LEP on ZEP – My recent interview on Zdenek’s English Podcast

Hello email subscribers and website users! This is not an episode of LEP but keep reading because I have 5 cool things to share with you (below).

In this post you will find 5 episodes of a podcast. It’s not my podcast but I am featured in the episodes.

It’s a 5-part series of interviews between English teacher Zdenek Lukas and me on his podcast, “Zdenek’s English Podcast”, including 2 episodes of language analysis. You’ll hear lots of conversation between us about teaching, learning and behind-the-scenes information about Luke’s English Podcast. Also in the language analysis episodes Zdenek will help you pick up 50 features of English grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation from the interview.

You can listen to and download the episodes below.

Part 1

We discuss our experiences of taking the Cambridge DELTA qualification (it’s seriously challenging!) and then we try to break the commonly-believed stereotype of a native speaker teacher of English being superior to a non-native one.

[DOWNLOAD PART 1]

Part 2

In part 2 we talk about each other’s podcasts and I give some behind the scenes information about some popular episodes of LEP, including some stories about the episodes Sick in Japan, Travelling in Indonesia and California Road Trip. At the end, we also talk about our experiences of teaching English for specific purposes, namely business English and English for engineering.

[DOWNLOAD PART 2]

Part 3

In this part you can hear us talk about what we both like teaching the most in classrooms, some of my favourite teaching techniques, what it was like recording Pink Gorilla Story 1 & 2, and also what episodes I enjoy doing the most on the podcast. Also, you can find out more about the secret of Paul Taylor’s success and what it would take to do a live LEP meet-up with listeners.

[DOWNLOAD PART 3]

Part 4 – Language analysis

Zdenek picks out 25 features of grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation for analysis. He applies his knowledge of linguistic features of English to clarify meaning, highlight usefulness, correct some of his own errors and help you to avoid common mistakes.

[DOWNLOAD PART 4]

Part 5 – Language analysis

Zdenek picks out 25 more features of grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation for analysis and gives them the teacher treatment.

[DOWNLOAD PART 5]

About Zdenek Lukas…

I’m really impressed by what Zdenek is achieving with his English as a second language.

He’s from Czech Republic and he has learned English as a second language in adulthood. He’s now a teacher of English, just like me and he does his own podcast, just like me.

He has a masters degree in English language teaching. He’s got a CELTA and DELTA (pending) in English teaching to adults. He’s really well qualified.

Also, he’s been doing Zdenek’s English Podcast for years and it’s still going. Admittedly he says the podcast is influenced by my podcast, and I’m ok with that. It’s his way of pushing his English and it seems to be working for him.

You’ll hear in our interview that Zdenek has just passed a significant part of his DELTA qualification with a really good grade. That is not easy to do. You need to be a good teacher to get a good result in your DELTA and you really need to know about grammar and linguistics.

So, don’t underestimate Zdenek. He’s achieved a hell of a lot, just like many of you have also achieved a lot in your language learning. Sometimes it’s worth taking a step back and realising how much you’ve achieved.

I was very happy to be interviewed by him and I really hope you listen to the episodes, and in fact check out his other episodes too. A lot of them contain interviews with other interesting people, many of them English people he knows. Other episodes cover Zdenek’s personal journey with English and also you can hear him interacting with his students too.

You’ll find links to Zdenek’s English Podcast here on this page. www.audioboom.com/channel/zdeneks-english-podcast

Zdenek has an FB group where he communicates with his listeners. Here’s the link www.facebook.com/groups/zdeneksenglishpodcast/

But you can also leave comments here and I’m sure that Zdenek will read them at some point.

Cheers,

Luke

  • Muhiddin

    Hello Luke! I’m Muhiddin. I’m from Uzbekistan. It’s very useful podcast as others. I liked it. Thank you! It is the first time I’m commenting. It’s been more than a year that I’m listening to your podcasts. You have plenty listeners in Uzbekistan too!

  • Cat

    Back in my country, the language teachers used to be always females. Also my fellow students of foreign languages were mostly female too (around 99 %).

    But here you are — male teachers only! Andy, Ben, Carrick — the list goes on all the way through the alphabet down to Z for Zdenek.

    Luke, do you have female language teachers friends too? More female voices, please! (sorry, I’m repeating myself) ;-)

  • Cat

    Luke, the terrific trio episodes of you are unique!!! You are on your best there, radiating with energy and creativity. All three of you trigger something great in each other. You’re extremely lucky to have each other. :)

    • I know, the combination is good isn’t it? I always enjoy having the three of us on the podcast together and it always ends up sounding better than I expected.

