Entrevista com Lori Linstruth, do Better at English (parte 1)

By Ana Luiza | Entrevistas em Inglês (áudio)

Jul 01
Inglês - Entrevista com Lori Linstruth, do Better at English (parte 1)
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Better at EnglishHi! A primeira parte da nossa próxima entrevista chega hoje, e é a vez de Lori Linstruth, a criadora do site Better at English. Lori é uma ex-professora que já ensinou inglês em lugares como Indonésia e Suécia, e hoje é guitarrista na Holanda… é isso aí!

Lori fala com muita franqueza sobre sua frustração a respeito dos materiais de inglês da época que ela ensinava – muitos com temas áridos e frequentemente distantes da realidade dos alunos. Por essa e outras razões, ela resolveu criar o Better at English, um blog cheio de podcasts e conversas reais (daquelas que a gente tem com os amigos).

baixe o mp3

baixe o PDF

A transcrição da entrevista vem logo abaixo, e você pode também baixar os arquivos MP3 e PDF (clique nas imagens à esquerda), que tem comentários e algumas expressões explicadas.

Ouça a primeira parte aqui mesmo, e aguardem a segunda na semana que vem. A Lori estava na Holanda quando nós conversamos e ela falou do celular, portanto tem um pouco de ruído.

Transcrição da entrevista

(Ana) Hi everybody, today I’m talking to Lori Linstruth, the creator of Better at English, a blog with lots of tips and lessons on idiomatic expressions and English in general, and podcasts with real English conversations. To access Lori’s website, go to betteratenglish.com. So, hi Lori! Let’s get started, and thank you again for giving this interview to Inglês Online.

(Lori) It’s my pleasure, Ana.

(Ana) So first, please tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

(Lori) Oh goodness! Yeah, I started out as a very frustrated teacher of English, um… Oh, gosh this is hard… Yeah, I was, my background is teaching English as a second language to adults and I found the whole experience very frustrating because of the stupid materials that you’re often forced to use and that was the reason I started Better at English, was because I wanted to talk about maybe more fun and interesting topics rather than the stupid things that I had to teach all the time when I was working formally as a teacher.

(Ana) Was that in the US? Where were you teaching?

(Lori) No, I started in Indonesia actually, and then I moved to Sweden and continued teaching when I was in Sweden. And I now live in the Netherlands and luckily don’t have to teach English anymore.

(Ana) Oh…. Ok! Yeah, I followed the link on your Skype profile, and I was in for a surprise. I had no idea you were involved with music!

(Lori) Oh, right, yeah. I don’t talk so much about that on Better at English, but yeah, I do also play electric guitar and I’m quite active in music as well.

(Ana) So currently, you’re not.. you’re not teaching English.

(Lori) No, no, I don’t have to do that anymore. Thank goodness!

(Ana) Yeah, you know, I was gonna ask you what motivated you to start Better at English, so… it was basically a lack of good materials… So, what’s your opinion, I mean, why did you think the materials were inadequate?

(Lori) Usually they’re just so boring and they teach a form of English that nobody speaks. Everything is so formal and correct and everyone speaks these perfectly formed, beautiful sentences, and I just found it really frustrating, because students would come to me, especially in Indonesia and they, they would do fine on pen and paper tests but they really couldn’t understand conversational English with native speakers. Because the English they had been exposed to was just so far removed from the real world.

But this was several years ago, that I first started teaching, and I have to say, the materials have been getting better. And fun, fun silly topics, I think, are fun as well, or interesting topics. It’s so boring having to read about stupid companies or things that are so outdated that they’re just not even relevant anymore. Or reading, like constantly learning about country governments or political systems, or…

I mean, when I study a foreign language the last thing I wanna start with is learning about their stupid government system (laughter) It’s just not interesting to me. Teach me how to swear or something!

No, I’m just kidding, but it’s a lot more fun, I don’t know, to maybe pick some lighter topics…

(Ana) Yeah, yeah, I think I get what you’re saying, because it’s not like, you know, in our everyday conversation we’re talking about the political system of countries and about the organization of companies…

(Lori) Especially when you’re at, say, the lower intermediate level where it’s still kind of a struggle to get through a text and you have to be motivated and I mean, I really… I’m trying to learn Dutch right now because I recently moved to Holland and… that’s the last thing I want, to have to struggle through some, like, dense text about Dutch culture.

I’m sorry to say, you know, I will learn the culture from my friends and from the people that, that I associate with. I don’t really want that as my, my learning materials… to be teaching me culture. I need everyday expressions that people use in everyday conversation. That’s far more useful to me, so… anyway.

(Ana) Yeah, no, I understand. And, I mean, you’re lucky that… I mean, actually you’re probably learning Dutch because you live in the Netherlands, right?

