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My 'simply-better' Ways to Get Great English

Updated: Feb 21


a group of young people sitting and chatting in front of a big wall sign with text simply better methods
Practice your English


Introduction - 'simply better' ways to practice English




If I had to explain in a single sentence what made Apex English Tutoring different this would be my reply.


I teach people HOW to PRACTICE the English they already know.


And it is by practicing that they learn more English. They learn the vocabulary that is most relevant to their lives.



My Challenge


My challenge is to help people see that practicing English is not the same as learning English.


Much earlier, someone in a Facebook group I ran, explained why he was a member of my group.


He told me he wanted "to find the best method of teaching. He thought learning all the skills and going step by step to learn English was the best way."


I thought about his statement for a long time and have finally come up with an answer. I will explain in this article.



My Teaching Background


Let me explain some of my background as an English teacher. I am not a trained teacher.


My teaching methods have come from articles and books on teaching while I was working in China.


Most foreign teachers were content with a year in China then going back to their home countries to get ‘a real job’.


I saw teaching in China as a longer term ‘career’ so I wanted to improve my practice.


'Unlearning' my teaching practice - developing my 'simply better' methods


I taught English in China in the way my primary and secondary school teachers taught.


There was lots of ‘say after me’ and ‘learn what I teach you’.


This was the way Chinese teachers taught all subjects. This was/is how Chinese students learned – by memorization.


I had to battle that system to teach in the way I preferred to teach.


I appreciated the level of autonomy I had at Chinese colleges and universities.


Although the textbooks were set, I could teach how I wanted to teach using the textbooks as long as I got results.


And I got good results.


Then I did a 4-week TEFL/TESOL course.


I had to ‘unlearn’ the way I taught in China at TEFL.


Students learnt by copying the teacher who modeled dialogues.


I came to realise that teachers had to teach students in a way that pleased their parents. If they saw their children ‘speaking English they were happy. But none of the students could hold a conversation.


The schools that hired TEFL graduates were in the business of money making. Parents paid for weeks and weeks to have their kids taught to speak like parrots.


Everyone was happy.



A better way to teach English


I believed there had to be a better way to teach English.


So, in the first lesson of every class I had in China, after TEFL, I taught my students the basis of My ‘simply better’ Method.


By the end of that lesson, students were speaking the longest sentences they had ever spoken.


And using perfect grammar.


They ‘got’ the idea.


I could use the technique at any time in the class.


I used ‘real life’ situations to get them to practice their skills of listening and speaking.


There was no memorising of textbook dialogues. Why memorise something – then rarely use it.

After-class practice

I expected them to practice the method after classes as well – again, using real life English.


Even with passages of text, students did not have to ‘read after me’ to practice their English in class.


Instead, I taught them to skim read to find answers to my comprehension questions. They had to give me long, detailed answers.


My lessons were more ‘conversational’ than conventional rote learning.


We had fun.


Developing my methods for the market


I returned to Australia in early 2018. I decided to use that Method, as well as other methods, as the basis for a business.


I knew, from asking other teachers, that nobody was using my method. I knew my method was unique and I had field-tested it in class after class in China.


Yet, I had a hard time ‘selling’ it to educators in Australia. TAFE and Community English classes did not appreciate the power of the method.


Let me say here, that my methods are not in competition with those who 'teach' English. Why? Because I focus on ways to practice English.


Yet, in some ways I do have competitors.


Students believe that by learning English they are practicing English.


And most teachers believe that teaching English results in English fluency. But they don't include methods like mine to practice the English they teach.


Some 'experts' claim that students 'practice' by chatting with native English speakers.





That same 'expert' claimed most native English speakers use poor grammar. It was an excuse for students with English as a second language not practicing good grammar as well.


To me that is a copout.


In fact, good grammar is a strong basis for better speaking and writing.



To learn why I believe grammar is important, read my article here.



My 'simply better' Method will never replace the teaching of content or skills. For people learning English as beginners, English learning classes have their place.


But, I made the decision from the outset, not to get involved in the business of teaching beginners.


My methods are for advanced students who need a way to practice the English they have learned.



Paradigm shift


My business model represents a ‘paradigm shift’ in language acquisition.


Nobody else I know of teaches ‘ways to practice’ English in a meaningful way.


Businesses teach English and they do it well. They fill their students’ heads with grammar rules and new vocabulary. Then they test students' abilities by having them complete exercises.


Yet, they think this kind of testing is practice. It isn't, it's testing.


I see these sites and believe that I can offer much better learning experiences. The way people learn is ‘slow’.


It is a slow accumulation of English idioms and grammar rules.