      • Cat

        Luke, how it’s correct: You’re on your best. Or: You’re at your best? Something tells me that the second one sounds better. :)

      • I would go for number two, too.

  • Cat

    Which video do you mean, Luke? :)

    • Oops! I originally meant to post a video with this, and then didn’t, but I forgot to edit the text!
      I’ll edit it now.

      • Cat

        Okay :))

  • Cat

    Zdenek, I’ve only listened to one episode with you and Luke. You sound quite similar! You have a lovely voice too! Congrats!!!
    Looking forward to continuing…
    Cheers!

    • Cat, if you keep saying that, it’ll soon go to my head :) I’m glad you liked it.

      • Cat

        So, where are your listeners (ZEPpers) mainly from?

      • Here is “top 15” for the past year. I can’t believe that my country is now called Czechia. Nobody says that here.

        uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bd50d53443f13d74e257eb215bc5637bd4a690d20b6a2823524146e36b39c536.jpg

      • sorry for misspelling that

      • And this is for the past week just for comparison. Obviously it is heavily influenced by Luke’s post on his website. It only goes on to show that Luke has a lot of Russian as well as Chinese listeners. uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b775bf64d65b72675d6f32e3c34cb06728773144fff111c08fd6e96d49cd705a.jpg

      • Nick

        The US on the second place…hm

      • Yeah….weird

      • Cat

        There are lots of Chinese students too :)

      • Cat

        Wow! So many countries!!!

        I was wondering who your students are (in your normal classes)? Are these all people coming to study in Czech Republic?

        I’ve just checked your website on audioboom and I’m impressed with the variety of topics and the cool pictures for the episodes! :))

        I think I’m becoming a ZEPper already! ;-)

      • Well sometimes, you will just have to take certain episodes with a pinch of salt. I was either drunk or not that prepared, but some should be alright. If you want, I can give you some tips on more popular episodes. Let me know.

        As for the students, there is a school in my town for foreigners who have come here to study Czech for one year and who are applying to Czech universities. But ironically, I teach them English. So I have been working there a bit for 5 years, but not full-time sadly. I always wanted a proper contract but it’s kind of complicated there.
        This year I have some students from Russian speaking countries (Russia, Ukraine, Kazachstan, Moldava, I have one group from the Middle East (Syria, Jordan, UAE, Iran), large group of Chinese students and then another smaller group where I teach English of engineering. And then I have some private classes with Czech students (individuals or in companies), too. I will publish some more episodes later some of the students I mentioned.

      • Cat

        Drunk? Shocking!!! :))
        Maybe I just put it on the double speed — then you’ll sound sober again… :))
        So what episodes what you recommend?

      • Depends on what you are interested in. There are loads with native speakers (including some more with Luke), there are some more serious ones (like with Kevin, Claire or with pastor Bill), very lighthearted and completely improrvised ones with my cousin called Road to Civilisation, then there are plenty of episodes with my students, some people like the DELTA series (but it is just me talking), then you have some very bizarre episodes such as Conditional Rant, Referee and the Ball, Poem to Sandgirl and Graduation Story, there was also a competition which involved me talking to a lot of Zepsters, some people like the episode Random Guy from Train, dunno, suit yourself. Also, come to the Facebook group :)

      • Cat

        Ah, thanks! Oh, you call them Zepsters, do you?
        Bill the pastor sounds interesting — Luke didn’t invite a pastor yet. :))
        Btw, your videos look good! Camera loves you. ;)
        Cheers
        Cat

      • Dammit, did I just shoot myself in the leg there?! Zeppers, they are Zeppers :D Yeah, well religion is not the best topic to talk about. People have very strong opinions about it. But this is more about Bill as a person, nobody is convincing anyone about anything.

      • Cat

        You definitely did! :-)

      • Cat

        I’ve just realised that your name is written “Zdeněk”.
        And that your last name looks like “Luke’s” :)
        As I first saw “Zdenek_Lukas” on the bottom of the logo I thought it meant Zdenek in interview with Luke. Then as I went to your Audioboom’s website, I realised that each episode has this signature. :))
        So, I actually captured just the part of your signature and my brain completed it as “Zdenek in interview with Luke”. Weird, isn’t it?

      • :)

  • Agnes

    Hi Luke, Hi Zdenek!

    I’ve been listening to the part 1 today while jogging, first of all I wanted to check out whether it works for me (I prefer to run without earphones really enjoying the nature and singing birds but today there were none) – listening while running – and it blew my mind how pleasurable was listening to both of you!

