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About Apoven

Welcome to Apoven!

Are you ready to start making sense of English?

Are you serious about improving your English?

If you want to improve your English, Apoven is for you!

If you are looking for a way to improve your English, you have come to the right place!

I’m passionate about helping students learn English and, most importantly, gain confidence speaking English.

I’m here to support your English language journey.

While the Virtual Online Textbook page and posts are specific to university courses I teach, everyone is welcome to read or share them.  If there is anything you’d like me to write a post about, contact me via the comment section below or follow me on Facebook for updates. I’ll do my best to answer any questions you have.

I want to:

  • Help you improve your English fluency and communication skills
  • Help you gain confidence
  • Help you increase your vocabulary and knowledge of “real English”
  • Help you improve your listening and communication skills
  • Teach you practical English and natural expressions that aren’t usually taught in school
  • Provide the best online English resources based on years of classroom experience and research
  • Explain the connection between language and culture and why it’s important
  • Share my overseas travel experience through photos and descriptions of the 47 countries I’ve explored

Year after year, I see students who all have the same problem. They lack confidence and are afraid to speak English. They are worried about making mistakes. They are worried about being judged. As a result, they have very little experience and practice speaking English. Year after year, my goal is the same: build confidence and get students speaking. If followed, the methods I teach are effective and you will build your English fluency little by little.

Ready to get started but 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.

About me:

Hi, I’m Trey, and I have been teaching English to students from all over the world since 2006. My credentials include an M.Ed. in Education and Teaching English as a Second Language, a B.A. (English and Education major focusing on English Literature and English language learners), a Massachusetts Educator’s License in English Secondary Education, and a TEFL Certificate.

I began my career teaching in the United States, which is where I am from. 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. For the past 8 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 American English and start speaking right away. I also want to provide that service here. The very first tool is learning and using Classroom English. By using classroom English, students can communicate in English right from the start!

Apoven was created for students. It is a resource for students. It is a place students can come to review, preview or read something new :). It can also be used as a resource for English language teachers and anyone interested in Korean language and culture.

Everyone is welcome here. Beginners, try out the listening resources and be sure to watch Emma’s video.

My goal is to give students the tools they need to become better communicators. These tools include insights into cultural differences, language tips, sample conversations, and much more!

If you don’t find what you’re looking for, leave me a comment below, connect with me on my Facebook page or send me a message.

About English:

If you’ve studied mostly grammar and vocabulary in middle school and high school, you may not have a lot of practice having conversations in English.

The most important thing to try to overcome is your fear and worry about being judged or making a mistake.

If you cannot be brave, you will not improve your English speaking skills. Like anything, improving your English speaking skills takes A LOT of practice and a lot of motivation.

I’ll give you all the insider secrets of the language and tips to help you, but if you don’t practice, you won’t improve.

It’s important to start practicing thinking in English if you want to be better at speaking in English. Don’t forget to check out Emma’s video about how to think in English on the Resources page. She’ll guide you step-by-step.

What does Apoven mean?

Actually, Apoven is a word I made up (created)! I wanted to have a short .com web address, and there are not many available that can be words. I got lucky!

Apoven is the combination of the first two letters of three words: Applied, Overseas, and English. So, if you are wondering how to pronounce this new word, just use the pronunciation of the first two letters of those three words.

Why these three words?

Why applied?

Studying English without applying it is ineffective. Languages are alive. They are meant to be used for communication.

Like learning to play a musical instrument, simply reading about it or learning about it, without actually singing, composing, or playing…only takes you so far. While communication includes speaking, listening, reading, and writing, not all forms of these are communication. For example, reading about grammar and completing grammar exercises is not communication. Talking about grammar with another person is communication. It is more effective to learn to communicate by actually communicating than by studying grammar. Sure, you might pass a test after many hours of studying, but tests such as the TOEIC are not always accurate measures of real speaking ability. A high TOEIC score does not guarantee that you are a fluent speaker. A high TOEIC score may just show that you have hacked the TOEIC.

