wifi router
[12:06:31] Jason West: 30 euros
[12:16:55] Janeliu: avantage
[12:16:56] Jason West: Jason West is away. This is an auto-reply message.
[12:17:05] Janeliu: convenient
[12:18:29] *** Call ended ***
[12:18:37] *** Call from Janeliu, duration 06:27. ***
[12:19:18] Jason West: ish
[12:19:23] Jason West: -ish
[12:19:28] Jason West: approximately
[12:20:30] Jason West: 12 o'clock-ish
[12:20:36] Jason West: around or close to
[12:21:33] Janeliu: environ
[12:21:43] Janeliu: vers
[12:25:05] *** Call ended ***
[12:25:37] Janeliu: (punch) fighting..........!!!!!!! see u.
[12:25:44] Janeliu: (wave) bis

English Out There Online Case Study - Jane, Strasbourg - Episode 7b - Q&A session
May 13, 2010 04:12 AM PDT
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Q&A continued...Jane is in good form!

English Out There Online Case Study - Jane, Strasbourg - Episode 7c - Q&A session
May 13, 2010 04:14 AM PDT
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Final session 7 Q&A - I think there is some useful feedback in this recording if I remember correctly...Jane talks about the lessons and how they work for her.

English Out There Online Case Study - Waldek, Poland - March 2010
March 22, 2010 08:26 AM PDT
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This is the first episode of an online case study that I hope will show people that English Out There works in quite a different way to virtually all other English language teaching and learning courses available and is highly effective at boosting confidence, fluency and accuracy in a very natural way using social and psycholinguistic learning techniques.

There are many people (teachers and learners) who have used and are using our unique materials but we have never before followed one person on their online learning experience in this way. This project has an added twist though...because I hope to take a pre-intermediate level English learner, guide them through some interactions that will improve their English considerably and then guide them through setting up a profitable English language business in their own home town..

This episode includes the initial level placement interview recording, which you can use as a benchmark and compare later episodes against. Listen out for changes in confidence, fluency and accuracy.



Waldek contacted me via EnglishClub.com I think, I posted a comment in a 'skype English practice' forum. He is 29, married with a daughter and runs his own business in a small town in the centre of Poland. He wants to improve his English to help his business. He feels he needs to be able to speak to people who come to his online shop to buy his products.

He also told me he had tried to create an English practice group in his town because there being a big demand for English learning but that it had stalled.

Recently, because of the global econimic situation and how it has affected Poland, he says he has lost a third of his income. He told me he wanted to set up an English teaching and learning business, like his previous attempt at an English practice club, that could provide him with another source of income.

I said I would help if he agreed to help me by allowing me to record and publish our sessions. I said I would try to help him to improve his English and then train him to be able to help other people in his town to do the same so that he could charge for his time and help.

So that was, and is, the challenge. I will just post our text chat histories below and in subsequent episodes so you can see what words I spelled out or the subjects we got onto. View them whilst listening to the audio clips that go with each lesson/session.

Whilst you do this listen to Waldek's fluency, confidence and accuracy with the language.

If you want to do a quick assessment of the progress he has made (or to see IF he has made any progress) listen to the placement interview and then some later sessions. At time of writing this we have had three practice sessions after he has studied an EOT self-study lesson each time.

Our first session on 10th March was lost...I pressed the wrong button when saving the recording...oops! But we still have our benchmark, the placement interview.


Text chat histories: First contact: 8th March 2010

I was contacted by Waldek from Poland because of a forum subject I created on EnglishClub.com:


I created it because there was a group encouraging learners to speak and practice their English on Skype and I wanted to let people know that Facebook was now voice enabled and that it might be easier to find English speakers to practise with there, as in my experience a lot of English learners find it hard to find people to practise with.

