Welcome to Our Community
Message from the CEO to all English learners
Finding my calling
When I moved to Japan, just after graduating from college, I worked as an English teacher at a private school. I was excited about living in another country and also nervous about learning the Japanese language for the first time. I was also anxious because I had never taught English before. Fortunately, I steadily improved by speaking Japanese every day and by gaining experience in the classroom. I was motivated to do my best for my students, who were mostly in high school and college or working business professionals. One of my favorite students was over 80 years old!
The reason why I could teach English with no experience is that the lessons were based on conversations. Most of my students already had at least 6 years of experience learning to read, write, and listen. They came to school to practice speaking with me.
I expected to teach only one year and return to the United States. Never did I think that I would end up spending 25 years in Japan building a career in the education field. Japan has become my second home and sometimes I think I am more Japanese than American now! Living in Japan has enriched my life in many ways.
One of the ways is that I found my calling in life. I discovered that I find fulfillment in helping people with their career development. Seeing people improve and succeed is deeply rewarding and I have been fortunate to help thousands of people further their careers as lawyers, doctors, scientists, entrepreneurs, researchers, business managers, and professors. Even now, I am in contact with many of them and continue to follow their progress.
There are many factors to career success, and often it depends on each individual, but I have observed that for many, being able to speak English fluently was one of the critical skills that opened the door to the world to further educational and professional opportunities.
I have now returned to the US with the purpose to launch a new company as the CEO and Co-founder of New Voice Learning. I am passionate about our mission to help non-native English speakers around the world build confidence and achieve fluency to reach your academic and career goals.
Why some English learners improve quickly
Because I have experience learning languages myself, and I have been around non-native English speakers for much of my life, I know that learning English can be a nervous and frustrating experience. Pronunciation is tricky. Native speakers speak quickly and frequently use slang expressions that cannot be found in the dictionary. I know the feeling of embarrassment when you make a speaking mistake with many people in the room. I know how scary it can be to try to jump into a small talk conversation with native speakers to express your opinion or idea.
During my time in Japan, I noticed that some learners improved very quickly and others did not.
The successful learners did not go to language school every week, have a coach, nor spend all of their time looking up words in the dictionary. Instead, I observed that the successful learners developed the ability to think in English and did not try to translate their thoughts from their native language. In other words, the successful learners’ speaking ability improved quickly because they first developed the ability to think in English.
A few people can develop this skill to think in English by themselves but most people have to learn and practice it. The best way to start thinking in English is to live in an English-speaking country. This is called immersion learning and it has a powerful effect on the mind when you are surrounded by the language and culture. Of course, uprooting your life and moving to another country is not a realistic solution for many learners.
A new way to practice speaking English
The good news is we now have voice technology that can create an immersive learning experience and help you practice English speaking on your device. On our platform, learners can practice by listening and speaking English just as if you were living in an English-speaking country. In some ways, it is even better than living in an English-speaking country because you will not be embarrassed if you make a mistake. Learners improve by speaking often and receiving honest feedback.
On our platform, learners can practice speaking English by choosing from a menu of conversations, ideas, and vocabulary. For conversations, learners can choose from professional settings such as scheduling a meeting with a customer and casual settings such as talking about museum paintings. The ideas section helps learners practice expressing opinions about subjects such as work-life balance and your bucket list, topics that regularly come up in small talk in the classroom and the workplace. Vocabulary lessons focus on important and useful casual expressions that often are not found in the dictionary, such as “you got this,” “it’s all downhill from here,” and “gimme a ballpark figure”(see the article Cracking the Code to Learn Real English). Each lesson is only about 3 to 7 minutes so you can have that immersive experience even during your busy days.
I welcome all English learners to join our community. We made New Voice Learning to help you. Soon, I look forward to featuring stories of learners who achieve fluency and career success. I hope it will be your story!