Of course, it depends on the learner, but I know many students who have taken the TOEIC and gotten a score of around 800 but still can’t communicate fluently or accurately in English. Learning a language is about much more than memorizing a list of words and taking tests. Tests are an external form of motivation that do not guarantee long-term learning or acquisition. Real success takes internal motivation and the application of the vocabulary and skills you learn. It takes practice. Through practical application of what has been learned, you can become more fluent and accurate.

Why overseas?

I have lived overseas for about 8 years. English has been my main source of communication both in Korea and in the 47 countries I have traveled to. Many people use English when traveling overseas. This site combines my love of travel and my love of teaching English to provide learners all around the globe with English tips, tools, and input. Whether working or traveling overseas, English is a great tool to have in your pocket. Overseas travel also exposes us to different cultures. Language is more than just grammar and vocabulary. Language is culture. It’s important to learn not only the language of a place, but also the communication style and norms. I write about Korea and the United States (my two cultural influences) and how cultural differences affect language and create different styles of communication. I also participate in the WordPress weekly photo challenges where I post and write about one photo from my travels each week. The first two are Seoul (Lines) and Florence (Unlikely).

Why English?

This website is all about English! I have a Master’s degree in Education (M.Ed.) and Teaching English as a Second Language.

English is what I know.

English is my field of expertise.

I live, work, play and breathe English education.

3 Important Pro Tips and Recommendations:

1. Get daily input

Don’t worry about not being able to speak when you are a beginner. It takes time.

The first step is input. You need to put some English in before you can put it out. It’s important to find interesting and easy things to read and listen to. Little by little, your vocabulary and comprehension will grow. Little by little, you can start to understand more. Little by little, you can start to speak. Some recommended sources of input include:

Watch Ted Talks (many have subtitles and transcripts in over 50 languages), YouTube, or other videos.

Try English Central for free videos with lots of learning tools. You can choose beginner, intermediate or advanced videos on English Central.

Go for bite-size input.

Listen to podcasts like Voice of America.  Available free on iTunes: VOA 뉴스 투데이 or the English We Speak by the BBC  Available free on iTunes: The English We Speak – BBC Radio and my new favorite website Culips, which has high quality listening resources on a variety of topics.

One of the best ways to improve your English vocabulary and grammar is not by studying more, but by getting more input in a natural way.

Get started by listening to Culips English Podcast on iTunes for free.

Choose one of VOA’s 357 five-minute MP3 files: Exploring Language. Each includes a transcript you can read along with as you listen. You can also slow down or speed up the audio.

Read easy things online. The Internet is full of free resources like Reading Skills Practice by the British Council, or the free Learn English by Stories app on Google Play.

2. Don’t focus on or worry about your grammar when you are having a conversation.

There is a time and place for grammar work, but it’s not during conversations.

3. Don’t be afraid of making a mistake.

You are going to make a lot of mistakes! It’s totally okay and normal. Were you perfect the first time you played your favorite video game? Of course not! You practiced and you got better. Speaking English is like playing a game.

I’m here to give you unlimited ammo, but it’s up to you to use it! If you focus on being perfect, you won’t be able to have a conversation.

Remember: Communication is the most important thing. Mistakes are not important, understanding is. Mistakes are great learning opportunities!

“I want to be fluent.”

Of course we all want to speak well, but that is a different type of practice. It is a separate activity from having a conversation. If you have the opportunity to have a conversation in English, focus on your ideas first. Focus on the person you are speaking with. Ask them questions. Be a good listener. Find the gaps and fill them.

Let me know if you have any questions or would like to request a post. If there is any way I can help you on your English journey, feel free to leave a comment!

Welcome to the Apoven community!

Settle in. Stay awhile. Continue your journey by understanding three ways to start making sense of English.

*I hope you enjoy the recommendations and resources! They all lead to free content, but if you decide to make a purchase via one of the iTunes links, you’ll be helping this website survive and thrive by adding a few cents to my coffee budget. 😊


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