Learning & Education, Student Experience, Teaching Methodology

Mistakes – I’ve Made a Few


Mistakes. The scourge of the student. The fear of all language learners. A reason for shyness, for feeling inadequate, a reason perhaps to give up.

How many times at school did you receive a test back from your teacher? Over your page is a spider’s scrawl of red ink. INCORRECT. WRONG. SEE ME AFTER CLASS!!!! The fear wells up inside you as you expect to be yelled at, made to feel stupid for getting things wrong and even worse, humiliated in front of your friends and school mates.

Aren’t teachers supposed to be educating, nurturing and developing young minds?Surely the best and most effective way is to create a culture of trust and respect and environment that is conducive to learning. Not one that is borne out of some perverse power and ego trip that puts the teacher as the font of all knowledge, to be obeyed and respected through fear, like some despotic dictator. I still remember teachers at school who I feared being in a classroom with. Fear of their temper, fear of making a mistake and fear of never being good enough.

Then again, I remember even more those teachers who were the opposite. Who garnered respect through encouragement, patience and a willingness to help those who found particular subjects or ideas difficult to comprehend. When you made a mistake, they did not single you out or belittle you. Rather they would go over things again, possibly with the assistance of a more capable student. They would demonstrate, illustrate, provide clear and easy to understand examples, but crucially, they allowed you to try again. And would not scold you for making the same mistake again – but they understood you would eventually get it. Given time and the right environment for learning, all students would be able to understand even complicated theories and ideas – but everyone has a different potential for learning and critically, a different speed at which they can assimilate ideas and develop.

Learning anything is not a linear, equal process. I was excellent at geography, won a school prize in the subject, went on to study it at university. I picked up everything without difficulty (except for scientific equations in geomorphology….my Kryptonite). But put me in front of a physics or chemistry text book and it was like learning Chinese or Arabic or Russian. Like a different alphabet and language altogether. I still struggled, but I had patient teachers who assisted, rather than cajoled and pressured me to learn.

The teacher is not always right.

Learning English – Mistakes Are Positive Things

I have now taught English as a Foreign Language for 25 years. And I am confident that every lesson I have taught has contained a myriad of mistakes. From my students, of course. But also inadvertent mistakes by myself. Spelling errors, a mispronunciation with syllable stress, a poorly worded explanation as I could not remember what the word meant (only for a moment or two). But these mistakes are all part of being human. We are not robots, we aspire to but never reach perfection. Mistakes make us human. I would quickly rectify my mistakes and would not hide away from them. If a student pointed out I had accidentally spelled a word wrong (government / environment were always my Achilles heel…n before m please!) I would say, ‘Excellent, well done, you found the deliberate mistake today’ and then go on to say it just shows that

‘Mistakes are normal, to be expected and nothing we need to be ashamed of.’

If I could not think of the correct way to explain a word, or Heaven forbid, I was presented with a word that I was unsure of the meaning of, for example ‘disestablishmentarianism’ I would not try and bluff out some contrived definition. I would say,

‘One moment, let me check in the dictionary. Because that’s what dictionaries are for. To help us out when we don’t know a word. Because, contrary to popular belief, I don’t know EVERY. SINGLE. WORD. in the English language.’

Humanising Mistakes

I have taught students who were so afraid of making mistakes when speaking, that they clammed up entirely and hardly said a word in their first class with me. Despite my best efforts to elicit responses, to encourage and create a friendly, unintimidating atmosphere, they were sometimes just completely overawed. At the end of the class I would ask to talk to them and explain about the ‘importance of making mistakes.’ Sometimes I had to console a student who had broken down in tears. But I always pointed out that

‘If you don’t make mistakes, there is no need for you to be here. You would be speaking perfectly and in no need of English lessons. Mistakes are natural, normal and we all make them. But when you make a mistake, it is my job to identify and help you correct it – and to help you become aware of the mistake, so you learn and hopefully eliminate it. I can’t guarantee you won’t make the mistake again, but eventually the mistake will disappear.’

Then the student would have a light bulb moment and realise what I said made sense. They would depart with a happy ‘Thank you for teach me (sic)

Mistakes Are Positives – Not Negatives

Why are mistakes positives?

