Natural Learning Method
The Ladder of Language
poetry and prose
spin, sales talk
Advanced what a TV newsreader says
Intermediate what a bus driver says
Beginner what your tutor says
The Natural English learning method is a modern approach based on the insights of world-famous language acquisition experts Noam Chomsky of MIT and Pierre Capretz of Yale University, whose ideas inspired some of our own. The patterns of English are gradually introduced to you through a series of scenarios, which enables your mind to do what it's naturally good at - learning patterns.
"Swimming in English" means immersing yourself in the language. We provide you with a "swimming pool" of video lessons that are very simple to start with and gradually get deeper into the language as you go along. As you listen to the videos, read the transcripts and practise speaking by repeating the words in the video, your mind will naturally absorb the vocabulary and patterns of phrase construction.
Because you are learning, you need more time than a fluent speaker to figure out how to say something. So we use "time-warped" conversations - you record and email a message to your tutor, and your tutor sends you a reply. A time-warped ten-minute conversation can extend over several days, a little bit at a time. This gives your brain the time it needs to do its "mental housekeeping", which it does mostly when you are asleep.
Your tutor is an expert teacher, who knows how to use only the vocabulary and patterns that you are familiar with - to say what you can understand - which enables you to have a meaningful and productive dialogue.
|Famous scientists like Archimedes, Isaac Newton and Niels Bohr all made their finest discoveries when they were relaxed and not thinking about anything in particular. Archimedes was having a bath when he discovered the secret to finding out whether something was made of pure gold, Isaac was sitting in an orchard when he realised that what makes apples fall from a tree is the very same thing that makes the Moon go around the Earth, and Niels was watching a horse-race when he formulated his theory of how the inside of an atom works.|
The human brain has marvellous learning abilities, but it is not able to learn complex things like language by cramming. You have to give your brain the time it needs to integrate new information with what you already know.
Hemingway's tragic hero fought against Nature - he tried to do too much at one time. He was defeated by the physical magnitude of his task; if instead of trying to catch a giant fish in one go, he had set out to catch just a few small fish every day, he would have succeeded.
Learning a new language is like fishing - just catch a little more each time, lesson by lesson, and you will succeed.
An example of Natural English tuition in action
Here is a dialogue between student Yu and her tutor David:
1. David writes:
Hello Yu San,
Thank you for your message. I am happy to help you improve your English. Please look at some of the videos we use and choose one of them for your first lesson.
Then I will ask you some questions.
2. Yu writes:
I watched the video "Beginner 1, Intermediate 1 and Advanced (Nak Pulau)" for first 10 mins. It was too easy to follow Beginner 1 for me. Also I found easy to catch the words from Intermediate 1. However my speaking speed is slower than this TV show...
I could understand "Advanced (Nak Pulau)" without subtitles as well, but I needed to concentrate a little bit.
3. David replies:
I can see from your message that your listening skill is already at Advanced level.
Your grammar is quite good. There are some small things that we can improve.
To improve your speaking skill and grammar, I recommend that you watch all 60 videos in the Beginner series and practise repeating what the actors say.
Please make a recording of your voice and email it to me.
Let us talk/write together about Nak Pulau 1. The tour leader talked about "pitcher plants" called Nepentes in Latin language.
What does a pitcher plant look like?
How does a pitcher plant catch insects?
Your answers will be much longer than my questions!
Please answer my questions without using a dictionary. That will help me to discover what you need to learn.
3. Yu writes:
I watched Nak Pulau 1 and recorded my voice. I tried to speak just after they said (is it called shadow reading?). So I couldn't follow all conversation though.
I used voice recorder in my iphone. I will send it later from iphone.
I'm going to answer the question.
1. It is like a vase. It was a little one on the video, but there are many species in the world. I guess he said 5 species of pitcher plants in his country(or that area).
2. It produces attractive smell for insect. A insect can not get out once it enter, because the inside of the plant is very slippy. Then the insect gets drown.
An extract of her recording her voice repeating some of the things she heard in the video: mp3
4. David replies: (attached soundfile)
Konnichi wa Yu san,
Thank you for your voice recording. I enjoyed listening to it. Your accent is generally good.
Japanese doesn't have a "th" sound. We make it by placing the tip of the tongue against the inside of the upper front teeth and then breathing out.
Many people pronounce "th" like "s" or "z". You pronounced "this" a little like "dis".
Please practise saying these words:
Your grammar is better than you think!
There are a few differences between English and Japanese that reveal themselves in your writing:
one thing two things
an attractive smell
"a thing" means "one thing"
We say "the thing" when the other person knows which thing we mean
You were surprised when the tour leader said the pitcher plant was having breakfast :) The insect is not drowned - it is eaten by the pitcher plant. The liquid inside the pitcher is like the acid in our stomachs - it digests the insect, So the pitcher is a kind of stomach!
Last time, I asked you two questions. This time, please you ask me two questions.
5. Yu says:
9. Yu says (soundfile):
I recorded my voice which I speaker just after they said in this video. And I answered your question. But I did not have enough knowledge to explain about them...
I think I should write down my answer to a memo first, then speak following the memo....
10. David replies (soundfile):
Pop and Rock are kinds of music. You like Pop and Rock and R&B.
We pronounce -ed at the end of a word like -t.
Please practise saying this sentence:
We laughed when we watched the X-men movie about Wolverine
What does Wolverine look like?
11. Yu says:
Wolverine looks like wolf. He has furry hair and he uses the bones of his arm(nackle?) when he fights.
12. David says:
Wolverine looks like a man. He has long fingernails.
A real wolverine has furry hair and it uses its claws when it fights.
Notice we say he for a person and it for an animal.
Human claws are called fingernails.
Let's do Lesson 9 now. I attach the notes. I have marked the transcribed conversations with their times in the video.