Listen to a story about why I stopped making podcast episodes!
You’ll also learn how to how to sound more confident when you are speaking English!
Welcome to the English Teacher Melanie Podcast, a podcast for intermediate to advanced English learners who want to improve their English listening and speaking skills!
Each episode includes a story and a pronunciation tip. In the story, I use core vocabulary, the most common words in English, to tell a real world story. The pronunciation tip will help you understand natural spoken English.
You’ll hear the story twice. The first time, the story is a little slower than normal. It sounds funny because I used editing software to change the speed of the story and make it slower. After the pronunciation tip, you’ll hear the story again, but at a regular speed.
(This story was originally published in 2013.)
Did you know this podcast actually started in the summer of 2010? The English Teacher Melanie website was less than a year old and I was experimenting with different lessons. I had spent a lot of time on Twitter & Facebook talking to English learners, and I learned that there weren’t a lot of quality listening resources available for students. I also learned that people really liked Canada even though they didn’t know a lot about it. I realized I could help learners improve their listening by telling stories about life in Canada.
Listen: Behind the Scenes | Episode 29
In theory, the procedure for making a podcast was simple: Each week I wrote a short story and a pronunciation lesson. I already had a professional microphone that I was using to make videos, and this microphone was highly recommended for podcasting, too, so I just plugged it into my laptop. I set up my laptop in the quietest room in the house & recorded the entire lesson. I edited the .mp3 file, and uploaded it. In practice, it was not this simple.
It turned out that my microphone was the WORST microphone to use for podcasting. It picked up every single sound in the background. If you had listened carefully to some of the old episodes, you could hear birds chirping outside, cars going by, the fan on my laptop, even my mouth opening & closing. I tried everything I could think of to create a soundproof environment, but nothing worked! I even sat in a walk-in closet, but if someone was watching TV in the room below, the microphone picked that up, too.
It would take hours to edit out all the background noise. After 29 episodes, I finally threw in the towel. I didn’t want to abandon the podcast, because there had been such a positive response to it. I just needed to find an easier way of doing it! I did a lot of research, and found a better microphone, better recording equipment, and better editing software. Producing an episode is much easier now.
My goal is to help you understand natural spoken English. I want this podcast to be an important part of your English studies, so I’m looking forward to hearing from you about the new episodes!
There’s one simple thing you can do to help you sound more confident speaking English, even when you don’t feel confident.
It’s really easy.
Make sure your voice goes down at the end of a sentence.
It’s called “falling pitch” or “falling intonation.”
When you’re voice goes up at the end of a sentence, it sounds like you’re really unsure of what your saying. It sounds like you’re asking a question. [NOTE: I say these sentences with my voice going up at the end as an example of rising pitch/rising intonation.]
When you voice goes down at the end of a thought or a sentence, you sound much more confident.
Listen to the story again, and listen to how my voice goes down at the end of a sentence.