Learn with us in our conversation with Aussie English learning
Pete Smissen presents Aussie English learning.
He’s the host of Aussie English, an online English learning platform with podcasts and a YouTube channel.
Do you feel you are an influencer or a Youtuber?
I don’t think I get enough feedback from students to know that.
I think that I am affecting people’s lives for the better and trying to help them overcome the barriers that they have with arriving in Australia.
But I would never call myself an influencer or a YouTuber; it just so happens that what I do involves YouTube and hopefully end up influencing people.
What does language mean to you?
So, it means receiving and understanding the message from other people.
That’s why I fell in love with language learning. I love learning different nuances in another language and understanding other cultures.
What’s the difference between communication in Aussie English or American English, or British English?
It is 99 % the same thing, but I think certain things allow you to connect more with speakers in that language once you understand Australian slang and use it correctly in the right instances.
If you’re thinking of migrating to London, it makes more sense to try specific dialects of English.
If you’ve learned a lot of American slang and get off the plane in London, it’s not going to help you.
It’s probably going to create some more confusion.
Aussie English learning
What are the benefits of teaching English through social media?
I think the thing with social media is everybody is there.
And how you can reach them is through those platforms.
People are moving a lot away from analog styles of learning.
They are using books a little less, and they spend less time in the classroom than they spend online.
But also, there is another side to it: advertising because all of the guys can advertise.
Do you believe the online platforms are better than “old school” with books?
It depends on the person and what they like doing, so I enjoy learning from time to time online using a lot of apps.
But I haven’t moved on solely digital because I like to write about things.
So I don’t think we’re going ever to give that up because there’s some physical, tactile sense.
I think they’re both will always be there.
Do you think teaching English with a textbook and no communication is a good way to learn a language?
I think that the focus is moving towards communication-based teaching of languages because, ultimately, we’re not there to get grammar correct.
So I hope people are moving away from that, especially in the classroom.
For example, I could have a small conversation in French, and people understand me, so why am I getting zero in my score?
So I’m much more about teaching English communication-based and on the way that will people speak, and that’s why I think with my podcast, at least I tried to avoid scripting and out word-by-word because I want to use ordinary things people say.
How do you decide on the topics?
I make it up as I go along, so the good thing is in any language, that’s pretty much an endless number of expressions in that language.
So, anyone who knows me, I base many of my episodes on an English expression. And then, I try to add cultural things, history, or whatever related to an Australian expression.
Aussie English learning
Do you sometimes talk about topic students ask you?
The best thing about social media is getting constant contact with the audience.
I try to create videos about answering the same thing many people ask me.
The good side of social media is people get in contact with you.
That’s important with the internet today, you can keep close contact with your audience, and I think you need to do that if you want to keep growing and help them.
How do you imagine teaching English in the future?
I have a sneaking suspicion that eventually ends up with glasses, at least in the short term.
In the next ten years or so, we’ll be able to watch YouTube while walking.
So, we don’t have to hold something up. I’ll be right there.
I can imagine that the barrier between phone and brain will get reduced more and more whether we end up with some chips that transmit things more directly.
Would you like to add something we did not ask you?
Regarding podcasting, I think it’s going to keep running because you can use a lot of what was previously dead time, for example, when you are on public transport or walking.
Now you can use that time to start leveling up your life, whether you’re learning about yoga, meditation, language…whatever it is.
So people learn so much more in times or situations where previously they couldn’t.
English students to become people learning on their own who no longer go to classes or no longer need really expensive courses.