Lesson 1 is an introduction lesson. Because of the shorter sentences used throughout this first lesson, there is no need for Track 2. Beginning with Lesson 2, however, each lesson is divided into four tracks. A given track number in each lesson uses an identical format for the material in that lesson. This arrangement should give the greatest flexibility to each student in selecting those parts of the lesson material which are the most helpful to his or her particular needs. Tracks 1 through 4 are formatted as follows:
|Track 1:||This track contains the shortest word sections, allowing the student to initially repeat short phrases, gradually building them to complete sentences. Each word section is followed by a pause, allowing the student to repeat the entire word section.|
|Track 2:||This track contains the same material in complete sentence form. Each complete sentence is followed by a pause, allowing the student to repeat the entire sentence.|
|Track 3:||This track contains a great number of supplementary exercises in which the student repeats the words or sentences spoken by the narrator. Many verb exercises are used in this section. The student will find it particularly useful to learn to use the person and tense of each verb as a single word unit rather than breaking each conjugation of a verb into individual words. This track also gives the alphabet and numbers. Each word section is followed by a pause, allowing the student to repeat the entire word section.|
|Track 4:||This track contains the sentences introduced in Tracks 1 and 2 as complete sentences. However, there is no pause after each sentence. While using Track 4, the student will read in unison with the narrator.
Note: Tracks 1, 2, and 4 use identical sentences and are arranged so that students may begin on a level suited to their need. Some may only need Tracks 2 or 4. Others will need to begin on Track 1, working on the sentence sections until fluency is attained. After fluency is attained on Track 1, moving to Track 2 in the same lesson will develop greater fluency using the same sentences.
Throughout the written text provided with the lessons, you will see notations such as, “How are you? (How are you?),” or “What time is it? (What time is it?).” Whenever any phrase is followed by the same phrase in parentheses, it indicates that the narrator will pause long enough so that you should be able to repeat aloud the phrase written parenthetically. When you initially begin studying an exercise, you may need to pause the MP3 player to allow time to complete the phrase. However, your objective is to be able to play the recording and give a correct response within the allotted time.
If you have not read the article titled The Proprioceptive Sense in Language Learning from the Feedback Training Method link, we suggest you do that before reading further. It is important that you understand the methodology behind this new language learning method.
When you look at the lessons on this website, you will realize that it is a spoken English course for professional and university level students. Once you understand the Feedback Training Method, you will understand that — in our opinion — the best way to effectively learn a spoken language is the way we have designed this English course. It does not matter whether you are a Hindi-speaking 22-year-old university student in New Delhi, India, or if you are an American or British 40-year-old who has stuttered all your life. Both of you need to learn spoken English by simultaneously retraining your cognitive, hearing feedback, and proprioceptive senses.
That means that both of you must hear appropriate English sentences and then repeat them aloud thousands of times until you can exactly reproduce what was said by the narrator. Both of you will learn word combinations so that you do not need to think about each word you want to say. You both will need to learn word groups (such as “we will…” from the future tense of the English verb, as illustrated on the home page) so that these word groups become an automatic prefix to whatever verb you intend to use next.
Just knowing the written words when you read or write is not enough for either the New Delhi university student or you. You must both learn to speak fluent English by speaking English.
For you as a stutterer, that at first may sound like a daunting task. Yet it should also be wonderfully liberating. First, there will be no easier spoken language for you to learn than English — you already know how to structure sentences which is the “grammar” your New Delhi counterpart must learn. You already possess a complete vocabulary, and though your own pronunciation is faulty, your mind does have a sense of what it should sound like when others speak. Secondly, even though we all understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for stuttering, our experience in teaching language strongly suggests that you may profit immensely from nothing more complicated than studying spoken English in the same way your New Delhi counterpart would. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful relief to think of correcting your stuttering with nothing more complex than a basic spoken language skill?
So how must both you and your New Delhi counterpart learn spoken English?
- You must always speak aloud when you use the exercises in this English course. Only when you speak aloud will you be simultaneously retraining your mind, the feedback from your hearing, and the feedback of the proprioceptive sense in your mouth to your brain.
- You must practice the language drills without reading the text material. Again, the only way you can simultaneously retrain your mind and the two feedback mechanisms of hearing and the proprioceptive sense is to use all three at full intensity. You will not be using your mind as fully in this retraining if you are reading as you will be if you are forcing yourself to remember the words without reading from a text. There are, of course, exceptions. First, we always recommend that the first few times any new exercise is used, that it be done with an open text. But once you become familiar with the exercise, do it without the text. A second exception must be made with anything from a Track 4 exercise. In these exercises, you will read in unison with the narrator, and will certainly need to use the text.
