Over the past year, I’ve been receiving a lot of positive feedback from students on The Flow of English, but there is still a lot of improvements to be made. Now it’s time to implement everything I have learned and do a complete makeover of The Flow Series.
Here are the main improvements you can expect to see in this course and all future Flow Series programs:
- Smart Video Feedback
- A lot of Targeted Drilling
- “Meaningful” Rewards for Mastering the Flow
Let’s take a closer look at each one…
Smart Video Feedback
What’s great about this is that it’s convenient for both me and the student, since it’s both time and location independent for both parties.
Instead of meeting at a cafe or scheduling a Skype call, the student submits a recording of himself doing an activity whenever he has the time.
As I write in this post, you can attribute 80% of the accent errors made by English speakers to just four things. I already explained it once in that post, so why should I explain it again for each individual student?
Now for this Flow of English course, I am experimenting with downloadable audio files for the student to target specific hearing/pronunciation errors.
For example, many English learners struggle to differentiate between the vowel /ɛ/ from “bet” and the vowel /æ/ from bat. As I’ve written before, your brain is not initially wired to perceive the sound relationships that don’t exist in your target language. But if you focus on the differentiation, you CAN re-wire your brain to hear these relationships.
The most direct way of doing this is to compare the sounds next to each other in various words. As I do in the recording below:
Now whenever I perceive a student having a systematic problem in distinguishing these sounds, I can send him directly to this recording for him to download and practice with as much as possible. Once again, I will make all of these audio files free to the public.
Master the Sound AND Dabble in the Meaning
When I first created the Flow Series, I was adamant about NOT including any instruction on “meaning.” There were two reasons for this.
First, my diagnosis of the language-learning industry is that it focuses too much on meaning and not enough on sound. And since meaning is ultimately constructed from the sound, a weak control of the sound and flow of a language is the biggest cause of why people fail to speak and comprehend foreign languages fluently.
So it was important for me to reverse this trend and make a course that focused only on sound.
The second reason this was important is because I have noticed in the past that many learners will mess up the flow if they know the words.
This is because most people learn words in the context of writing. And then they develop a preconceived notion of how a word ought to sound that often clashes with reality.
So when they try to learn the song lyrics in my Flow Training, they will add in sounds or mess up the rhythm, purely because they are focusing more on the meaning than the sound.
But now I’ve lightened up a bit on the whole issue and came up with a practical compromise. For now on in flow training, the student will have to “earn” his right to know what a phrase means by successfully mastering the flow of it first.
So after every two completed lessons, I will send the student a link to a “meaning” page where they get to learn what the individual words were and what they meant. There will NOT be any orthography involved since there is a big risk of the student relapsing on his flow if he sees the written word.
As I have written before, I always recommend saving orthography and reading/writing instruction until AFTER you have a strong command of the flow and can already manage a basic conversation in the language. It may seem like it slows things down a bit, but it actually accelerates the overall learning process a lot.
English Learners, Stay Tuned!