English Fluency journey with Ana: Mastering English Fluency

Hey everyone, thank you for joining me Today we have a different episode In this episode I’m going to interview Anna Anna is an English learner and she is also a student of mine. She’s a member of my online program She’s a member of the online Facebook community that we run of non-native speakers But most importantly she’s a YouTube creator and she has her own channel called the ‘English Fluency Journey’ where she shares her experience as an English learner and as an English teacher We’re also going to talk about how video can help you improve your English skills and your speaking skills especially when you share it with a supportive community, and we’re also going to talk about her experience taking my online program and how improving her pronunciation and her accent helped her improve her English, her confidence and her speaking skills Okay, so let’s welcome her Hi, Anna, welcome welcome to my channel. How are you doing? Hi. Hi, I’m great I’m great. Excited I’m so so happy and excited as well to have you here I’ve known you for a long time And I think it’s the first time we’re doing this kind of interview together, right? Yes, yes. The first time together the first time ever for me So, I’m really honored to have you here and for those who don’t know you why don’t you just introduce yourself really quickly and share share with them what you do and where you’re from Okay, I’m Anna I am from Ukraine born and raised So I’m a Youtuber now… recently Yes And I have a son, a toddler and me and my husband we are entrepreneurs and Yeah, and I learn and teach English So have you ever lived in an English-speaking country? Have you ever had people around you who spoke English? No, never I’ve never even visited English… any English-speaking countries. So yeah And your English is fantastic! So, how do you… what have you done? What is the secret? I mean there are so many … I always get this question all of my followers and all like they say, okay agree but you lived in New York, you know for 5 years, of course it was easy for you to accomplish this But I don’t have anyone to speak with, right. I will never improve I will never be able to practice my English And here you are, you know, um Um, yeah never in this room this is so are not true So yeah, so tell us, tell us a little bit about it Yeah, I I know a lot of people that live in the US and they just literally can’t speak. They don’t know the language although they live there like 20 years, maybe more even so or less and my secret is my passion because I just love English and I just love learning and studying,’ all this process and and Practice and hard work So guys there’s that’s the I don’t know That’s the only way for me because I realized that that you have to practice, that you have to you have to do something Because otherwise, no, you’re not gonna speak So, how did you even start this whole thing that your journey? How old were you like? What what made you? What what were the first few things that you started doing? Okay, so it started when I was in kindergarten actually I remember yeah they were teaching us English and I remember my first, first teacher, I still remember her face She was great, and my first word that I remembered, that I learned was ‘an apple’ So I came back home and I was like: ‘Mommy, I know that this is an apple, this is an apple!” It was so exciting and I loved it and when of course it was school, but do you know our educational system it’s not great It was like basic and we didn’t have internet back then So I didn’t have any opportunities that we have now, right? Yeah, but I knew back then that I love this language And when I was watching some movies or TV shows and I, I heard this, their voices to the background behind the translation I tried to listen carefully and I try to repeat So that’s when I started to apply this shadowing technique Although I didn’t know about that Maybe explain a little bit. What is the shadowing technique? It’s when you hear something and repeat right away after the speaker. Yeah Do you speak English English with your son? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Only English, or?

