Chatterbox #181 – Interview with Henry from Spoken

In today’s episode, Andrew interviews Henry, an English teacher who has developed a new English learning tool—Spoken. Join us to discover this exciting new way to learn and practise English for real-life professional and business settings.


Expressions included in the learning materials

  • To plug into [something]
  • To stick to [something]
  • To get the most out of [something]
  • 100 percent
  • Real life/real-life

Sample transcript

Andrew:             Hi Henry. Welcome to the Culips podcast.

Henry:                Thank you, Andrew. It’s great to be on. Thank you for having me.

Andrew:             Hey, no problem. So we’ve got you on the podcast today to talk about your app, Spoken. But just before we get into that, I was hoping that you could tell us a little bit about yourself. You know, where are you from, what you do, that sort of thing.

Henry:                Yeah, absolutely. Happy to. I’m originally from Baltimore, Maryland. That’s about 40 minutes northeast of Washington, DC. And I went down to college in North Carolina, at a small school called Davidson College, where I was an English major. And from there, I finished, and as an English major, I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do.

Andrew:             Mmhmm.  And I ended up going over to China with a friend to teach English at a college in Jiangxi Province.

Andrew:             OK.

Henry:                Which is inland and in the south of China.

Andrew:             OK.

Henry:                And there I was teaching Chinese college students, who were learning business English. And that was a great year for me. I really enjoyed teaching, and I really enjoyed also trying to learn some Mandarin. And I enjoyed the challenges of teaching English.

Andrew:             Yeah, it’s a big challenge, isn’t it? In a foreign country where you’re not too comfortable with the language. It can be difficult.

Henry:                That’s very true. And you know, I learned a lot because I had to try to learn the language, being immersed in an environment where there were not many native speakers of English. So I needed to try to learn Mandarin.  And I think my own experiences there helped me teach English to Mandarin speakers trying to learn English.

Andrew:             Right. It’s really important, I think, as an English teacher to have that perspective of your students, right, of trying to learn a foreign language. Because if you don’t know that struggle, then it’s hard to connect with your students, I think.

Henry:                I think that’s very true. And the nice thing was my students also recognized that I was trying to learn, and sometimes they would teach me just as much as I would teach them.

Andrew:             Yeah, so true. It happens that way for sure.

Henry:                Yeah. And after that year, I became more and more interested in language learning and instruction, and I came back to the United States and got a graduate degree, a master’s degree in linguistics.

Andrew:             OK.

Henry:                Which is the study of language. And it’s not something you hear of every day. It’s not a very, very common master’s degree to get, but for me, it was a field of study I really liked and was passionate about. And after earning that degree, I continued to teach English, this time in the United States.

Andrew:             OK.

Henry:                And from there, I spent a few years teaching English, and I got interested in education technology.

Andrew:             Education technology. What is that?

Henry:                Using technology to help people learn or help teachers teach.

Visit the Spoken website