What’s it like to work with a listening teacher in a group programme?

Does a “group programme” sound a little scary or intimidating to you?

Do you imagine

  • Comparisonitis – “uggh, everyone understands this stuff so much better than me”?
  • Awkward introductions – “oh no, I’ll have to introduce myself”?
  • Doing all the work for someone else?
  • Domination by the same people?

Then read on.

Group work with me is different.

It’s about

  • Collaboration – working together to create something bigger and better than what we can manage alone
  • Connection – realising we all have the same struggles and helping each other to overcome them
  • Community – building a community of subtitle freedom fighters who continue collaborating and connecting even after the programme is over.

I created my group programme, Subtitle Freedom Fighters, because around the world, advanced speakers of English are beating themselves up for not understanding movies and series without the subtitles.

But you’re not alone. We all (including native speakers sometimes) struggle with the same things.

Come meet your tribe and work together to free yourselves from subtitles.

More terrifying than a horror film: group work

Bleh, group work. If you’re an introvert and an overachiever you feel that tightening in your stomach and throat when you think back to group work at school and university.

It meant you doing almost all the work to ensure that you got your usual good grade. In the process of course, the people who did nothing or who plagiarised their work get the same mark.

Me, bitter? Not a chance.

In language learning, when you hear “group work”, you imagine a bunch of people round a table with the teacher at the front attempting to get a discussion going. It turns into a monologue when that one guy who always puts his hand up dominates the conversation.

Everyone else just sits there listening awkwardly.

A group work experience with me has nothing to do with these “horror film” scenarios.

Ditch the awkwardness

Listen, I’m not going to force you into any awkward group chats if you don’t want that. Video chats are awkward because you can’t hide. And besides, that sounds like far too much of a logistical nightmare for me to deal with.

You also won’t have to get up in front of the rest of the class to give a presentation or share your work in any way. I’m not going to make you go on Facebook live to introduce yourself in the group.

Why not? Well I’m the one who’s going to initiate this stuff. Because I don’t actually mind.

Cara the broadcaster

Even though I’m an introvert and I hate things like small talk. To the extent of avoiding people in the street so I don’t have to have an awkward conversations. Yup, I’m an awful person.

But I love broadcasting. When I was younger I wanted to be a TV presenter or even better, a DJ on the radio. I love music and I love talking into a mic. Let’s be honest here: I love the sound of my own voice.

That’s why online teaching is so awesome. I’ve created my own sort of broadcasting network with my podcast, blogcast, facebook live etc.

I don’t find any of these media off putting or intimidating.

Also, as a big sister and first child of the family, I step into leadership roles. So during school group work, I not only did a lot of the work, but also a lot of the organising. Not the delegating though obviously. Too much of a control freak!

So what you can expect during Subtitle Freedom Fighters is that I’ll be jumping into our Facebook group to keep things animated with updates and live video.

Especially if I see the same questions or comments coming up a lot.

So that means you just need to write about what you’re struggling with. Or finding easy. I know you won’t but you can totally brag, it’s fine.

That’s the only concession to your introversion you need to make.

You can also email me. That’s how I’m going to share the work with you and I’m just an inbox away if you don’t want to share your thoughts in public.

Keeping things introvert friendly

So I’m not going to do any live video group chats with you.

I don’t expect you to do Facebook live in my group.

I’ll be creating threads for you to ask questions and get feedback. Again, you don’t need to initiate if you don’t feel comfortable with that.

And don’t forget that you’ll spend plenty of time on your own doing the work. Each week, you’ll work on a clip from the chosen film.

So you’ll be in front of a laptop by yourself

  • Familiarising yourself with the clip and rating your understanding
  • Doing dictations or correcting bad subtitles to determine difficulties
  • Watching with and without the subtitles
  • Watching my feedback on the tricky bits
  • Completing a Memrise course to learn the new vocab
  • Reflecting on your work and progress

I won’t correct your work. But this is where the group comes in. You can find out how the others are doing. Not to compare yourself, but to share your struggles and wins and get support.

Like I said, you’re not special. If you’re struggling to catch a bit of dialogue, chances are the others in the group didn’t catch it either.

If you’re lost because the clip is a bit too “American” for you then no doubt your fellow subtitle freedom fighters are struggling too.

I’ll initiate the discussion about each clip. You just need to jump in and let me know how you’re doing so I can help. Or celebrate your successes with you.

Become a subtitle freedom fighter

If you want my support and that of a group of like-minded subtitle freedom fighters, then join us for Subtitle Freedom Fighters.

I’ve got 10 spots available and the deadline for enrollment is Friday October 13th at midnight.

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