Lindsay McMahon is the co-founder of All Ears English, a podcast and site dedicated to helping people learn natural English in a fun, relaxed way by focusing on “connection, not perfection.” The show, co-hosted by Lindsay (“The English Adventurer”), Michelle Kaplan (“The New York Radio Girl”), and Jessica Beck (“The Examiner of Excellence”), is ranked in the Top 20 Most Downloaded podcasts in Japan, Korea, China, and Brazil, and has been downloaded more than 50 million times!
In the interview, we discuss:
- How living with an 18-year-old French exchange student at age 10 sparked Lindsay’s passion for foreign languages.
- Lindsay’s experience living and learning abroad after university, including her life changing 1.5 years in Tokyo.
- How Lindsay got certified in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).
- The pros and cons of living in rural or urban areas while abroad.
- How to prepare for standardized tests (e.g. the JLPT, IELTS, TOEFL, etc.) so that you actually learn how to communicate at the same time.
- The most common mistakes that English learners make and how to overcome them.
- Why there is no “best” dialect of English and how to choose the right one for your needs.
- How to stay focused on connection and communication instead of mistakes.
- How to lower the “affective filter” (psychological blocks to understanding and producing the language).
- The critical cultural difference between doing business in Japan and the U.S.
- The most common mistakes Japanese learners of English make.
- The problems with linguistic interference and direct translation.
- Why language “immersion” is superior to language “learning.”
- What Lindsay has changed her mind about in the last few years.
- How Lindsay prioritizes her life, work, learning, etc.
- Where she sees All Ears English in five years.
- Lindsay’s favorite ESL resources, apps, and online tools.
- The importance of moving on to authentic content instead of only sticking with learner content.
- The power of having an “internal locus of control” and how beliefs about control and choice vary culture to culture.
- Lindsay’s future travel plans and why she plans to continue traveling throughout her life.
- Why you need to keep your eye on what matters.
“When you pick up a book or a podcast, remember why you’re learning. You are not learning English to learn English. You are learning to connect.” —Lindsay McMahon
Resources, Concepts & People Mentioned
- Dave Barry: “Americans who travel abroad for the first time are often shocked to discover that, despite all the progress that has been made in the last 30 years, many foreign people still speak in foreign languages.”
- JET Program
- JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test)
- The Affective Filter
- Stephen Krashen
- Guānxi (關係, 关系)
- Linguistic Interference
- The Eisenhower Method for Time Management
- The Daily Podcast from The New York Times
- Locus of control