- You will need to find what works best for you. We designed the four-track system so that each student could find that which works best for him or her. Each of the four tracks will produce different results. Just as your needs are unique, so you will find that emphasizing certain tracks over others will be beneficial.
- You must be persistent. This Feedback Training Method and the Spoken English Learned Quickly lessons had their beginning around a Russian family’s dinner table. In that class, and any class we ever taught thereafter, it was always the same. Those who spent an hour or two a day using the recorded exercises made excellent progress. Those who did not spend time speaking English, did not progress. If you want to use these lessons advantageously, it will require the discipline to spend at least an hour a day, five days a week using the lessons. And, like any international student learning English, it will not produce immediate results. Yet, in several weeks you should see change, and in two months you should see substantial improvement.
- Don’t try too hard. A small percentage of international students become so intense in their study that it probably hinders their progress. We think that this could be a very real danger for you. Understandably, a lifetime of stuttering and the resulting therapy and disappointments has produced a great degree of stress. Nonetheless, we would suggest that, even though you must be persistent in your study, you make every attempt to let the lesson take the lead. Don’t try too hard. Just turn on your MP3 player and speak English.
There is something else to learn from our international students who want to learn spoken English. From time to time we would have a student who would look at the material, determine that they already knew everything in the lesson, and quit because they thought it was too simple. In each case in which this happened, it was obvious that they might have known the “grammar” and vocabulary for the lessons, but their speech betrayed their need to study the material. It was hard to convince them that these lessons were not about grammar, vocabulary, and being able to write similar sentences for an assignment. The real test was whether or not they could speak fluent English. I can well imagine someone who stutters following the same pattern. The lessons simply do not look sophisticated enough. The real test, however, is whether all of these same sentences can be fluently pronounced. If not, then the lessons may be beneficial.
We already mentioned that relearning a spoken language will require thousands of repetitions. There is no alternative for extended effort. At the same time, there are ways in which you can reduce boredom. Frequently use your study time to review earlier lessons. It will actually do you a great deal of good to review lessons in which you can fluently repeat sentences because you will be reinforcing normal speech. Normal speech is actually the more important part of the study for one who stutters because that is when proprioceptive training is taking place at its highest subconscious level. Review also has the advantage of giving you the feel of smooth, normal speech at a lower stress level.
We would assume that the majority of those using these lessons will be young adults or older. This is true simply because by that time in life both the frustration with stuttering and the personal discipline to attempt a change motivate the effort. Nonetheless, a child could profit immensely from this approach to learning spoken English if the individual working with him or her could do it without introducing even more stress. (Be cautious. Not every parent could do this with his or her own child.)
The lessons may be used directly from the website.
| The cadence for these lessons was set for an imaginary average user. If the pace is too fast, you may control the pace by recording the exercises on a cassette tape player.* When you use the cassette player, you can use the pause button to stop the tape until you are ready for the next phrase. A “shoe box” cassette player with a counter is simple to use and has ample quality for recording. There is also a simple way to make the recording from a computer in a way which reduces background noise. Use rubber bands to hold an external microphone to a computer speaker. Then wrap the speaker/microphone with a towel to deaden background noise, using more rubber bands to hold the towel in place. When recording, avoid setting the speaker/microphone near the computer fan or on a hard desk which will transmit the fan noise.
*Recording these lessons is not a copyright violation.
Finally, we want to again reiterate that we cannot promise quick and certain freedom from stuttering by the use of this course. All we can say is that from our perspective in developing the Feedback Training Method for international students wanting to learn spoken English, we see an immense application for those who stutter. International students who can hand in excellent written English assignment but cannot speak fluently have failed to simultaneously retrain their cognitive skills, their feedback from hearing, and the retraining of their proprioceptive sense in order to speak fluent English. Essentially, they have exercised their cognitive language skills in using written assignments, but have neglected the other two. These international students are using this course in unimaginable numbers. It must be working! So too, not discounting any of the necessary parts of the stuttering puzzle which must be handled with professional therapy, we nonetheless think that something in the development of language skills was missed. It would obviously not have been the cognitive development, because those who stutter can be excellent readers and writers. But did they simultaneously develop the full complement of the cognitive and feedback training necessary for fluent speech? We commend this spoken English language course to those who did not.