Revolutionary Insights for Fluency in English

Real Life English Mini Course: Video #2  | Exclusive for Members. Please DON’T share! [media url=”″ width=”600″ height=”400″]

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Revolutionary Insights

Hey Guys, What’s up? If we haven’t met already, I’m Justin. I’m excited to present the 2nd VIDEO of the Real Life Video Series that explains our innovative new method: Revolutionary Insights For Fluency in English

As Ethan explained in the first video, Powerful Secrets for Fast Fluency, here at Real Life English, we believe that English should NOT be taught or learned as a BORING and MUNDANE school subject. This is the OLD METHOD, and if you’re watching this, you probably know how frustrating and limited TEXTBOOK learning is.

The world is quickly changing, technology and communication are advancing faster than we can imagine. Opportunities are EVERYWHERE for people who speak English, but to speak English fluently, we need to change the way we learn languages.

But why is it that in a world of globalization, of cultural, political and technological revolution, that people are still learning with OLD, lifeless METHODS that don’t honor our natural intelligence? It’s clear that we are changing the way we think, but WHY aren’t we changing the way we learn languages?

These are the questions and responses that motivated us to start Real Life English. It is our mission is to inspire, connect, and empower people from all around the world to learn English in practical, imaginative, and dynamic new ways.

If you take this message to heart and take responsibility for your learning, your perspective will completely change. You will be motivated, you will use your natural intelligence, and your English learning will never be the same.

a journey of 1000 miles As the Taoist philosopher, Lao Tzu, once said:

 A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

 The goal of this mini-course is to show you how to take that important first step, and give you a road map for the journey. And if you’re already on your way, we’re here to give you some orientation and some inspiration.

First, I would like to share my language learning story with you. These are the experiences that transformed the way I think about language learning, that influenced my teaching greatly, and caused me to create Real Life English.

My experience with Spanish was a lot like what other people experience with English. I took 3 years of Spanish in high school and college as a required class. I needed it to graduate, but I didn’t feel inspired. While I was a good student in other subjects, I was a total failure in Spanish.

I tried my best to enjoy it, I studied hard from a grammar book, I listened the best I could, and I rarely missed a homework assignment.

I was completely frustrated, discouraged, and I was convinced that I was stupid. The more I tried to learn, the more frustrated I felt, and the more I started to HATE Spanish. I could not see the value in it.

At the end of every semester, I barely passed with a mediocre 70%. Fortunately, I received credit and graduated, but the sad fact was that I didn’t know how to speak or read at all, and I would soon forget the little I had learned.

Not only did I think my Spanish class was a complete waste of time, but it left me with the impression that I was incapable of learning languages. It wasn’t until three years later, in Mexico, that I realized that the problem wasn’t me.

The way I was learning was completely incorrect.

Although I spoke absolutely no Spanish when I started my journey, after the first month in Mexico, I realized that I had already learned more in 3 weeks of life than I had in 3 years studying.

I was making a lot of friends, not just with Mexicans, but people from all around the world. I enjoyed life in Spanish as much as I could, even when I couldn’t communicate at first. I went out a lot, I listened to music in Spanish, I watched TV, I talked to as many people as I could, and most importantly, I didn’t worry about making mistakes.

Because I was having fun, and experiencing the language in its real life cultural context, I felt motivated to study grammar, which I did by myself, for up to 45 minutes a day.

For the first time ever, grammar was actually fun because I saw the direct application in my life.

It was then that I had my first big language learning insight:

 I was A LOT better at learning Spanish in real life than in school.

This experience was completely transformative for my perspective on language learning. After 3 months, I had reached basic fluency, and after 6 months, I started to think of myself as totally fluent. I still made small mistakes, but I rarely had problems communicating, and my fear of speaking had disappeared.

It was then that I had my second big language learning insight:

Successful language learners make a language A PART OF WHO THEY ARE.