  • Mistakes are essential for students to learn and develop. They learn from other students when they mistakes and their class mates will help correct the mistakes they make. It is a mutual benefit.
  • Students are not stupid. There is a feeling sometimes that because a student is a low level in an English language class, they are not that bright. I have had brilliant business leaders, scientists, engineers, lawyers, doctors etc, all with a lower level in English. Making mistakes in their normal everyday working life is something they are not expect to do. Helping them feel empowered to make mistakes in language learning is liberating.
  • Making mistakes leads to learning and self improvement. Every time a student makes a mistake, self-corrects, or is assisted in correcting their error, it is another step in the language learning journey. Making mistakes and finding the correct answer helps embed new language, grammar points, pronunciation etc, in their short term and then long term memory
  • Making mistakes can be memorable and fun! When I first learned Indonesian, I remember talking to a street food vendor. I asked her for a cup of tea, without sugar. I said, ‘Satu cangkir teh, tampa gila.’ instead of ‘Satu cangkir teh, tampa gula.’ Gila means crazy and gula means sugar. She laughed, I laughed and I immediately learned the difference between gila and gula and I didn’t make that mistake again.
  • Mistakes create empathy through shared experience. We have all been there, making mistakes as we learn language, a new skill, a musical instrument, a new job. But then again, so have the people around us. No one steps into the language classroom, the new office, or picks up the guitar or violin or plays the piano for the first time without making mistakes. Mistakes ground us, but also connect us to our peers. In turn, as we develop and improve, we can show empathy for those who learn after us.

So, go ahead, make mistakes (but if you are an English language teacher, a music teacher, a dance teacher or any kind of teacher, preparation is the key to reducing mistakes.) But be honest and human about it. Your students will respect you much more if you are honest about mistakes, that you make them and that you are not perfect. No student expects their teacher to be perfect. Instead, they expect dedication, commitment, respect, understanding, empathy, honesty, kindness, integrity, knowledge, patience, trust and to finish every class having learned something.

And if they feel comfortable to make mistakes during each class, not because they were intent on making mistakes, more that they were accidental or through misunderstanding, they will feel able to grow, learn and develop with you.

And you will earn a lot of respect for enabling and nurturing them to do so.


A Poem A Day 2021

A Poem A Day 2021 – Volume 1
January to March

Hello, here we are. April already. Where has the year gone? We are at the 95th day of the year. how do I know?

Well, since 1st January, I have been writing an original poem every day and sharing them via my Instagram and Twitter accounts ( @apoemaday2021 )

I have posted new poems every day for 90 days in January, February and March….and am already on the 5th day of April. It is quite a challenge to come up with a new idea, write a poem that is fresh and interesting.

Each month has a different theme;

January – Lockdown, Longing and Memories

February – Places, People and the Spaces in Between

March – Wishes, Dreams, Hopes and Time

Every 3 months I will be self-publishing a book. Volume 1 is out now and contains over 100 poems (90 days, but some have more than 1 poem…) with a few guest poet collaborations.

The poetry collection is available both in paperback and in Kindle eBook download.

If you are in the UK the price is £10 which includes free UK delivery. The Kindle book is £2.99

All proceeds from the sales of A Poem A Day 2021 – Volume 1 will be donated to Make A Wish UK, a charity that granted my daughter Milla a wish in 2012. We spent a week in Florida visiting the Disneyland theme parks and Milla received VIP treatment. Sadly Milla, who was severely disabled with cerebral palsy, passed away in 2012. But I promised her I would continue to support and fundraise fro charities that helped Milla and us.

To learn more about the wonderful work that Make A Wish does visit,

To learn more about the wonderful work Make A Wish does


If you are interested in purchasing a Kindle copy of A Poem A Day 2021 – Volume 1 it is available from

or paperback (Note the paperback and Kindle covers are slightly different!)

Best wishes and wish me luck as I write another 90 poems over the next 3 months!

Tony Frobisher


English? Why Bother

So many languages to choose from…why bother with English?

What is the point of learning English anyway?