    There are lots of useful tips for learners and teachers:-) and I’m absolutely impressed by Zdenek’s level of English and that he took DELTA, wow, I knew that earlier but in my opinion doing that kind of training course is fairly demanding for non native speakers, really. Zdenek you are speaking like a native speaker doing the rhythm of language like a native, doing pauses like a native, for me – you are a role model:-)

    Obviously I am going to listen to the rest of episodes fairly quickly:-)

    cheers

    • Jack

      you have totally nailed down the intonation patterns Zdenek bruv – just laavly

      If you can call someone native level its Zdenek Lukas – remember the name.

      • Yeah, well I guess my intonation patterns, word stress and pronunciation in general are not that bad and I think, having listened to every single episode of LEP at least once, I owe Luke for that. Grammar isn’t an issue, either most of the time. It’s the vocabulary that sometimes doesn’t come out as quickly as I would like it to be, or it doesn’t come out at all, which I feel sometimes holds me back. Thanks for your encouraging messages. I am glad you seem to seem to be enjoying what we recorded.

      • Jack

        and you speak with an almost native like accent with slight tinge of your native accent

      • Cat

        I remember as a child I was like a sponge — absorbing each new word very quickly and keeping it in mind without much effort. With age, this ability fades away a bit… :)

      • Agnes

        that’s why I regret not learning languages in my childhood, as you said Cat our memory is a bit rusty, words fade away…
        but you know what? Sport activities and just learning build neurons in our brains and it prevents us from dementia.

        Let’s keep doing that!!!

        have a nice day

      • Cat

        Oh, Agnes, thank you for encouraging words! :))

      • Agnes

        you’re welcome Cat!

    • I think I might have a slight advantage over some people because, being a teacher, I do speak English a lot. Although I still believe that the best thing to do (besides living abroad of course) is to get a girlfriend/boyfriend whose level of English is c1-c2, doesn’t need to be a native. Anyone up for a date? Hahahahha

      • Cat

        Yes, it’s all about the personal benefit if it comes to the right motivation. Love is a super strong motivator. :))

      • Agnes

        Hi Zdenek,

        You’re a lucky guy speaking to others as an English teacher. I wish I could do the same in the future, I mean talking to adult students, I know this is the huge difference between teaching kids and higher level students.

        Anyway, nice offer, that’s a pity, I’m already taken (I don’t know whether this is a good phrase:)) but I wish you all the best in this matter:-))

        By the way do you use Italki for teaching purposes? You know it would be great to gain some knowledge from a high skill person :-)) I know also you probably have a lot on, but who knows:-)

        best

      • Yeah “I’m taken” sounds good to me.

        I don’t use italkie. A lot of my free time activities are done on a computer and I think becoming an Italkie teacher on top of that would probably drain me. Besides I prefer face-to-face teaching because it’s more genuine. But never say never, I could try when I have less work I guess. I wonder if some people would go for a non-native English teacher.

      • Agnes

        I think people would go for a non native English teacher if they knew the level of English of this person. If she or he is good. If I were looking for a teacher I would probably choose you, after listening yours episodes, now I know that you are a high skilled and qualified to teach others:-) For me it would be an advert or something like that.
        One of friends of mine teaches through the internet, she is not a native speaker, moreover she uses TPRS method, storytelling, and she is doing it well. In fact she lives in a Russian speaking country and teaches locals, but she is successful and doesn’t think of doing a traditional teaching in school or something. So I think, teaching through the internet makes a world difference.
        I’m curious how long have you been teaching, in episode you’re mentioning that you’d lived in London, but it was for learning purposes?
        Thank you in advance

      • Not really. It was about 11 years ago. I lived in Finsbury Park area (North London) and worked in Romford on a construction site (a lot of Cockneys around). But I didn’t really study much there at the time. I stayed for about 17 months and then came back to my country because as someone who had studied at an equivalent of what they call a “grammar school” in England, I had always wanted to enter university and it would have been too expensive in England.

        In London I’d realised that I needed to connect my future with English language (I fell in love with it in and made a lot of progress) so I went to the university of Pardubice where I studied English teaching. I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed my studies, graduated smoothly (in 2011) and before you know it, I became an English teacher.

        You are saying very nice things about me but like most of the teachers, I have my weaknesses, too. My biggest strengths as a teacher are arguably my language expertise and a motivating attitude. I hope that comes through in the language analysis. Also, I just want to point out that as someone who has got a Master’s degree in this and now 2/3 of the DELTA, you learn to appreciate what Luke has built here. It’s logical, well justified, innovative, motivating, funny, Luke teaches the language in context, the list goes on and on really. If I was to draw an analogy, It feel like high (epic) fantasy compared to ordinary fantasy.