Here are my initial interactions with Waldek from the Skype text chat history:

[04/03/2010 09:00:47] sbizushop: Hello it's me Waldek from poland . I'll try tomorrow about 8 p.m. to call You. If you don't mind ofcourse . [04/03/2010 09:02:33] Jason West: Hi Waldek, I probably won't be online then, the end of the week I tend to be quiet and working on other stuff. Best times are Mon/Tues during the day. Sat mornings. Somtimes Mon-Weds eves. Happy to help if I am about and online...[04/03/2010 11:43:12] Jason West: Jason West has shared contact details with sbizushop. [04/03/2010 12:15:14] *** Call from sbizushop declined. *** [04/03/2010 12:16:17] Jason West: Hi I have to go to get my kids in 1 minute, sorry, let's talk next time we are both online... smiley [04/03/2010 12:17:05] sbizushop: Ok , thank You [04/03/2010 12:17:43] Jason West: No prob...sorry! [10:54:23] sbizushop: Hello , are You there? Have You any time to talk [10:59:17] Jason West: Hi, ok! [10:59:28] *** Call from sbizushop, duration 50:08. *** [11:12:05] Jason West: http://www.facebook.com/EnglishOutThere?v=app_2373072738 [11:27:40] Jason West: jason@languagesoutthere.com [11:30:50] sbizushop: waldemar.xxxxxxxxx@intera.pl [11:32:52] sbizushop: Pabianice [11:37:46] Jason West: http://www.languagesoutthere.com/categories/English-conversation [11:47:20] Jason West: http://www.facebook.com/EnglishOutThere?v=app_2373072738 [11:49:38] *** Call ended ***

My Contemporaneous Notes:

As you can see Waldek and I had a conversation on Skype. It doesn't show but was on the morning of the 8th March. It was a fascinating conversation and we have decided to work together. Waldek has agreed to let me record our future conversations so that I have a record and can evaluate how things have gone and possibly give others access to our sessions at some point. For the conversation we just had I will now write down my notes and some comments.

W (Waldemar or Waldek) said he saw my profile on EnglishClub.com and wanted to talk to me. He said he has never spoken to a native English speaker before but he was pretty good. Roughly, without doing a placement interview I'd say he was about Intermediate level. But I will do a placement test with him soon so we have a better idea. I asked him what he would like to talk about and he suggested we introduce ourselves and talk for about 30 mins. Obviously the time he had available in his day.

At that point I thought it appropriate to explain a bit more about what I did and about my experiences of encouraging and facilitating online English practice. I explained how I felt that there were lots of people, possibly millions, trying to use the internet to practise and improve their English skills. I oultined a scenario that I felt was probably true and asked him to comment at the end. I said I thought that people like him were contacting English speakers online anyway they could and trying to make friends for practice purposes. That the English speakers were probably very friendly at the start and happy to text chat but when the learner asked them to talk they might become less 'available' and suddenly a bit busier. I said that when learners did get someone to talk to them they were then faced with the question of what to talk about and how to make it an effective and enjoyable experience for both of them. He had obviously thought about this before and said 'prepare something in my head to talk about'. I thought this was great as it was where I wanted to take the conversation.

I then explained what i thought about the need to prepare before a practice conversation and outlined how EOT materials did that. I briefly explained about the origins of EOT, how it works in the real world and how it can work online. I tried to explain that people, all people, have limited time to help and talk and that even if they are friendly at first and want to help, if they get asked the same unplanned questions and don't know when the conversation time is going to end (i.e. how short and focused it is going to be) they will be scared by the 'commitment' they are being asked to make. I likened it to a guy being happy to see a girl once a week and have some fun time together and be happy to continue like that for some time and then have her tell him she loved him and wanted to have his children on the second date! He laughed and agreed with me.

He said that he had gone onto EnglishClub.com to find someone to talk to but had found materials and videos only. He had found two people to talk to online. One an Algerian guy whose English was at a much lower level, one that was too low to be of any help to him. The other person was a Polish friend who now lived in the US but that guy just wanted to speak Polish. His Polish friend suggested an American girl who loved talking a lot and he contacted her but nothing came of it.

W then asked if I would talk for free or not. I said I would but on the condition that we did it my way, using my materials and ideas and he agreed. W then gave me a short summary of his English language learning experiences. He said he had taught himself pretty much at first and then hired a non-native speaker private English teacher for about £5 per hour. He told me how much he had earned and said that the lessons were affordable on his old earnings but that things had changed and he now earned less. He explained how times were fairly tough economically in Pabianice for a lot of people, he and his family included.