Everything I had ever believed about my language learning process was now proven completely false. My Mexican adventure had given me an entirely new vision for Spanish. There are two important reasons for this:

1. The first reason was the European Language Learning Method- I met European backpackers who gave me a model for successful language learners. I realized that most Europeans have an intelligent approach to language learning that I had never learned: they play with the language, they integrate it into their experience, and they only use grammar to complement the process. They learn like children do.

2. The Second Insight was the Power of an Active Imagination – You see, my new cultural perspective was 100x more powerful than just studying grammar rules, as I had done in high school. For me, it was the experience of actually being engaged in Spanish speaking culture, the people, and having fun that activated my natural intelligence for learning.

This is exactly what scientific research is proving about language learning nowadays: we learn best when we have fun.

After Mexico, I went back to the United States. At first, I worried I wouldn’t be able to keep learning Spanish, or worse, that I would forget everything.

But, I was in love with Spanish now, so even though I was living in the United States, I immediately looked for ways to make it a part of my everyday life. To do this, I used mostly media. I watched Spanish speaking movies, I listened to music, I read over fifty books in Spanish, and I met a lot of native Spanish speakers online. I even made a few friends in the area.

I learned A LOT of Spanish without ever leaving my country again, and I really deepened my fluency. After learning Spanish for a few years, and later teaching English in Colombia, I decided that I wanted to go to Brazil and learn Portuguese, but I decided to study (learn Portuguese) before I went.

I started with Brazilian music, movies, listening to podcasts, and meeting Brazilians online. The more I learned about Brazilian culture, the more it inspired me to study the language. I watched movies, like famous City of God, I listened to podcasts and Portuguese lessons in my car, and I met as many Brazilians as I could. I started reading the work of Brazilian author, Paulo Coelho, the Alchemist (in Portuguese).

After 7 months of studying nearly every day, I was able to have a basic conversation, and when I first came to Brazil three years ago, it didn’t take me long to reach fluency. I had reached basic fluency only after a weeks, and I felt pretty proficient after two or three months.

I know my Spanish helped my Portuguese a lot, and I know I was more motivated than most people, but the point of these stories is to demonstrate how you can use pop culture in dynamic, creative ways, and learn English in your real life experiences.

If you want to develop true lifelong English fluency, you’re going to have to learn in an entirely new way, and you’re going to have to- need to use more than just old, traditional methods. In the words of Natalie Portman, who is a Hollywood Actress and graduate from prestigious American University, Harvard:

natalie portman“I don’t love studying. I hate studying. I like learning. Learning is beautiful.”

So, are you studying or learning English?

Even the most successful English learners use traditional methods only to provide a stable base for their real learning, which is something much more powerful for them. So what’s their secret?

They make English a fun and convenient part of their daily life.

Every. Single. Day. Excellence is not a twice a week hobbie. It’s a lifelong passion, a lifestyle, something they fall in love with. It becomes a part of who they are.

Instead of studying the language with a grammar book, you should LIVE your life through the language with TV Series’, Movies, Music, Video Games, Podcasts, Books, the Internet, and even social networks.

For successful language learners, their reason is internal, it’s personal, and connected to who they are.

When you find meaning and value in activities you enjoy, English comes naturally, and you’re more motivated to do it consistently. You can choose to learn because it’s the language of the entertainment, the culture, and the information you choose to consume.

And the most beautiful thing about ENGLISH FOR LIFE, more than just the fact that it’s a fun and effective way to develop fluency, it will also:

  • Save you time and money because sooner or later, because you won’t need to pay for classes because English will be a convenient part of your life.

  • It will help you become a lifelong learner. With daily English contact, the separation between you and English dissolves quicker than you can imagine, and the language will become part of you.

  • It will give you access to the NEWEST and the BEST information on the internet and the world. The QUANTITY and QUALITY of English content is far superior to any other language. This is a treasure for your personal and professional life.

  • With English fluency for life, you don’t need to depend on the local TV or radio for your information. You will cultivate a global perspective and start to feel like a world citizen.

So, what do you need to do to start using English for life? Do a brainstorm of the stuff that you already like in English. Ask yourself these questions.

  • What do you like to do, and how can you start doing it in English?

  • How can you take advantage of technology and use it to bring English into your daily life?