When we’re at home, it’s only English and when we were outside, of course I speak Ukrainian because a lot of people are around and the people that we know they like looking at us like we’re weird or something but you know even though I still speak in English with him outside and it’s a to me. It’s kind of additional motivation to learn English and to drill sounds to be, to be consistent, to you use a proper English and .. Right, to learn grammar because it’s important Right especially before a child. Yeah Yeah, yeah, absolutely, and it’s a gift, you know, you’re giving him the gift of having a second language and then it’s amazing Yeah, I hope so Although my mom says like because he says …. all these words and she’s like, oh my god he’s speaking English and ‘This R, this R-sound. Don’t teach him this R-sound! Teach him our R-r-r-sound! Yeah, it’s so funny He’ll master both, he’ll master both That’s so amazing with kids is that they’re able to hear an apply immediately It’s not like us. That it’s hard for us now to move from R-r- to the Ur So yeah, that’s the beauty of being a baby, you know? Yeah. Yeah So, do you ever feel judgement? When you speak do you ever feel What is your biggest fear when you communicate in English? Do you ever, have you ever experienced judgment from other people? even non-native speakers of English that like do not understand why you’re doing this English thing Yeah, just of non-native speakers actually Really? Yeah, native speakers, they don’t judge they actually well the ones I’ve talked to they are actually fascinated by the fact that we learn English and that we can master this language and I really like it because it’s their own language and a lot of English native speakers, they don’t know other languages. So yeah, but Yeah, I am judged by people around me yeah So I get these looks all the time and these weird questions like ‘So, okay, so you have a YouTube channel?’ “That’s funny’. And like so so, do you know English? So do you teach English? it’s like and I’m like standing and saying well, yeah, so what? And But actually it’s um, to be honest I couldn’t care less Right I’m just ending these conversations like they are and say: “Okay it was nice to talk to you, and goodbye” Someone will always have something to say, you know Yeah I recently listened to Rachel Hollis. She’s awesome and she had this podcasts or she says it in their book ‘Other people’s opinions of you are none of your business’, right? It’s not it shouldn’t interest you It shouldn’t bother you and you definitely shouldn’t make a decision based on what other people think, you know And I think this is a great motto Yeah, if you feel that this is something that you want to do then do it, then don’t listen to anyone. Yeah Especially when it comes to English people feel that they’re not enough because they’re non-native speakers They’re new to English They weren’t born into the language But it’s more than enough, you know It’s more than enough If you do the work, if you show up if you’re consistent, if you provide value to others then absolutely Okay, so Anna, what made you decide to open your YouTube channel, and how did it all start? Okay, so it all started when I found, actually I came across your YouTube channel, and then I found out about this community, about this Facebook group of non-native speakers that learn English and help each other but actually back It was just just just a challenge Right So we had a challenge. Was that 30-day challenge, right? Cuz I have up one before. The 30 day July challenge, right? Yeah We do there Yeah, and we had to make videos every single day talking about some particular topic that was intimidating and terrifying experience for me because I started from introducing myself and It was so weird because I’ve never talked to anyone in English. Let’s say like this Maybe there was some time but especially I didn’t record myself

I haven’t recorded myself ever! So it was so weird, but then I decided that I’m gonna do it if I start it then I’m gonna continue How did you like once you posted the first video? What did you think that’s going to happen? Actually, I was I was so terrified that I didn’t think anything I was like, oh my god. Did I actually do it? Oh my god, people are watching and they’re commenting. Oh gosh I had all these thoughts Then I watched a lot of other videos of other people and I never judged, never judge And I was like, they are awesome. They’re great They’re speaking English. That’s amazing Yeah, and I was like I can do it too and I’m gonna do it I’m gonna be consistent. So I’m gonna I’m gonna continue with this challenge and yeah, and I did The comments what you got were amazing, right Like the feedback you’ve got, people loved you Yeah, yeah, the comments were great They were asking me like what do I do to improve? What did I do to get this level of English? Although I didn’t think that it was a level at all I was so stunned by those comments. I was like great. It’s it’s awesome And this is where that was a great motivation for me I was like, yeah I wanted to do it and now I have this confirmation that I need to continue Yeah, that was great This is this is what I love about it so much Is that people have these opinions about themselves and about their English How bad it is and how Not interesting, they are and not engaging and they take the first step and they post the video and they want to you know like Natalie one of our students, she’s also from Ukraine, she said that she posted a video and she turned off the phone and and then she deleted the Facebook app from her phone because she was so embarrassed She was just like it’s going to be terrible people are going to mock me and ridicule me And then like the next day, she was just like I don’t know I don’t want to know anything about it and then the next day she turn it on and there are all these amazing comments ‘You’re awesome’ . ‘Thank you so much for sharing’ ‘You’re so interesting and awesome.’ You’re like wait, right It’s like what exists in my head does not exist in other people’s heads Actually people are interested in what I have to say and they’re curious And and they’re motivated and inspired by what I’m saying or how I show up And that gives you an to continue, you know and from there she was like she posted every single day and they’re super interesting video and I think she created relations like we all did, you know like created relationships? And had impact on each other I mean there’s such stong relationships just by just because you connect to people who show up on video Because when you see someone you’re like you really see the person and you can get a little deeper than you can in just writing a post, you know, so Yeah, yeah The patience or their the skills to write like exactly what they want to say, so Taking a video. That’s actually the secret. I would say Right Making us you get supportive community Yeah, yeah totally respond Yes, and the safe place, I think like a place like you said you never judge and just like you people don’t judge like in that community at least, like like it was only support it was always only empowerment so yeah, yeah a lot of support and a lot of feedback and I get some great advice and corrections because we have a lot of teachers there Right So of course that my grammar wasn’t great and I was struggling with it And I is still struggle, you know I still make mistakes, but that’s okay I think And you know, it’s it’s so great because you get to improve just like this so and also You know what I loved as well that I had to make like 5 videos every single time because I didn’t like something, because I made a mistake, because I didn’t say that I wanted to stay because it forget forgot something. Yeah and It was great because every single time it was better and better and better Yeah That’s how you improve when you don’t have someone to talk to use video This is like my new my new Belief system, right if you don’t have people you have the video thank God like everyone has a phone so yeah, yeah okay, so so what so from that point where you saw that you’re like You know you you have people who want to listen to what you have to say

What was the moment where you decided that okay, I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna open my youtube channel Yeah, that was that moment But actually I wanted to start my youtube channel a lot earlier me and my husband we were thinking about that But we just didn’t know what to talk about what would you show to people what to share and how to help people and that was the problem and then when I told my husband, you know, I would like to I would like to try because I think that something amazing will happen and and will turn work out from that and also that was another opportunity for me to practice and to learn English and to stick to it Right, absolutely Yeah And you’re always like if you have a dream you always have to go for it I mean worst thing that can happen you fail you close the channel That’s it, like or you click but but it it and you only learn from it you only learn and you start again doing something better because you learn But the worst thing is just like not to do it because you’re afraid you’re afraid you’re not gonna succeed, you’re afraid of of what people are gonna think I mean, you know You’re the only person who needs to face those consequences at the end of the day, so Got it Yeah You got to give it a try Yeah Well, when we started the channel I didn’t think about getting a lot of subscribers I didn’t think about bad comments because I know that there always will be bad comments Always. There are people that like you and there are people they just don’t like you no matter what You say and just because you look this way. That’s it Yeah, and I wasn’t thinking about that man I I just I just wanted to when when I had my first hundred subscribers it was so exciting I was like, oh my god a hundred people are listening to me and are interested in what I have to say This is so cool. Yeah, and I just wanted to I just wanted to share then I start getting questions Amazing That was exciting Yeah, as well So what kind of content do you share on your channel? Different like tips and advice how to improve how to learn basically on your own And I just share what do I do all the time? Mm-hm And I’m gonna yeah, I’m planning to make a video like I’m explaining and telling that Describing my day What I do is every single day to practice like just to show people that It’s all achievable. It’s oh it’s all doable You can’t find time for that you can’t make time for that Right, right It doesn’t need to be much you just have to be very intentional about it, right So what was the video you had the most fun creating or you thought that was? Like, you know you you really enjoy doing Okay, so to be honest Like the first 10 videos that we’ve made Were really fun to shoot because we didn’t have a place so we don’t have a studio or a separate room for that and every single time we have to arrange here in the apartment the place to shoot the video so we had to We had to we had to buy these lamps, lights and yeah, my husband was arranging all that it was so it was such a mess inside the apartment Right We tried to that Yeah, we tried to keep our baby away So we were Yeah, he was what you got a lot of your videos I think on one of your videos you can even hear him right like yeah I remember watching one of your videos I remember cuz when I just started out it was just the same way waiting for the girls to go to the kindergarten and then You know changing the entire apartment getting all the lights and everything and then having to fix it all, right Yeah. Yeah, and also I’m Yeah, and it’s a great experience for my husband as well Because he he’s learning how to edit videos Hmm and he’s enjoying this a lot. So this is like his This is like his how to say it right? Passion? Like yeah passion or this idiom, a cup of want to say something Cup of tea? yeah, cup of tea, yeah Yeah So the coffee didn’t feel right but the cup of something Yeah Yeah, I have this word. I was in the middle of a class I had like 10 students in front of me

