Happy New Year 2016!

Happy New Year!!

Hi Students,

I am writing to wish you all a wonderfully successful 2016!

I am excited to continue to support you in your English language learning journey in 2016.

I recorded a short audio message for you.

In the audio message, I read the Aesop Fable “The Tortoise & the Hare”.

The moral of the story is “slow and steady wins the race.”

Learning English is sort of like a long race. You start, and you learn and you learn, and eventually you cross the finish line – you reach FLUENCY – that moment when you feel confident about your ability to use English in all the ways you want.

I think you can and will reach your English fluency goals if you follow the advice of doing something slowly and steadily.

Some people try to learn languages in fits and starts. They start off the new year saying something like: “I am going to learn 100 words per week” or “I am going to watch 4 movies every week” or “I am going to read 2 news articles every day” or “I am going to talk to my tutor every day for an hour”…

These are great, energized intentions, but a few weeks after the initial enthusiasm wears off, people tend to stop completely. They don’t even do anything related to their goal.

Have you ever done this?

I have, and I do, but I know it is not the best way to learn something.

If one of your goals is to improve your English in 2016, then I encourage you to take the approach of the Tortoise, not the Hare.


Slow and steady wins the race!


What does this mean for language learning?

It means that you plan to do something realistic and manageable in English on a regular and consistent basis.

It means you don’t “bite off more than you can chew”.

It means you take into consideration your lifestyle, your current schedule, your social life and your other goals, and figure out a realistic way to include English in your day-to-day life, so that you can keep it up.

Start small, stay steady, and work your way up to more, if you can.

Here are some ideas for how to start off slowly, so you can keep it up for the long haul:

1. Listen to 15 minutes of an English podcast or audiobook each morning before you get out of bed.

2. Read for 15 minutes in English during your morning routine, before or after breakfast.

3. Listen to the news in English while commuting.

4. Read a short magazine article while on the bus or train.

5. Listen to English music, podcasts or programs while you walk.

6. Choose an interesting book and read 5 pages per day, before going to bed.

7. Watch a 30-minute episode of your favorite English-speaking TV show after dinner.

8. Spend 15 minutes per day chatting in English online with a language exchange partner.

9. Schedule and pay for a 1-hour conversation class with a teacher each week (real commitment), then spend 10 to 15 minutes each day preparing for your 1-hour conversation.

10. Spend 10 minutes per day reading out loud in English (great for improving fluency).

These are 10 simple ways to help you slowly and steadily reach your English fluency goals.

Listen to the story a couple of times and remember that the Tortoise wins – not the Hare! 

I wish you all a very Happy New Year!


The Hare & the Tortoise

A Hare was making fun of the Tortoise one day for being so slow.

“Do you ever get anywhere?” he asked with a mocking laugh.

“Yes,” replied the Tortoise, “and I get there sooner than you think. I’ll run you a race and prove it.”

The Hare was much amused at the idea of running a race with the Tortoise, but for the fun of the thing, he agreed. So the Fox, who had consented to act as judge, marked the distance and started the runners off.

The Hare was soon far out of sight, and to make the Tortoise feel very deeply how ridiculous it was for him to try a race with a Hare, he lay down beside the course to take a nap until the Tortoise should catch up.

The Tortoise meanwhile kept going slowly but steadily, and, after a time passed the place where the Hare was sleeping. But the Hare slept on very peacefully; and when at last he did wake up, the Tortoise was near the goal. The Hare now ran his swiftest, but he could not overtake the Tortoise in time.

Slow and steady wins the race