When the internet is no longer the exclusive domain of the English speaker, every language and script is catered for. English is less relevant as a medium of communication than it was say 10 years ago. No one really needs to learn the language. Even the most inept speakers of English can request emails and documents sent to them and pass them through Google translate or a similar translation medium. Language schools in the UK are pretty much a rarity these days. The school I worked for for over 18 years sadly closed its doors in large part due to the COVID pandemic, but there has been a steady and inexorable decline in overseas students taking up residential English language courses. More and more individuals and companies are looking to access online learning. It is generally much cheaper, allows the employee or individual to stay in their country, to study at a time convenient to them and to reduce the impact of time away from the company or family. Win win. For many people perhaps, learning English is now a secondary concern.

But is that really true? No, absolutely not. While there has been an evident and increasing shift from face to face class based / residential language courses to classes conducted over Zoom and Teams, the demand for learning English is still very much there. The sectors of society who are looking for improvements in their English ability are drawn from different backgrounds, namely:

  • Students looking to go abroad to study in the USA, UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand or even countries that use English as the medium of communication in tertiary education such as Malaysia and Singapore.
  • Professionals in industries such as medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary science. There has been a steady uptake of individuals looking to work in overseas medical placements and requiring an official qualification in English, for example IELTS or OET.
  • Company employees. It is true that many new employees are recruited not only for the experience, qualifications, suitability and potential in a particular job, but also for their proficiency in a second language, most typically English. But there is a large section of employees who lack the English skills they need to (i) perform their job to a required standard (perhaps new clients who speak English, a change in company communication policy demanding all communication needs to be in English.) or (ii) require a higher level of English and better confidence in order to secure a promotion or to move jobs
  • Young learners – children and teenagers. Many parents recognize the advantage a good level of English can give their children as they progress through life and look to secure rewarding and fulfilling careers. Additional English language tuition at an early age is highly recommended for rapid progress and language development.
  • Older learners – Nowadays more and more people are able to travel in their retirement, or indeed due to being more economically mobile and having a substantial disposable income that allows for travel to different parts of the world. Retirees, business managers and their families – they are increasingly turning to language courses for ‘essential / survival’ English when they are abroad. As much as taking their passport and sunglasses with them, they feel better equipped with English at the ready. And this is true of travel not just to native English speaking countries. English remains the language of tourism and travel. You don’t hear announcements in Chinese, Japanese or Mongolian on a London train station concourse.

So, why bother with English?

Open more doors with English -a selection of poetry books I have written

English has not gone away. It has not disappeared in the global pandemic. It is still present and persistent in so many facets of international life. One thing is for sure. The demand for English is still high, even though the way lessons are being accessed has changed from the physical to the virtual. Once this pandemic has subsided and people are more able to travel for business and pleasure, for study and employment, English will be as essential as it always has been.

Isn’t it time you did something to improve your own English language ability?

If you or someone you know would like to improve their English, please get in touch. With 24 years of English teaching experience, I can help you reach your goal in English.

Tony Frobisher


Frobisher English
Excellence in English Teaching
Get in touch and learn English with me!

Calling all Indonesian learners of English!

Terjemahan di bawah artikel dalam bahasa Inggris

Here we are. A year into a global pandemic. The world has changed considerably. And one thing that has become very obvious is how a lot of business and studying is being done online. Far more than before the Covid19 crisis began.

What does this mean for English language learning? For students learning English, it has meant a number of difficulties. The chance to travel to countries such as the UK, Australia, America and Canada has become in some cases, impossible and in other cases, extremely difficult. Quarantining in hotels on arrival for example. In the UK businesses remain closed and many English language schools, including the school I taught at, have had to close their doors.

But there is still a demand to learn English. And in particular to learn English with native English speakers and teachers with experience of teaching overseas, teaching different groups, levels and abilities and ages. From conversational English to examination preparation, business English and personal one to one coaching and mentoring, learning and improving English is still an essential part of the international student and business professional’s life.

Even though international travel for studying or business has been severely affected, there is no reason why you can not improve and practice English online with an experienced, professional, well travelled and well qualified teacher.

I am looking to expand my online English teaching to the country I call a second home – Indonesia. I am offering tailor made English language courses for Indonesian students learning English and to the wider Indonesian business community.

Why choose Tony Frobisher as YOUR English Language teacher?

I began teaching English in Indonesia in 1997. After an 8 month teaching position in Gajah Mada, north Jakarta, I returned to the UK, retrained and obtained my formal TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate – the CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Adults) from International House, London.