  • What practical steps can you take right now to make English a fun and convenient part of your daily routine?

The most important thing to remember is that we learn best when we have fun, and this is exactly what English for Life is.

To do this, it must be a direct, meaningful and emotional experience. This is not just successful language learning, this is the key to all learning, and it’s supported by a vast amount of neuroscientific research.

right brainTo understand how successful language learning works, let’s take a look at cognitive psychology and the right-left brain research of Dr. Roger Sperry. He won a nobel prize on this topic for his discoveries in the cognitive psychology of effective learners.

The basic idea is that the brain is broken up into two hemispheres, the left and the right, which have completely different ways of thinking.

As illustrated in the drawing, the LEFT brain is more logical and the RIGHT brain is more imaginative. Let’s take a look at some more of these functions:

Left Brain Logic deals with Critical thinking, with Numbers, and Reasoning, Memorization, Sequential Knowledge.

While the Right Brain Imagination deals with Emotions, Music, Body Language, Color, Creativity, Intuition, Spontaneity, Creative Problem Solving, and your experience

Educational psychologists report that optimal learning should start with the right brain, the imagination first, and then use logic to complement the process. The right brain creates meaning, motivation, and the rich context that is necessary for left-brain logic to function properly.

This really helps us understand why 9 out of 10 English learners don’t reach fluency when they study in traditional grammar-focused schools. It’s too logical and dependent on memorization. English courses are doing everything completely backwards.

Left-brain logic does not work if it does not first have right-brain emotional connection. In other words, if you are bored and don’t feel emotionally involved in what you are learning, deep, permanent learning will not happen.

Successful language learners use their right brain imagination as the inspiration to build a base of rich meaningful experience, emotional connection, and intuitive understanding of the language.

These are the insights that inspired my vision for Real Life English, an award-winning English Teaching and Learning Blog, as well as our International community, which has thousands of members from all around the world.

We also organize free international English speaking meetups in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. These events bring together hundreds of people of all English levels to practice their English in its authentic, real life context.

I can’t describe how amazing these meetings are. Those of you who have been to the Real Life English Party know exactly what I’m talking about.

real life guysAs you can see, I’m really proud of what we’ve created. But it’s not just because it’s a cool project and a fun party, or because we have the privilege of meeting so many wonderful people.

I’m so proud of it all because we’re creating a space that helps English learners step outside the classroom and see English for what it really is and what it could be:

  • an authentic experience of the world that we live in.

  • a way to connect with people, ideas and new information.

  • a completely new way of thinking that changes the world and our lives.

So what you can do to step outside of the textbook and fill your life with authentic learning experiences? How can you start to take responsibility for your learning right now, and use the things you already LIKE doing to improve your English every day?

The answers to these questions will provide you with a totally new perspective on your English learning process. This paradigm shift is exactly our goal.

You will start to see English for what it is, how native speakers use it, and you will stop depending on OLD and INEFFECTIVE METHODS.

It will not be easy at first, but the best things in life never are. But it will be natural, and it will motivate you. There will be a sense of freedom, and you will no longer worry about stupid little grammar mistakes, and you will start to have a lot more fun with your process.

This is learning that involves you.

Thank you so much for being here with me today.

In the third part of this video series, Trevor will give you a lot more to think about when he explains:

  • the most important things that OLD METHODS are not teaching you.

  • how natives really speak, and the secret to understanding us.

  • And the truth about grammar: how much you should, or shouldn’t focus on this.

I had a lot of fun sharing with you guys today. Thank you so much for your support and enthusiasm. Take care! See you guys soon.

Download Free Audio/Podcast of this Lesson:

Revolutionary Insights

  • Ethan Zinho says:

    Wooo cool Justin!

  • Rawda Essam says:

    I really enjoyed watching the second mini course. Thank you Justin for sharing this with us, it was super duper useful. But it is kinda hard to pronounce ” the Taoist philosopher, Lao Tzu ” hihi.
    Real life English is really helping me in a big way, thank you thank you.

