After doing a 'before and after' comparison for Waldek I thought it might be interesting to compare Jane's first conversation with me with one after her most recent lesson. She's only done six EOT lessons (about 10-12 hours of offline study and 5-6 hours of focused speaking practice, if that), so I thought I might be stretching things a bit in terms of audible progress
Have a listen and see if you can hear any difference? Listen out for any changes in confidence, fluency, vocabulary development and accuracy.
Jane is 27, was born and brought up in China but now lives in France as a student. She is studying architecture in French in Strasbourg. One of the interesting things about Jane's EOT sessions is that unlike with Waldek I have not controlled which lessons she has studied, she has.
She became a free member of the LOT website and got access to 12 self-study lesson plans. She contacted me to ask me to send her some of the lower level ones (Beginner) with Chinese instructions so that she knew exactly what she was meant to do with them. She also made the decision herself to start with Beginners lessons (level A1). Totally of her own volition her sixth lesson which the second clip here is from, is an Intermediate lesson (level B2).
If you have the time listen to the recording of session 6b with Jane where she and I discuss what happens when her mind goes blank from time to time as she searches for the right words.
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UPDATE: Professor Stephen Krashen, the world famous academic expert on second language acquisition left a comment on this podcast audio case study. He also asked a question. I have now asked Jane and here are her answers to my questions. Personally I am most excited about her answer to question 5. in which she says she thinks that EOT helped English speaking to become a 'habit'. Have a read for yourselves:
Submitted on 01.06.2010 via Skype. Replies via Skype (questions 1. and 2.) the same day and email on 19.06.10
Hey Jane...how is the revision going? I need to ask you some questions re: your English study. The reason I am asking all of these questions is because you did incredibly well and made a huge improvement very quickly. Your improvement has been noticed by one of the world's most famous professors of linguistics and language teaching and learning, Stephen Krashen. He has contacted me and wants to analyse your performance. You don't need to do anything, just answer these questions and maybe a few more or even have some more recorded Skype conversations with me when you have finished your exams. If I can have this information from you I can work with Professor Krashen and he can help us to help millions more English learners like you who really want to be able to speak English with confidence. Thanks, I hope you can help, I will email this too. You did really really well...see I told you so Oh, did you keep writing your learning diary, remember, at the start???? That would be really useful if you could share it with me...?
1) How long have you been learning English (from what age to now)? You're 27, right? I've been learning English since i was eleven, the forth year in primary school, until now...total sixteen years.
2) How were you taught at school, at uni in China, at uni in France? Can you describe it? I was taught first the prononciation, and then some littles textes to express how to say "how are you? i'm fine." like this, accompagner the grammer at the same time. i studied english in china, primary school, middle school, hight school, untill univer in china, not in france
3) Outside of formal English lessons, what exposure have you had to English, in other words how much contact with the English language have you had over the years (for example, do you read a lot of English or listen to English language radio)? Also, can you tell me how much you had during our first six EOT sessions? Well, generally we have some homework to do after those lessons in grammar.Except this, sometimes i listen to the international radio which broadcast English music or some subjects relate to economic, science, nature. And some interviews etc. When i participated in the EOT sessions, i did regularly one lesson everyday and accompanied my dictionary of course, at the same time found thepronunciation of words to improve my speaking level. I think that review the lessons again and again is very important. So I utilized about two hours for doing the whole. Even my iPod was filled with many English music and dialogues that i did with my teacher Jason in the courses and some talking books.
4) When you were using the EOT lesson plans and speaking with me for practice, did you talk to anyone else in English in the same way (i.e. have other practice partners and use the language with them)? if you did, how much time did you spend talking to them? I think it's also necessary to practice the spoken language with someone else who are the real English-speaking. And this can be the great way to correct lots of my faults in express parole during our communications. We do the practice off and on because of the time difference and the schedule of my courses. It depends, but finally we communicate 2 or 3 times per week andevery time take about half one hour.
5) In your own mind and in your own words can you explain what happened to you when you used the EOT lesson plans before speaking to me? How do you explain your improvement? I think the EOT lessons are very interesting and practical for me. First, at the beginning, it was difficult to me to explain something in my mind. And the EOT lesson plans made me have a desire to improve my speaking because i think that the vocabulary and the expression are very useful in the real life. In other words, we use them everywhere, every time and everyday. They are very practical! Well, after several regular communications with professor Jason online accompany lots of exercises on the plans, they made me not only enrich my vocabulary quantity, but made also the English speaking become a kind of habit to me. I think that is my improvement. I think it's also necessary to practice the spoken language with someone else who are the real English-speaking. And this can be the great way to correct lots of my faults in express parole during our communications. We do the practice off and on because of the time difference and the schedule of my courses. It depends, but finally we communicate 2 or 3 times per week andevery time take about half one hour.
6) Can you list the lesson plans you used and why you chose them? (I can do this but I really want you to think about them again and explain why you chose them). The lesson plans that i studied are: Level 1, Lesson 6 Places in town and directions Lesson 9 shopping - Lesson 18 Minor physical complaints - at the chemist's Level 2, Lesson 10 Making plans - Lesson 20 Lifestyle Level 3, Lesson 4 Describing objects - Lesson 19 Inventions Level 4, Lesson 3 Manners - Lesson 14 What had happened? Level 5, Lesson 14 Animals and us ( ing... ) Well, i chose them because i need them. It means that i can use them when i go to the other countries Europeans where i can communicate with people there inEnglish because it is difficult to find somebody speak the Chinese or the French with you. But, everybody understand English! And the lesson plans I had chosen are definitely practical for me!
7) This is information that Jane added about the way she studied and used the audio clips of our conversations: I downloaded every recording when Jason had posted them online. And i put them iniPod, listened them when i was free. It's very interesting to listen my conversation with Jason because through it, i can discover what i need to improve again. On the whole, i study English in this new way made me not just improve my Englishlevel (especially speaking), but made many friends all around the world.
I hope you find this research interesting and that it inspires you to give EOT a go. You can buy EOT ebook courses on our website at http://englishoutthere.com/english-student-courses