and I get stuck here just like no wait, I know this word And that was that what was the word I was looking for? Forbid it forbidding, forbidding or forbid So it was just like, you know, I know this word is just it was not very available and nothing else was fitting enough Yeah So also, so once we started in the Fluency challenge you also became a member of my online program, right The Accent Makeover Yeah Online course Yeah Yeah, and you actually made a video about it without me knowing So it wasn’t like something planned because I think it was worthwhile So guys if you want to learn more about the program I’m gonna I’m gonna put links to everything below So go check out her channel, you know because it’s over there and anyway, you need to go check out our channel and subscribe to If you’re learning English and So, yeah, maybe telling a little bit about that about that experience and why pronunciation was like, why improving your pronunciation was a goal for you and why? How it helped your English like I’m really curious in understanding what led you to join this program and to What impact did it have on your English? So I gotta say that in the first place why I decided to do at least something and to change my life, basically starting learning English because of my son because I want better opportunities for him and better life So this is why and for that reason if I wanted to talk in English to my son I needed to have a good pronunciation So that was the main, the main reason Right also that I have a YouTube channel, and I have to like speak properly and I to know how to speak and to be honest enrolling to this course was the best decision that I made It’s so, it’s so true because I Could be frankly speaking. I didn’t expect much I was like well, okay this is gonna be like some recorded video lessons and maybe I’m gonna practice maybe I’m not gonna practice I don’t know but it got so interesting It was so engaging Yeah We have this group as well Right We have another I think a Facebook group for the course numbers, right Yeah, and a lot of people they’re posting their videos and drilling sounds and doing all the work and it was so great, so exciting and when I started, it was so hard I didn’t expect that so I my face muscles literally hurt a lot when I tried to speak properly and to speak like a lot like having a conversation It was hard. It was so hard It was so tensed Yeah Like we resist, right We’ve learned something new and the muscle resists it right like the muscles and So you got to learn how to let go and how to train those new muscles like the th, you know we’re starting with the th So the tongue does those things that it never used to do before so yeah, uh-huh Yeah Yeah, it was but when I practice I actually kind of saw the results right away like on the like the Like on the other day, let’s say it like this So I practiced today a lot, a lot, a lot and then I I was so tired and exhausted and then when I got it up the other day and I tried all these words and all these sentences It was easy and I was like, oh my god, this is so great Yeah Now I can no I can’t pronounce it actually because I didn’t have actually a lot of problems with the separate sounds or maybe words but I had a problem with sentences So when we go to sentences, it’s hard to to try to repeat with the same intonation and speed and all the stresses Right Yeah that It’s hard to be consistent especially when you get tired, and you don’t want to think about the accent, right It has to be there for you For that you gotta develop the skills, and the pronunciation skills on the muscle memory, right Yeah. Yeah What was the most challenging sound for you? Element of the speech that you worked on throughout the course I’d say that of course th Mm-hmm because we don’t have this sound in our language, in Ukrainian language but particularly

this transition when we have voiceless th and S, voice th and Z Mm-hmm And I still tend a bullet I let’s get a given example like voiceless th and s ‘with some’ ‘with some’ with some , PS ‘with some people’ or yeah ‘Is that you?’ , right These transitions I get questions about those all of the time so we have a few tricks there in the course, right that we as how to practice and drill it so it’s easy So this is like my number one problem Let’s say like this Yeah, we also do that. We prioritize our issues, right So it’s not like we need to learn everything I love it that you said it now I and that you pointed it Yeah, absolutely. Cuz like if you’re if something is not yet there or you you get obsessed about a certain sound, but you haven’t mastered that’s probably your number one priority because if you get self-conscious about especially when you’re at a more advanced level where it’s not a clarity issue right then you’ve got to figure out and bring the sounds that are tricky for you or that you are that you’re overly aware and for people who have clarity issues that like they’re really not fully understood then they need to work on first and foremost like all of the time during the course and after you know to to invest all the time to master the sounds that will get them the best results, right So this is the system behind it. Yeah Yeah yeah, also of course that’s V and W, V sounds The same problem here For Ukranian speakers and Russian speakers. Yeah Yeah, because we don’t have these sounds in our languages and it’s when people When people do these sounds make these sounds it sounds Like they are I forgot the word, you know all they we have this boring Mm-hmm Well, it sounds like they’re not speaking properly a bit weird Oh that they have a list for they have a speech again Yeah. Yes. Yes exactly I’m yeah is is something that we’re trying to face? Yes Mmm-hmm And actually I still work with your practice toolkits that you gave us Oh, cool Yeah Once it over you get like two months worth of recordings for every single day where it’s like 10 minutes a day Do you find it useful, helpful? Super useful, I’m on the day 45 right now Good for you! Yeah Yeah, and I go back to those days that were maybe, maybe hard or maybe that I want to drill them more and more So I always go back and I actually practice it throughout the day practiced throughout the