DevExps Forum

Chapter 22: English Connects You With The World


Think about why you are studying English. Chances are it has something to do with communicating or connecting with other people. English conversation is about connection. That is the purpose of English conversation – to connect with people around the world. We want to connect personally and emotionally. We want to connect with business partners, clients, and customers. We want to connect with professional peers. We want to connect with new friends.

In short, you need a community to use English. As a learner, it's especially useful to join a community of other English learners in order to practice and improve. The kind of community you join, however, is very important.

Your peer group has a strong effect upon your ultimate success. A "peer group" is simply a group of people who are interconnected with each other. Your friends are a peer group. Your family is another peer group. If you join an English class in a school, your classmates become your peer group. When you join an online community of English learners, they become your peer group.

Peer groups influence their members because, as a group, they share and promote certain values and behaviors. The group as a whole has certain standards and every member of the group is pulled towards those standards. This group effect can produce powerful positive or negative results.

A negative peer group is one with generally low standards. These groups are typically characterized by frequent criticism, focus on errors, complaints, and even insults among members. Such a group tends to pull down its members, discouraging and distracting them from success. Sadly, such groups are especially common in schools and online – the two most common English learning environments.

You want a peer group to pull you up. You want to join a group that encourages you, that feeds you positive thoughts, that interests and entertains you. You want a group that will boost you when you are struggling, and celebrate when you are successful.

Peer groups create spirals, either upward or downward. Through their shared interactions, standards, and values, peer group communities exert ever-increasing influence upon you. Participation in a toxic peer group will eventually erode your confidence, no matter how strong you are. On the positive side, an inspiring peer group will empower you to improve, grow, and achieve tremendous success, even if you now feel hopeless.

Choose carefully. When considering a class or online English community, research it thoroughly. Notice how the members interact with each other. When a member is successful, are they celebrated, or do other members gossip jealously? When a community member struggles, do other members jump in to encourage and help them, or are they ignored?

While it seems obvious, many students forget the ultimate reason they are learning. In traditional English conversation classes, it's easy to get too focused on tests, textbooks, grades, and "levels." After a while, you as a student are so worried about these artificial measurements that you forget your ultimate purpose for the study.

At the deepest level, English conversation is about the international community- building and sustaining meaningful connections between people. What kind of people do you want in your English speaking community?

One of my ongoing goals is to use our seminars and courses and online groups as a way to create strong international communities. I want to help people connect and communicate in positive and meaningful ways – and help them stay connected. One way you can do this is through our member forums and conversation clubs. They're designed to allow you to interact and ask questions of other students who are learning English just like you.

I also want you to always keep in mind why you are studying English in the first place. Forget grades, tests, and worrying about mistakes or how you might sound to others. Just focus on communicating and trying to connect with positive people. Surround yourself with enthusiastic people who love speaking English.

The more you connect with people who are excited about English, the more excited you will become. Enthusiasm is contagious! So is negativity. Choose your peer group wisely.


When learning anything, especially when learning English, it's important to have a community – a club of other enthusiastic learners. This is why people continue to go to schools, even though they know the schools' methods are terrible. People want a community. They want to join with other people. They want the increased motivation, support, and inspiration that a good community can provide.

This is why our website is called the Effortless English Club ( Effortless English is more than great courses – it's also a community of very positive and enthusiastic learners. In fact, we are very careful about membership in our community. We only accept the most motivated – English learners who are very positive and enthusiastic.

We monitor our club quite closely, and we have zero tolerance for the negative, insulting, or childish behavior usually seen in internet communities. On most internet forums, for example, you find a massive amount of insults and arguing. We don't allow that. Such members are quickly and decisively eliminated from the club and are never allowed to re-join.

Yes, this is a tough policy. But it is necessary. It can be difficult to create a great international learning club online. And I admit – I am not interested in accepting and tolerating everyone. My goal is to create an international English learning club of only the most positive learners. I want the most enthusiastic, the most supportive, the friendliest, the most energetic members in the world... and that, in fact, is exactly what we have.

The members of the Effortless English Club are absolutely amazing. The level of enthusiasm and friendliness is tremendous. New members are always very happy to discover such a fun and supportive learning club. We have many super members who will answer your questions, give you learning advice, encourage you when you feel discouraged, and inspire you with their success.

We made that community even stronger when we launched our new VIP Program. For us, VIP stands for Vision, Inspiration, Persistence... a monthly membership site where the most dedicated members meet... and get new lessons from me every month. All lessons have video, audio, and text, so you can understand everything... but more importantly, the lessons focus on three powerful topics: Advanced Learning Strategies, The Psychology of Success, and Positive Leadership.

The VIP Member Program focuses not only on English but also on Learning and Success in general. This is a place where our most motivated students (the top 1 percent) meet and learn together – a powerful club and community of the Best of the Best. They are the best not because of their starting English ability, but because of their positive attitudes, persistence, and devotion to learning.

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:: AJ Hoge teacher





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