There is nothing wrong with that. But students do not get the appropriate way to put that knowledge into practice. They continue to learn, but slowly.


There needs to be ways to practice alongside that acquisition of knowledge.

I didn't want to compete


From the beginning, I knew I didn’t want to compete with those businesses.


I did not want to teach the basics of English. I knew that those other businesses (and schools) did that already.


Instead, I focused on people whose English level was good but not perfect. Apex English Tutoring is a ‘finishing school’. Students ‘polish’ their English with 'real' practice.



I had found my 'niche' - despite the obstacles


Attracting students (and customers) has been very difficult. But I persevere. It is hard to develop trust on the internet as you might well know and understand.


Here is another dilemma for me.


People ask me to show them a sample of my lessons.


I explain that I cannot because to show them anything is to give away my simple but powerful ideas.


I explain that I do not do ‘lessons’ in the usual way. If I did, I would not hesitate in showing them samples.


Those simple but powerful, unique, methods are valuable to me, and I cannot – and will not - give them away for free.

We live in the real world

Furthermore, we do live in the real world where access to learning is not fair.


Many people would like to improve their English but they cannot afford even my low prices.


They must be content with trying to get better English from the myriad of free sites online.

A 'Catch-22' - communicating with customers with poor English is difficult

Another obstacle for me is that communicating with potential customers is near impossible.


My potential customers' English is either so poor or they are too shy to even try responding to me. It's harsh, but it's an easy way for me to weed out the less competent.


But wait, there's another problem.


It's the people who THINK their English is great.


They don't see how my method will fix their situation. They become angry or dismissive if I attempt to point that out to them.


So, the best method of teaching?


Let me return to the group member who said: “we are here to find the best method of teaching”. I thought about this and wondered if I was offering that ‘best method of teaching’.


I can say ‘yes’, this is the best method. Why?


There are several reasons.


1. I recognise students’ abilities and their store of learned knowledge.

Students bring with them English that they have learned.

Some have more than others, but that’s OK.



2. By offering free Basic Lessons. Students then get to a point where they are ready to practice; to ‘learn’ ways to practice.



Remember, students do not learn these ‘practice methods’ from conventional classes. I am not a conventional teacher.



A short summary


So, let me summarise those points to say that I provide a means to practice English.


If students can read and understand basic English, they can learn my Methods. They can use the simple ideas and processes in my Methods to practice. Then they will improve their English skills.


As stated in my Terms and Conditions I do not offer Refunds or Returns. My Methods are digital products.


I encourage potential customers to do My Reading Comprehension Test.


It's offered for free and is available for download by completing the form at my home page.



My ‘simply better’ Method enables students to practice ALL their skills in a more natural way.


As they recognise that their abilities will have improved, their confidence will soar.


That confidence will drive them to even greater levels.



Then they will want to get My Spelling Method and My Pronunciation Method.



My 4-Step Plan to Getting Great English


This plan is my latest project.


It's a structured program of preparation for practicing with My 'simply better' Method.


It represents the culmination of all my ideas over the years.


I detail each of the 4 Steps of the Plan in a free download that you can get by completing the form at the home page.


So, if you are serious about wanting to get great English - with real practice - I urge you to get it and take a look.


With my Method, students learn vocabulary that actually is meaningful to their lives.


They polish their grammar to perfection.


They practice the skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking in a more natural way


And the greatest outcome of all?


Absolute confidence from being able to communicate between teacher and student in English.


What's not to like about an outcome like that?



My 'simply better' Learning Experiences


As of January 2024, all my Methods have undergone a radical redesign. The methods themselves have not changed.


But I have changed the way I teach them.


There are more resources for practice.


And I am delighted to announce that even a couple of new methods have emerged to provide extra ways to practice.


All in all, I am confident students will enjoy an enhanced Learning Experience.



Conclusion


Thank you for getting to the end of this long article.


In this article, I have outlined my ideas about effective language improvement. And ways to practice are key.


I hope that you will understand now how my methods help students improve their English.


They are different, even unique. They guarantee success based on my own experiences.




Further Reading



Another is punctuation, an important component of writing and you can read the article I have written about it here.



Perhaps the culmination of everything you have learned about English, it could be argued, is speaking and in this article, I explain a number of strategies for practicing effective speaking.






© Apex English Tutoring - Dec 2021 - Updated Feb 2024


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About Me


Hello and welcome!


My name is Michael Finemore and I am the owner-operator of Apex English Tutoring.


As an experienced English Teacher, I'm passionate about helping people turn their 'poor' English into great English, with easy and effective ways to practice.




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