I married my wife Rini, who comes from Semarang in Central Java in November 1998 and we then moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where I taught English for 6 months at International House, Malaysia. In 1999 I took up a teaching position for English First (EF) in Pondok Indah, south Jakarta. During the 2.5 years I taught in Pondok Indah, I was promoted to Senior Teacher and taught all ages from 7 to adult and developed a passion for teaching Business English. My wife and I returned to the UK in 2002 and settled in Worcester, in the West Midlands of England (near Birmingham). I started teaching for Kingsway English Centre and remained there for 18 years, again being promoted to Senior Teacher. In 2004, I completed my DELTA (Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults). I was the lead business English teacher at the school. I taught multinational groups with students from as far apart as Brazil, Algeria, Iraq, Russia and Japan. I was also involved in 1:1 teaching and exam preparation, including TOEFL, IELTS, TOEIC and OET.

What I bring to English lessons online

  • 24 years of English language teaching experience
  • Classroom and online experience
  • Business English specialist
  • Experienced in 1:1 and group sessions
  • Experienced teacher to all levels (beginner to advanced)
  • Experienced teacher to all ages (from 7 to 75+ age is no barrier!)
  • Fluent speaker of Bahasa Indonesia / able to communicate effectively in Bahasa Malay
  • Can use Indonesian to explain difficult English concepts such as grammar and prepositions
  • Understanding of the culture of Indonesia, passionate about Indonesia and wanting to help build its future in the world
  • Flexible and adaptable – from 1:1 online classes to group conversational classes, exam preparation, business coaching and project development, business skills training
  • 6 years in middle and senior management positions in the UK transport industry
  • World experience. I have travelled widely independently and have visited around 50 countries.
  • Passionate about language, about helping people to reach their potential
  • Fun, friendly and approachable
  • Feedback and advice always available, free homework correction and comment
  • Preparation time is done external to class time. If you have a 1 hour lesson, it will be a full 1 hour
  • Online lessons available via Zoom, Skype or Microsoft Teams

So if YOU want to speak and communicate better in English, let me help YOU.

Send me a message! You can contact me via

email – frobitony1@yahoo.co.uk and twitter – @vegpedaller

Memanggil semua pelajar Bahasa Indonesia Bahasa Inggris!

Inilah kami. Setahun menjadi pandemi global. Dunia telah banyak berubah. Dan satu hal yang menjadi sangat jelas adalah betapa banyak bisnis dan pembelajaran dilakukan secara online. Jauh lebih banyak dari sebelum krisis Covid19 dimulai.

Apa artinya ini untuk pembelajaran bahasa Inggris? Bagi siswa yang belajar bahasa Inggris, itu berarti sejumlah kesulitan. Kesempatan untuk bepergian ke negara-negara seperti Inggris, Australia, Amerika dan Kanada dalam beberapa kasus menjadi tidak mungkin dan dalam kasus lain menjadi sangat sulit. Misalnya, mengarantina hotel pada saat kedatangan. Di Inggris, bisnis tetap tutup dan banyak sekolah bahasa Inggris, termasuk sekolah tempat saya mengajar, harus menutup pintunya.

Tetapi masih ada permintaan untuk belajar bahasa Inggris. Dan khususnya untuk belajar bahasa Inggris dengan penutur asli bahasa Inggris dan guru dengan pengalaman mengajar di luar negeri, mengajar berbagai kelompok, tingkat dan kemampuan serta usia. Dari percakapan bahasa Inggris hingga persiapan ujian, bahasa Inggris bisnis dan personal one to one coaching dan mentoring, belajar dan meningkatkan pengajaran bahasa Inggris masih menjadi bagian penting dari kehidupan pelajar internasional dan profesional bisnis.

Meskipun perjalanan internasional untuk belajar atau bisnis telah sangat terpengaruh, tidak ada alasan mengapa Anda tidak dapat meningkatkan dan mempraktikkan bahasa Inggris online dengan guru yang berpengalaman, profesional, bepergian dengan baik, dan berkualitas baik.

Saya ingin memperluas pengajaran bahasa Inggris online saya ke negara yang saya sebut sebagai rumah kedua – Indonesia. Saya menawarkan kursus bahasa Inggris yang dibuat khusus untuk siswa Indonesia yang belajar bahasa Inggris dan komunitas bisnis Indonesia yang lebih luas.