        BTW, I tried to make a video. Let me know what you think and whether I should do some more. www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1_BbIyT-kg&lc=z121j5qg0vyvztrlf23hy32hexj2ibyyf04

      • Agnes

        Hi Zdenek!

        O wow, great video. You know what, this is a good idea and I am going to follow your videos!

        You have a great experience, many years of teaching, but we have something in common – passion:-) I love surround myself people who are passionate with English as am I, you’re doing great pushing yourself further, jumping on the bandwagon is definitely good idea because it will help others and you, so you’re killing two birds with one stone.

        In contrary my experience with this beautiful language is shorter than yours ( I started quite late, after the thirties) but I also felt in love and I immerse myself in English whenever I can, because I love it! I’ve never studied any university, I acknowledged that I’m too old to do studies again (I did Master’s degree in economy), I do certificates step by step and wish it will help me it teaching field:-) But what I see now there is a long way ahead but I’m not complaining:-))))

        Nevertheless, Luke is doing a great job and I absolutely agree! I always say, the day is too short to do, see, listen everything what we have on the market!

        So what have we do to be followers of yours videos? Do we have to subscribe or something?

        Good luck and you are doing great!

        best

      • Jack

        Agnes try to interact with native speakers whether it be italki or natives living in your surroundings coz passive listening will improve your listening, actively using the language is what makes you fluent.

      • Agnes

        thanks Jack for giving me advice, I actually do my practise speaking through Italki with my native English teacher:-) and friends all over the world:-)) Fluency goes with listening and good writing goes with reading, so I have to do it simultaneously :-)))))

        best

      • Jack

        That is very nice to hear Agnes, I read that in order for you to achieve functional fluency you have to speak the target language for 5 hours every day with a native speaker and continue that trend for 6 months.

        Now that is quite plausible or in most cases natural if you live in that country where your target language is spoken but if you don`t then italki is a brilliant service but unfortunately it is a paid service and very very expensive. I hope some free service comes along in near future.

      • Agnes

        It would be great if I had an opportunity to speak for 5 hours a day, brilliant, but unfortunately it is impossible. You’re right that Italki is a great service for building speaking fluency, but this one can be built by speaking to foreign friends as well, not only to native speakers.
        I think that an acquiring a language in a country when that language is spoken depends on desirable motivation of person who learns and wants to speak. I mean, loads of people living in a foreign country don’t speak a local language or barely speak. I see that in many cases. There are no barriers any more and we can learn, speak with others through the internet, that’s amazing! And we can choose our approach whether get a fluency in 3 years or 5, or even more, it depends on ourselves.
        Not everyone can afford to pay for speaking classes with native speakers, I know that, but an advantage is hugely incomparable to the past.

        have a nice afternoon

      • Cat

        So true! :)

      • I agree with Agnes that it doesn’t have to be native speakers. If I believed otherwise, as someone who is a non-native English teacher himself, I would have to end up having very low self-esteem. I don’t think there is any need to feel inferior. And we discussed this thoroughly with Luke in the first episode of this very skype conversation. A great example of someone who really breaks this unfortunately deeply rooted stereotype is Marek Kiczkowiak from TEFL Equity Advocate website.

        I agree to the extent that if you surround yourself with people who have i+1 (slightly better English than you, based on Krashen’s theory of language acquisition), you can definitely benefit more than if you are the strongest speaker in your group.

        There are other things that come into play, too. Confidence, common interests, etc.. I have had some experience in the past hanging out with some native speakers who behaved in a patronising way. You can’t really blame them. Say you go for a beer with a group of English lads and they start joking around. You will probably be the weakest link “fun-contribution-rate-wise” You will probably end up having a lot of useful output, but there will be less input because psychologically you will be inhibited, anxious, and what not. I’m not saying it will always happen, but it is quite likely.

      • Agnes

        I think there has to be a comprehensible input, so in case when you’re hanging around with natives who speak casually it is usual that you don’t get it or get it but in a small proportion. So as to get a level of understanding natives in real conversation we have to spend hours of listening to real conversations or surround ourselves by natives which is not always is a case.
        LEP gives us everything what we need, casual conversations between friends, foreign guests and so on.
        I think you are on the way for a real success, I believe that you would be a great English teacher in England or wherever you want, so go for it:-))
        I like hearing successful stories, it always boosts my energy and motivation for further learning and improving.

        cheers

      • Yeah, well, we will see. I am yet to make some sort of decision. It’s not guaranteed that I will land on my feet so I can’t be too rash . I’m not an extreme risk-taker so this is taking me longer than it should.

