Making Sense of English
Making Sense of English was created as a resource for both students and teachers. My goal is to give students the tools they need to become successful communicators in English. These tools include insights into cultural differences, language tips, sample conversations, and much more! Beginners, try out the listening resources and be sure to watch Emma’s video. Intermediate and Advanced students will find lots of material to suit their level. While the Virtual Online Textbook page and posts are written for the university courses I teach, everyone is welcome to read them (unless password protected).
*Click on CC (closed captioning) if you want to see the subtitles. I’ve edited them for accuracy. In addition to a brief introduction, you’ll learn the meaning of the following phrases and hear them used in context:
- make sense
- to stick with something
Are you ready to improve your English? Are you committed to putting in the time and effort to create a daily practice that will support your goals?
Are you afraid to speak English?
Are you worried about making mistakes?
Do you lack confidence?
Are you worried about being judged?
If not, fantastic! You are more than 50% of the way to becoming a fluent English speaker! If so, keep reading.
An Off the Cuff video about Mistakes
If you view this on YouTube, you can see explanations of vocabulary and expressions in the description, but I also explain some of it during the video. Be sure to click on CC if you want the subtitles, which I edited for accuracy.
Preview of expressions you’ll hear:
- to have a laugh at someone’s expense
- to be used to something
- to hold someone back
- to sink in
I also speak a little Korean in this video, so feel free to have a laugh at my expense! 🤣
The Importance of Mistakes and Practice
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you probably have very little English speaking practice. Am I right?
People who are afraid of making mistakes usually prefer to listen. That’s fine! For now. However, at some point, if you really want to improve your English speaking ability, you are going to have to be brave and start speaking. I will teach you how to get speaking practice to improve your speaking ability even without anyone to talk to.
Anyone who plays a sport or a musical instrument can easily understand that learning a new skill takes lots of practice. Your ability to use your instrument well, whether it is your body, your violin, or your voice, will only improve by practice, practice, and more practice. There is nothing to be afraid of. Mistakes are natural.
You will absolutely, 100% make mistakes. That is guaranteed.
Mistakes are a necessary part of the learning process. Embrace them. It is also guaranteed that you will not become a better speaker if you don’t embrace the learning process and start speaking, little by little.
If followed, the methods I teach are effective and you will build your English fluency little by little.
You have my support on your English language journey. You are not alone!
With practice, you can:
- Gain confidence
- Improve your English fluency and communication skills
- Increase your vocabulary and knowledge of “real English“
- Improve your listening and communication skills
- Learn practical English and natural expressions
- Understand the connection between language and culture and why it’s important (Korean vs. English examples)
What if you have no one to speak to?
Check out this video on learning how to think in English. Follow Emma’s advice to stop translating (“buffering”) and start thinking in English. By practicing a little each day, you’ll increase both your vocabulary recall and your ability to speak more fluently. You can also practice speaking English with Siri.
While I am not currently taking new students, if you think you’d like to work with me in the future, sign-up for my mailing list via the pop-up form to be first to hear about course offerings.
Who’s behind Making Sense of English?
This site is completely written and published by one person, dedicated to helping English language learners gain confidence and improve their English.
I began my career teaching in the United States. The last place I worked in the U.S. was The New England School of English, a highly respected award-winning school located in Harvard Square.
My qualifications include:
- English teacher to students from all over the world since 2006
- M.Ed. in Education and Teaching English as a Second Language
- B.A. in English and Education focusing on English Literature and English language learners
- Massachusetts Educator’s License in English Secondary Education
- TEFL Certified
For the past ten years, I have been teaching university students in Seoul, South Korea. Every semester, I enjoy helping students become comfortable speaking English by giving them the tools they need to understand English and start speaking English more confidently. The very first tool is learning and using practical English. By using just 3 or 4 practical English questions, students can communicate in English right from the start!
- I love learning and strongly believe in lifelong education and personal growth.
- I practice gratitude daily because it helps me stay positive in an imperfect world.
- I do yoga everyday.
- I’m an aspiring minimalist.
- My dream retirement job is to be a Marie Kondo consultant.
- I’m a night owl who has finally learned to get 8 hours of sleep.
- I need to be surrounded by nature to feel relaxed.
Apoven is Making Sense of English
Making Sense of English was one of my first choices for a website name. If you go to www.makingsenseofenglish.com, it will take you to www.apoven.com. I own both domain names and had a difficult time deciding which one to choose. I’m still undecided! I like Apoven because it is short and could stand for Applied Overseas English. I like Making Sense of English because it tells you what the site is about without explanation. I don’t like the idea of changing domain names for many reasons that I won’t bore you with. For now, the primary domain is: www.apoven.com. We’ll see what happens in the future.
Like anything, improving your English speaking skills takes A LOT of practice and a lot of motivation.
For 3 tips about how to enjoy English, check out the article 3 Tips to Jump-Start Your English and Add More Fun to Learning.
Remember: Communication is the most important thing. Mistakes are not important, understanding is. Mistakes are prime learning opportunities!
Continue your journey now by learning 3 ways to start making sense of English.
Never stop learning!