Mengapa memilih Tony Frobisher sebagai guru bahasa Inggris ANDA?

Saya mulai mengajar bahasa Inggris di Indonesia pada tahun 1997. Setelah 8 bulan posisi mengajar di Gajah Mada, Jakarta Utara, saya kembali ke Inggris, melatih kembali dan memperoleh sertifikat TEFL (Pengajaran Bahasa Inggris sebagai Bahasa Asing) formal saya – CELTA (Sertifikat Pengajaran Inggris ke Dewasa) dari International House, London.

Saya menikah dengan istri saya Rini, yang berasal dari Semarang di Jawa Tengah pada bulan November 1998 dan kami kemudian pindah ke Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia dimana saya mengajar bahasa Inggris selama 6 bulan di International House, Malaysia. Tahun 1999 saya mengambil posisi mengajar untuk English First (EF ) di Pondok Indah, Jakarta Selatan. Selama 2,5 tahun saya mengajar di Pondok Indah, saya dipromosikan menjadi Guru Senior dan mengajar segala usia dari 7 hingga dewasa dan mengembangkan minat untuk mengajar Bahasa Inggris Bisnis. Saya dan istri saya kembali ke Inggris pada tahun 2002 dan menetap di Worcester, di West Midlands of England (dekat Birmingham). Saya mulai mengajar di Kingsway English Centre dan belajar kembali di sana selama 18 tahun, sekali lagi dipromosikan menjadi Guru Senior. Pada tahun 2004, saya menyelesaikan DELTA (Diploma Pengajaran Bahasa Inggris untuk Dewasa). Saya adalah guru bahasa Inggris bisnis utama di sekolah. Saya mengajar kelompok multinasional dengan siswa dari jauh seperti Brasil, Aljazair, Irak, Rusia dan Jepang. Saya juga terlibat dalam pengajaran dan persiapan ujian 1: 1, termasuk TOEFL, IELTS, TOEIC dan OET.

Apa yang saya bawa ke pelajaran bahasa Inggris online

  • 24 tahun pengalaman mengajar bahasa Inggris
  • Ruang kelas dan pengalaman online
  • Spesialis Bahasa Inggris Bisnis
  • Berpengalaman dalam 1: 1 dan sesi kelompok
  • Guru berpengalaman untuk semua tingkatan (pemula hingga mahir)
  • Guru berpengalaman untuk segala usia (dari 7 hingga 75+ usia bukanlah penghalang!)
  • Fasih berbahasa Indonesia / mampu berkomunikasi secara efektif dalam Bahasa Melayu
  • Dapat menggunakan bahasa Indonesia untuk menjelaskan konsep bahasa Inggris yang sulit seperti tata bahasa dan preposisi
  • Memahami budaya Indonesia, bersemangat tentang Indonesia dan ingin membantu membangun masa depan di dunia
  • Fleksibel dan mudah beradaptasi – dari kelas online 1: 1 hingga kelas percakapan kelompok, persiapan ujian, pelatihan bisnis dan pengembangan proyek, pelatihan keterampilan bisnis
  • 6 tahun di posisi manajemen menengah dan senior di industri transportasi Inggris
  • Pengalaman dunia. Saya telah bepergian secara luas secara mandiri dan telah mengunjungi sekitar 50 negara.
  • Bergairah tentang bahasa, tentang membantu orang mencapai potensi mereka
    Menyenangkan, ramah, dan mudah didekati
  • Umpan balik dan saran selalu tersedia, koreksi pekerjaan rumah gratis dan komentar
  • Waktu persiapan dilakukan di luar waktu kelas. Jika Anda memiliki 1 jam pelajaran, itu akan menjadi 1 jam penuh
  • Pelajaran online tersedia melalui Zoom, Skype atau Microsoft Teams

Jadi jika ANDA ingin berbicara dan berkomunikasi dengan lebih baik dalam bahasa Inggris, izinkan saya membantu ANDA!

Kirimkan saya pesan! Anda dapat menghubungi saya melalui

email – frobitony1@yahoo.co.uk & Twitter – @vegpedaller

Tony Frobisher