Coach, Consultant, Teacher, Global Citizen, Meditator
In London in 2002 Greenpeace invited me to travel to Germany for three days work. I had no idea that my time in Germany would last over a dozen years. The invitation from Greenpeace started my journey into second-language confidence, the discovery of the BE-in-English Approach, a wife, and a son!
Eight months after my initial 30-second decision, I returned to London to pick up my belongings. Once again I had made a new start, started a new adventure in a foreign country. At that time I had already lived in New Zealand (my home country), Australia, the United States and England for over six years each. Since then I have added time in Saudi Arabia also.
But Germany was the first time where the language was not English. Indeed my first words in German were ‘Gegen Urwaldzerstörung’ (against rain-forest destruction) hanging above my head on a Greenpeace banner. This new language has made for a completely different experience. It has transformed me, my mind, and my understanding, and I have loved this change.
Despite my very international life, I had not needed to learn another language. Such is the global presence of the English language.
There I began my own journey into another culture’s mind, through the language of German. I learned to think in German, be in German, fall in love in German, and indeed have a child in German. I learned that the world and its people are very different in many different ways. But only my experience of learning another language forced me to understand this.
For a long time in the beginning I was very slow in learning Germany. I needed help, but I didn’t know what kind of help. I wasted two years in Germany, because I didn’t understand the language-learning process. Slowly I learned the importance of Conscious AttentionSM to choose my target language of German over my first language of English. My 35 years of daily meditation have helped to understand the function of the mind. Indeed this has recently resulted in the world-first TISL (Thinking in a Second Language) Test. It can quickly identify within minutes the language of any client’s thoughts. Yes!
I also learned how to listen, and the power of Naked ListeningSM Most importantly I rediscovered our shared human ability to learn to communicate, first in our mother tongue, and then in a target language.
Finally I came to understand the importance of an excellent teacher. I learned that a good teacher or communication coach can be worth ten, twenty or even a hundred times the value of many other similar professionals! This is very clear to me through my own learning process. Thankyou Frau Rotraut Schmidt for your help with my German! Certainly now I can comfortably give a speech in German to an audience of critical strangers, but I still improve every day. Even this morning my 6-year-old son corrected my pronunciation. In this life-long process I keep learning more about successful language acquisition.
Fortunately back in 2002 I also renewed my love of teaching.
But I also discovered some of the big problems with traditional methods, while teaching English in companies and in universities in Germany and elsewhere.
Despite billions of students learning English around the world, just 13% can speak it!1
I desperately wanted fast success for my learners, and I found myself asking:
- If the goal is successful unplanned conversation, why should students practise with a book?
- If we learnt our mother tongue through listening and speaking, why so much focus on reading and writing?
- If we learnt our first language through talking one-to-one, why try to learn in a big group?
One night, after struggling for eight years with these questions, I dreamed the answer.
The next morning I wrote it all down, and now I call it the BE-in-English ApproachSM.
Anyone can learn English or any other language much faster, with just three principles, plus contact with English. And the process along the way is much more fun!
So now I am campaigning for people around the world to own their own English for themselves. I want clients to feel at home in English fast. I want clients to regard English as their own international language for the world.
I call this Slow EnglishSM
With the BE-in-EnglishSM Approach and the Slow EnglishSM campaign I and my colleagues are working to rapidly increase the reliable use of English worldwide. Without one reliable international language we cannot solve global problems in a global way. This means that more native speakers need to change how they speak, when necessary. And for more non-native speakers to learn to ask for the English necessary for good understanding. So if it means slower and simpler English, why not?
Let’s work together for a world with one reliable international language.