Foreign Language Booster
Jan Martinec is the author of a website language-ebook.com to help those of you who want to learn foreign languages; to save you time and effort. We have conducted an interview with him about his website and about his educational eBooks.
What are the most pertinent problems you solve for people learning a foreign language?
Thanks for asking. You know, I have been teaching for about 14 years now, and according to my own experience, many language students share similar problems. Firstly, they often lack system in learning and therefore they study rather inefficiently. Secondly, they don’t receive enough (appropriate) language input on regular basis. I am trying to fix that with the help of my eBooks, where I have summed up my expertise and advice on how to learn languages faster and easier.
What inspired you to create http://language-ebook.com/ ?
During my first years of teaching English, I noticed that during a conversation, many of my students didn’t know how to express themselves properly, even if they possessed sufficient vocabulary. We talked about it and finally I realized that they only study the theory. For the most part, they learned some new words, a few grammar rules and they did some exercises in their course books. But outside the classroom, they didn’t really read or listen to any English at all. As a result of that, they didn’t have an example of the target language at their own level, to absorb, learn from, copy and build upon.
I wanted to help them and so I started writing example texts in the first person, on common topics. I tried to include colloquial expressions, frequently used phrases and idioms, whenever possible. To make the long story short, after several years of work I have collected enough material and turned it into two eBooks. My students liked the result and one of them suggested that I should make it available online… and the rest is history, as they say.
What are the examples of the type of knowledge materials do you share on your website?
Well, my eBooks help language students extend their vocabulary and improve their speaking skills, by providing carefully structured texts on various topics. These are written in the first person and thus make it easier for students to absorb the syntax, common phrases, and colloquial expressions. Also, they assist in gaining experience actually speaking the language, thanks to an extensive set of conversation questions with helpful prompts for each of them.
How are learners able to know they could grasp foreign language quickly and effectively?
The speed of learning and level of knowledge a student is able to achieve is very individual, of course. There are many factors involved. Some of them – e.g. motivation, the power of will, focus or positive approach to learning and the language itself – I cannot affect directly. I can only advise. Others, such as the system of learning, the proper construction of spoken text or reacting naturally in conversation, I can help you with and that is exactly what my eBooks are focusing on.
How could they measure their success?
They can print out a progress chart from my FREE eBook and use it to visualize their learning success. There are no assessment tests included, though. Let me put it this way. While my eBooks help students enrich their vocabulary and improve their speaking skills, the most obvious sign of success will be their own satisfaction with … how smoothly and easily they can express themselves in the target language. To achieve that, of course, they should study them regularly.
What are the titles of the eBooks which you have written?
I have written two eBooks: “From Reading and Listening to Speaking”, which provides students with useful texts on common topics, and “Conversation Prompter”, containing a set of questions and several prompts/hints for each of them, so it is easy for the students to start their answers properly and naturally. They are sold together, as the “Foreign Language Booster” pack, on my website http://language-ebook.com/.
Besides these two eBooks, I have also written another eBook "6 Simple Steps to Effective Study of Foreign Languages", which is FREE to download on my web, and contains 26 pages of my advice and practical tips on how to make your language learning faster, easier and more efficient.
How does it benefit your own students?
Not all of my students use these texts, of course, but those who do gradually started to implement the learned expressions, phrases, and utterances into their own speech. Their English has become more fluent, more natural and authentic. Those who followed my recommendations, now show more understanding of the language and they do not approach the learning itself as something stressful, but rather as something fun and useful. What more could a teacher wish for?
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