    • Justin says:

      Thank YOU Rawda for your nice comment and your support. Yeah, Lao Tzu isn’t really phonetic in its pronunciation, but he’s got a lot of wisdom! Great to hear from you. You’re helping us in a big way too. Take care.

  • Claudio Santos says:

    It’ s right, Justin. Everything we do with passion, we do it better.
    I have been studying English since I was a child and I really love it, although I’m not fluent.
    Keep on your pleasure giving us the real joyful way of learning English.
    Best regards,

  • Marilene Potenza says:

    I'm thinking of going to a native country english, who knows I could speak as well as you. Your accent is fantastic, I loved it. I need help in talking to other people so I'm waiting for your help. thanks a lot.

    • Hey Marilene, Thanks for your nice comment. Well, I am a native speaker, so I guess it's not that impressive. I'm glad you're liking the RLE mini-course!

  • Adan Orea Cruz says:

    Aun recuerdo hermano tu proceso de aprendizaje en espanol, y como veia tu progreso y como los amigos alrededor se sorprendian de lo rapido que progresabas en tu fluidez y me the mucho gusto ahora ver como vas consolidando y compartiendo con el mundo todo este proceso, muchas felicidades Justin Murray.

    • Que tal tu vida amigo? Hace mucho que no sé nada de ti. Como estan todos por allla? Gracias por el cumplido. I hope you're doing well my brotha! Abrazote!

  • David Brnak says:

    what a great article! wow, you added the audio also, so we can listen to this anytime anywhere, thanks! :)))

    • David, I really appreciate your comment. That was cool to see. Keep up the awesome job with your English too!

  • Aline says:

    Hi RLE! I’m very impressed how passionate you guys are in helping and teaching people to reach their goals, in this case learn English. Just wanna say something, keep up the great work! Welcome to Brazil…. Would be interesting you finish your videos speaking some words in Portuguese! =)

    • Justin says:

      Hey Aline, Thanks for the nice comment. Here’s a link to our podcasts page. Chad and I did a couple of Portuguese/English ones (see in the middle of the page) that talk about words you can’t translate from Portuguese to English. Let me know what you think!

  • Obrigado Marizete! Agradeço o comentario. That's great that you're learning!

  • I Liked your idea, I study English everyday, but I need to learn english.
    thank so mulch for send me the best way to learn English.

  • Justin, I am an English learner, thank you for told us a different way to learning English. 🙂 From now, I'm starting to learn English, not to study English in OLD way. 🙂

  • John Keithly says:

    Maybe not so much hand waving? It can be distracting. You could also remake your video with a green background and then use color keying to next add some photos of yourself and others enjoying life in a Latino setting. I think it might improve the quality of your overall presentation. Just a couple thoughts… Good luck!

  • Rubens Brandão says:

    thank you very much Justin and congratulations for the excelent job you're doing. I'm really very excited and motivated to improve my english in this new way to learn not to study.
    I'm wating the opportunity to participate in some on-line classes, when I would have the chance to speak and correct the pronunciation.
    Looking foward to hear you soon.

    Rubens Brandão – São Paulo

  • Alicia Candiano says:

    Congratulation for your excellent job!!!

  • Gertraud Müller says:

    Thanks for your exellent way to teach and help us with English. I agree with you, don’t stuck on the old way of learning a language. There are so many interesting possibilities, reading books, talking to people on skype and make new friends. Learn English with Real Life , thats fun 🙂

    • Justin says:

      Thanks for your comment, Gertraud, and your feedback. It sounds like you have a great approach to learning!

  • i don't know how to thank u guys,u have the most helpful videos ever.

    • Justin says:

      I’m glad it’s helpful!

  • I'm one of those who are frustrated I truly am. You can not imagine the efforts I put just to reach the level of fluency I've always aimed, but still I fell as if nothing work. I surrounded myself with English books and English music. I even write my office note in English but it feels as though I'm still in the first step in that 1000 miles journey.

    Perhaps the reason is the lack of using English in my verbal communication. You may find me write well, but when English reach a verbal communication I get totally lost and hesitant uttering words or recalling them!

    but I've not given up yet. :-))