      • Agnes

        anyway, good luck and my fingers are crossed:-)

      • Yeah, come to Youtube. For now just subscribe to this: www.youtube.com/user/ramonisCZ . I am still yet to decide on the name of the channel and I am also sort of waiting for the response overall. If I see people are into it, I will take it further I guess. Also feel free to join Zdenek’s English Podcast facebook group. I will always post those videos there, although like I said, I might eventually make this a separate thing.

        It will be a huge privilege to make these videos for people like you but also a big commitment. Your English in written form is absolutely superb :) and I like your attitude, too.

      • Agnes

        ok, thanks for invitation, but actually I don’t have a facebook account, but I’ll follow you on Youtube.

        Thank you for kind words, I’m actually trying to improve my writing skills, so that’s why I comment so much sometimes.

        By the way, I need some recommendations for wise articles in order to prepare myself for academic essays, any suggestions?

        I’ve discovered nice articles on Ted talks recently, these are relating to videos being there.

        Good luck with your Youtube channel, maybe is it a good idea to announce a competition about the name?

        cheers

      • Yeah I mean, I don’t even know if I should keep doing those, that’s why I am not taking it too seriously for now.
        I am not sure what you mean. Do you need those articles as samples? Perhaps some sort of a book would help you. For instance this one: www.goodreads.com/book/show/566744.They_Say_I_Say. I don’t really teach EAP at the moment but there should be a lot more books available.

      • Agnes

        Hi Zdenek

        I need some articles for writing purposes, I have to read a lot of them in order to know how to make my own essays, reports, you know, there is a writing part on an exam, I need to increase my amount of more academic vocabulary. I don’t want to rewrite or copy someone’s, I want to have my own ideas but it has to be based on solid academic and related to a topic vocabulary.
        For example, today I wrote an essay about space exploration, so I need some wise phrases, before I start to write I need read up some articles:-) When I was preparing for my previous exam I did the same, so I know it works, loads of writing practice!
        As you see I make mistakes all the time, only practicing this skill helps me to overcome these mistakes and to do it better and better.

        cheers

      • You have a great approach! There is also a book called Academic Vocabulary in Use. Check this one out, too.

      • Agnes

        THANK YOU!!!

      • Agnes

        once again thank you, I’ve just downloaded this book “Academic vocabulary in Use”, seems good to me, there is the same format as the blue one by Murphy, just great.

        By the way, do you use www.slideshare.net ? There are lots of useful materials, handouts for learners and teachers as well:-)

      • Cat

        Taken? I don’t know who they are… :))

      • Agnes

        ha ha ha the same thought was on the top of my head when I wrote this:-))

    • Agnes

      As I promised I listened the second and the third part of Luke’s interview yesterday and you both gave me loads of advice and information.

      Zdenek you said that you have an issue with vocabulary while speaking, I mean rich and advanced vocabulary. I don’t know how it works, I mean our brain, but it’s quite normal, and I think we non native speakers will always have problem such as that. Our brain consciously chooses simpler version of word which is sometimes uncomfortable for us. The funny thing is that while listening we understand everything but then when we want repeat word by word is fairly challenging.

      cheers

      • Jack

        that is precisely the difference between an acquired and a learned language.

        it is instinct vs conscious production, guess who wins ?

      • Agnes

        obviously native speaker wins:-)

        that’s why we have to realize that we never be a native, and everything holds on how close we want to be:-)

      • Jack

        you are bang on target there Agnes :)

  • Cat

    Hi Luke, hi Zdenek! :)
    Oh, you did a new episode in a new fantastic format again!
    My iPhone was saying to me earlier today that there was none… I just wanted to go out and listen to it while gardening (which Agnes hates, unfortunately :)) But now I’m sticked to the laptop, because I want to listen to it right away!!! :)

    • Cat

      I just realised that these are not LEP episodes, by ZEP episodes. Okay, that’s why they didn’t appear. Oh, and there are many, so it’s going to be several listening sessions….
      Thank you, both of you!
      Sunny Sunday! :-)

    • Agnes

      the one thing I like doing the gardening is listening to English:-)

      it is impressive isn’t it? I mean the whole of way Zdenek has done:-)

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  • Alexandr Shnaider

    I liked this interview, especially because you two are my favorite podcasters)

    • Cat

      Alexandr, hi!
      Are you a ZEPster? :)

      • Alexandr Shnaider

        Yes, I even became a ZEPster first and only then a LEPster)

      • Alexandr you are truly an anomaly :) But that is actually super cool. BTW, It’s actually Zepper :)

      • Alexandr Shnaider

        Oh, really. I didn’t know that correct name is Zepper. Ok, then I’m a Zepper)