(Lori) Yeah, right, right.

(Ana) You’re really immersed, you’re really immersed in the culture and in the language.

(Lori) Yeah, definitely. Yeah, I would never study a foreign language just for the sake of studying it. There are so many other things to learn, I’m not one of these people who wants to spend my time studying just for the fun of it. You know, there’s a whole universe of things to learn. You have to devote so much time, for one thing.

That’s one thing that, when I was teaching, students really didn’t seem to understand, is that there’s no quick, easy, fast way to become proficient in a language. That it really does take time and patience, and lots of exposure, and eventually, if you stick with it, you will improve. But there’s no quick fix, definitely.

(Ana) Yep. And you know, one thing that I wanted, that I wanted to ask you… It’s great that you have had this experience of… teaching, for example, in Indonesia.

And, following up on what you just mentioned, what would you recommend for students who do not live in an English speaking country, and, you know, they wanna learn… I don’t know about perfecting, but they want at least to be able to communicate decently. What can they do every day?

(Lori) Yeah, it’s really hard, that’s the real struggle because… Right now, where I live, I do live in Holland but I really don’t socialize much with Dutch people… And my boyfriend, who I live with, his English is so good that we just basically speak English all the time. So I have to make a real effort to practice.
I get lots of… There’s as much listening exposure as I want. All I have to do is turn on the TV. But to actually, to actually speak…

(Ana) And reading also, right…

(Lori) Yeah, reading, there’s plenty I can get to read and listen to.But for speaking, there really is no substitute for trying to speak and use the little words that you have in a safe environment, so… I think that’s really the challenge for people who live in a country where their target language isn’t spoken, it’s finding some safe, confortable place where they can practice to get the speaking practice. And for that… gosh, what would I do? If I didn’t have people here…

Probably.. try to find a club… In Sweden they have a really cool system called study circles, where it’s not… it’s like a course, but really you just have a course leader who’s there sort of as a coach and guide, and to help out… And you don’t get grades, and you go just because you want to learn. And there, it’s sort of a safe and fun environment where you can practice a little bit.

That’s… it’s really hard, I really don’t know good advice to give…

(Ana) Yeah, I know.

(Lori) ’cause it’s so difficult…

(continua na próxima semana)


About the Author

Ana Luiza criou um blog de dicas de inglês em 2006, e depois de muito pesquisar o que faz alguém ganhar fluência numa segunda língua, criou seu primeiro curso de inglês em 2009.

  • I totally loved the interview. What a pitty that Lori stopped posting to Better at English, but I still have a lot of fun (and learn a lot) with the old episodes that are still there.
    By the way, I got really happy that I was able to understand 98% of what Lori and you said, although you were talking at a normal speed. haha :)

  • sandro says:

    hi everyone…ana always give us the chance to improve the way we talk…so i want to thank her for these pieces of advices…i m very happy cause since than my english is starting to take off some time ago i did not even get to express myself the way i would like to…at one point though that i was gettin by a little bit easier..thanks ana kisses…

  • I am really happy to have found this website to practice my English. I am with you guys. The best way to improve the language is to keep in touch with it as much as we can. As for myself, listening is a wonderful practice. The more you listen the better you learn.  Before you know it, you will become more fluent when you speak. Give it a try. It is really worth it.  This is my piece of advice. Way to go!!!  Orlando Serna.

  • […] a segunda parte da entrevista com Lori Linstruth, a criadora do site Better at English (veja a primeira parte). Lori é uma ex-professora que já ensinou inglês em lugares como […]

  • Stephanie says:

    Hi.  I’ve listened to all of the podcasts at [email protected]  I hope there will be more soon.  They have stopped for a very long time.  I also love the podcast from http://www.china232.com
    It is really fun and useful to me and many friends.  I got this link from the [email protected] website.  Thanks for your work!

  • Alessandro says:

    Hi Ana,

    Congrats once more. You have been doing a great job here. I’m learning a lot with these interviews.


  • Ana Luiza says:

    Hi Alejandro, I know what you mean. As for myself, I like books that don’t have 30 different activities crammed in 1 unit and that provide plenty of opportunity for everyday conversation practice.

  • Alejandro Camacho says:


    As an English teacher, I totally agree with Lori. The English taught in most of the books is so ‘bookish’ and the topics are so formal that I have to change many conversations because they are not real ones. It’s good to find good Web Sites like this one, teaching the real English.



  • […] Despite the embarrassing lack of activity here at Better at English, I’m still very much alive and kicking. In fact, Ana from Inglês Online, a great online resource for Brazilian learners of English, caught up with me for a quick interview. You can find it (audio and transcript) here. […]

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