day. So starting from the morning This is the first thing that I do I get up, I have my breakfast and then I go and practice with these practice toolkits because it’s so convenient We have this already recorded, you know like Yeah, you don’t need search for the content Yeah, you know I work with So like the reason why I created it is actually for, I created it for my online students but the needs came from all of my students even the ones here in my school in Tel Aviv the okay, there’s all this content How do I know what to focus on? How do I decide what to do every single day and people are so busy that they don’t have like that because they need to take another action of opening the drive looking for the content deciding, the decision So I’m like I’m gonna stay here the decision I decided for you what you’re gonna practice today all you need to do is hit play, you know and then I think it’s very valuable of the responses are great I feel that people do the work And the most important that I’ve learned on this course is to be consistent and to actually you taught us You taught us what to do So you showed us all the tricks and hacks and like to to practice with TED Talks So you get to choose some TED talks and you you can You can do shadowing practice or whatever So it’s like We also have the monologues where you did incredible work Right you have it Yeah, that was so fun each, right. You want to you want to tell us about that? Oh, that was so much fun I I’ve chosen this monologue I actually don’t remember right now the name “Hidden figures” Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah I was really impressed by the power of this monologue

but by the power of power of the speech and I and I really wanted to go out at the comfort zone one more time because it was something totally new in this monologue it requires to be so, so emotional Right to play, to show yourself, to scream and I was like okay how am I even gonna do it? but I just closed the door and I decided that yes I’m gonna record this and actually the first so that was the first take I guess that I that I did and my husband said that this one is just great because you showed like showed all the emotions and it was so genuine Yeah So he like You even picked up on the southern accent. It was so good. Yeah So to wrap it up Anna What is the best thing you can recommend our viewers and the people out there learning English or wanting to improve their English, but they don’t live in an English-speaking country So you talked a little bit about it at the beginning, but you know if you can tell me in one thing that they can start doing as of today tell me in one thing that they can start doing as of today Even though they don’t have a conversation partner Like what can they do to improve their speaking skills? Okay, if we’re talking about speaking skills that I would really recommend to do this mimicking, shadowing practice and to need to record yourself Right This is this is those are two main things that you should do to improve and if you want if you can’t if you’re not shy then just join this community, our community Facebook group and post our videos there but be consistent don’t just post one video don’t just post one video and then people all people are like oh nobody commented and I don’t know I’m so frustrated. That was so humiliating No, it wasn’t. We have so many people there So I guess So maybe it’s just lost in the feed like it could be an hour when too many people posted at the same time Yeah So you got a consistent you got to show up right now like You know, we don’t have the 30 day challenge but we have weekly discussions right every week. We have a different topic This week it’s about privilege, you know, What is being privileged mean and so it’s like and last week what was like your favorite movie seems so we have different topics so it’s quite fun like to talk about things enough of your comfort zone on video and we have different activities and we have Fluency talks where people give “mini-TED talks” Yeah in the group so I’d say that if you want, really want to feedback then you should post your video You should take part in the activities Yeah For example, we yeah, cuz then you’re gonna get your feedback is for sure and then you’re gonna be You’re gonna be noticed So okay, there you are and then people are gonna watch your weekly discussion video a lot more and it’s really about like doing the work and benefiting, from, you know recording 5 videos and finally uploading the fifth one Even if you don’t it’s like if people don’t upload but they do the work and they get inspired but by other people and they learn it That’s also valuable, you know Yeah I actually, I didn’t have time to upload and I forgot to upload a lot of videos of weekly discussions that we had but I recorded them. Yeah, I have them to my phone and I watched like the other day one of the videos and I noticed that I pronounced. I forgot the word That I pronounced some word wrong Right And I was like, oh Great. Okay. Now I’m gonna check it out And now I know how to pronounce this word Right This is so useful So useful, so valuable. Absolutely Anna It was so much fun talking to you So it was so much fun as well So first of all, thank you so much I know your your baby boy is a little sick today and you’d still took the time and spend it with us and shared your knowledge in your journey the English Fluency journey And that’s also your YouTube channel and I highly recommend you all to go and check it out and subscribe and go click on the link So I will put a few links below check them out if you want to know more about the program so also go check out the video Anna made on her channel And of course join us, join our community on Facebook of non-native speakers from around the world Yes You know maybe one day you will open your YouTube channel also Because you’ll get so freaking comfortable on video and you’ll see that you are a rock star It’s just like you Anna

yeah Thanks for having me. That was awesome Yeah, thank you so much and thank you for all the value you bring to English learners around the world. So thanks