He said he owned an artificial jewellery shop in the town of about 70,000 people in the middle of Poland and that he had tried to take it online too but found it tough to get people to pay online. Saying there were 3,000 items in his real shop but 20,000 on eBay and that people need to trust you to send them the products before they purchased and that that took time. My impression, and I think he said this, was that he felt improving his English would help his business. I was really excited to hear W say that in his efforts to improve his English he had tried to set up an English conversation club in Pabianice. However he said it had failed, despite some people being interested at the start, because to get a room to meet he would have had to sign a rental agreement and that was not financially possible and then he suggested they try to meet in McDonalds (by buying a coffee or snack and practising there) but that no one wanted to do that.

So it sounded like the initial interest faded and died. W said himself that maybe he didn't give it as much effort as he could have or needed to to make it work. He told me one local girl wanted to practise with him but felt it was not such a good idea as he was married with kids and she was young and single and that in a small town people might get the wrong idea smiley I agreed with him. I have a partner and two kids too.

Waldek then told me he felt he would like to be an English teacher as teachers earned just under £10 per hour there, but he lacked the confidence, saying you needed to be a 'very good' teacher to earn that. It was then that it crossed my mind that apart from me helping Waldek to practise his English and do it using some EOT materials if he was interested we could do a little experiment and try to help him resurrect his English club in Pabianice and even turn it into something that could, in time, replace the money he used to earn but now doesn't because of the economic downturn.

Basically, he liked the idea and he agreed to work with me to do a few things:

  1. Use EOT materials to practise with me and let me record the sessions so that others can hear if he makes progress and how it all works online
  2. See if I can train him to help others in his town to use EOT materials and enable him to, hopefully, start to make some money from helping others to help themselves to improve their English by using EOT materials, social media and the internet in a way that hopefully will provide them with a great and inexpensive personal English learning network that they can use whenever and wherever they like.
  3. In effect, I will show Waldek how it works and then he will show others and charge them something for his time, help and guidance.

So, this is the experiment Waldek and I are about to embark upon. If it works it could not only help him to improve his English considerably, it could also help him to create his own English improvement business. 

He thanked me quite a lot at the end of our discussion and said some nice things about me. I told him that he would be helping me and that I hoped we would both equally benefit from the experience. We talked about good times to meet online and swopped email addresses for the process to somehow start to take shape. I am going to have a think about how to do this and he is going to read some web pages I sent him, specifically the discussions page on the EOT Facebook fan page and some pages on the LOT website. I am very excited by this project, and so is Waldek, and I will keep you all informed as we go.


Second contact: 9th March 2010

[13:14:32] sbizushop: Hello do you have 5 min. . I want to ask samething

[13:15:00] Jason West: Yeah ok

[13:15:04] *** Call from sbizushop, duration 20:02. ***

[13:17:04] Jason West: https://languagesout.ssl.subhub.com/subscribe

[13:23:36] Jason West: http://www.facebook.com/EnglishOutThere [13:23:56] Jason West: Facebook voice channel: http://bit.ly/16R3Os

[13:35:13] *** Call ended ***

Waldek wanted to talk about the course but I suggested he sign up to the free membership on LOT.com to see some sample lessons and pick one to work with so that we could have a trial run. I then got him to load the Vivox app for Facebook to see if we could do it on FB and record there. I am going to do the level test with him and then the first trial practice session after he has used a lesson plan. Then look at how to do the rest. (n.b. Skype extras seems to have gone...will have to check out).


First practice session after Waldek studied an EOT lesson: 09/03/10

Lost recording - doh! I pressed the wrong button, but listen to the placement interview that we did before we recorded before we did the practice session from the lesson.

This chat history is from when I realised I had lost the lesson recording.

Waldemar Piechura Clear Chat History

11:14Jason Hi Waldek, let's give it a go again...Please join me in a voice chat here: http://bit.ly/16R3Os

12:03Jason Hey, I just lost the recording...I pressed the wron button....aaaaarrgggh! So sorry Waldek, I feel so stupid! We can record next time....but try to talk to some other people and record the conversations. Ok?

12:14Waldemar No problem we'll do it agein on wendnesday

12:16Jason Yeah, gawd I feel like a real idiot

12:16Waldemar Sorry I did not write, but Idid not know how it worket 12:17Waldemar Jason maby its better . The intrfierance was bed

12:17Jason Don't worry, I should have asked you to record it... You just push the red button at the top right.

12:18Waldemar Thank you one more time for your help .

12:19Jason No prob. We are helping each other 12:19Waldemar Red buttom, ok I'ii use it next time

12:19Jason Make sure you keep that learning diary!


English Out There Online Case Study - Waldek, Poland - Episode 2a
March 22, 2010 11:34 AM PDT
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Third contact with Waldek:

There was a session on 17/03/10 but we didn't use text chat it seems smiley

Do listen to the recording of the practice session which is in two parts (a and b) and there is some feedback (c)

(N.B. different every time!)


English Out There Online Case Study - Waldek, Poland - Episode 2b
March 22, 2010 12:05 PM PDT
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Out There Task practice session recording from lesson 2.

There is a recorded feedback session in Episode 2c

English Out There Online Case Study - Waldek, Poland - Episode 2c
March 22, 2010 12:10 PM PDT
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This is some recorded feedback from Waldek. I decided he was pre-intermediate for the purpose of EOT because at the start I wanted to him to feel comfortable using the language in the lesson plans so that he could concentrate on the production of it in our conversations i.e. give him some confidence and get some fluency back (as he says himself here). He had studied his first EOT lesson, done the speaking practice with me and had just done a second EOT self-study lesson and a speaking practice session.

I expect there to be a quick improvement in fluency and confidence and will most probably raise the level and start working on more accuracy fairly soon.

English Out There Online Case Study - Waldek, Poland - Episode 3
March 22, 2010 11:52 AM PDT
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Fourth contact: 22/03/10 

Waldek chat history: Lesson 3 - Moving to another country.

This chat history is me spelling stuff mostly. Pamela is a free recording app for Skype which works very well.

The EOT Meetup groups have 50 teachers in London you can contact for one to one or small group lessons any time you like. Just contact them, fix a time/place and pay them directly.

Jason West: yo

Jason West: Surrey

Jason West: Liverpool

Jason West: Wales

Jason West: weymouth

Jason West: dorset

Jason West: contradictory

Jason West: addicted to

Jason West: pamela

Jason West: looser

Jason West: http://www.meetup.com/EnglishOutThere

At the end of this lesson Waldek said he had stopped translating from Polish to English in his head! I could hear that he was more fluent than the last time without listening to the recording but I will go back and listen again to make sure.

I just wish I had not messed up saving the recording of our first practice session! Ah, well. Today he asked me about creating his EOT business in his town. That is definitely a good sign...I want him to start guiding learners in his town to use EOT materials and online social learning techniques.

I am really enjoying my time online with Waldek and he has made other Facebook friends, Sean in the USA and Mary in Canada and is practising with them too! I think he said he now has six. Great stuff.



English Out There Online Case Study - Waldek, Poland - Episode 4
March 24, 2010 05:59 AM PDT
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Waldek Chat history 24/03/10 - Lesson 4 - Food

This is what Waldek should have been doing on the practice call:

Discussing national dishes and favourite foods
Language Focus: Food and cookery vocabulary
Skills: Reading, speaking, listening

Was it successful? You be the judge smiley

[11:14:31] Jason West: Sorry, can do it now...I was deep in something I had to do....I had 11 in my mind and didn't see your messages
[11:16:23] Waldeck: No problem Jason
[11:18:05] Jason West: Ok, let's do it on here, but can we keep it fairly short...i.e. you ask me the questions, we discuss the answers, you say 'thanks'

and then 'bye'....also want to dicsuss how many other people you have talked using EOT. Need to keep it under 15 mins for the recording device and I

need to do some work that can't wait...ok?
[11:19:29] Waldeck: ok I see
[11:19:45] Jason West: Ok, ready? Call me?
[11:19:53] *** Call from Waldeck, duration 15:22. ***
[11:22:29] Jason West: herb
[11:22:52] Jason West: tarragon
[11:27:37] Jason West: sprinkled with
[11:27:43] Jason West: dipped in
[11:28:34] Jason West: escalope
[11:28:52] Jason West: shallow fried
[11:29:16] Jason West: pickled
[11:30:14] Jason West: ingredient
[11:30:45] Jason West: pee
[11:30:49] Jason West: pea
[11:35:15] *** Call ended ***

Scroll down and click omn download to listen to the speaking practice session recorded on Skype this time (the previous ones were on Facebook).

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