about john patrick | 万吉平

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I was born and raised in Olympia, Washington.  I went to University of Washington in Seattle, and after that, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.  I concentrated on foreign language pedagogy, first and second language acquisition, and minimalist syntax.

I’ve studied abroad in Avignon, France; Rome, Italy; Antigua, Guatemala; and most recently in Hangzhou, China.

For the past 8 years, I was a Spanish teacher and campus minister at a Jesuit high school in Seattle. Now I’m moving to Shanghai, China to work for a company developing online study material for people learning Spanish.

The posts previous to September 2007 have been imported from my previous blogs you don’t have to read and China Trippin’. I’ve decided to move to wordpress.com because it’s easier to use in China.

This blog is just a journal. Sometimes I tell stories, but mostly I just take pictures of my food, worry about diabetes, and complain about my life. This new blog will probably be about the wonders and challenges of my new life in Shanghai.  I hope you enjoy it.

john patrick | 万吉平

UPDATE

It’s 2010. I was in China for about 2 years, working at SpanishPod. Now I’m in living in Battery Park City Manhattan, working in Midtown at Spanishpod101.

UPDATE II

It’s almost the end of 2010.  I was downsized from Spanishpod101, but months before I had applied for teaching jobs.  The best offer was from… wait for it… the Jesuit high school I used to teach at before I went to China!  So I took the summer off in Las Vegas, with the folks, and then when school started I moved back to Seattle.  So now I’m back to my old life; same office, same townhouse… it’s almost like I never left.  I hope this goes well!

From Me

19 thoughts on “about john patrick | 万吉平

  1. Hi JP, nice blog!

    I was checking out SpanishPod and listening to some episodes just about an hour ago. Then I came online and accidentally found you from Kelly’s blog. Man, you are real!

    I like SpanishPod much more than its predecessor. Keep up the good work!

    BTW, I was told that you cannot access YouTube in China. Or can you?

  2. hi jp!
    wow you guys from cpod are just awesome wish i could be like you. i love writing and i love learning a different language wehter its the third of fourth just want you to know you guys inspire people like me so keep going! God Bless

    • Hi Edd, I was in China for 2 years, and now I’m back in the USA. Although I was so glad to be back, I did pick up some ex-pat habits, like getting massages, having a cleaning lady, getting clothes tailored… stuff that we don’t do in the US that I’m finding hard to live without. Well, maybe not hard, but I definitely learned to appreciate the luxury.

  3. Nice to know u. I don’t know whether you understand what I said because my English is poor. well. I heard that you can speak 7 cuntries’ language .So surprised to me.

  4. Hi JP,
    I like your Spod shows, you and Lilian performed great there! I have got all newbie and elementary audios, shows, dialogs and pdf’s (don’rt ask me how). I plan to listen to a new show every day and then to repeat each dialog every 1-3-7-30 days. This way I plan to learn enough to communicate with my Cuban friend face to face. Do you think it will work? I know to start speaking is difficult even if you can understand absolutely all what is said. And I am surprised why nobody offers the tools similar to what AJ Hodge made in English, mini stories with questions, pauses and correct answers.
    take care

    • Hi Alexei,
      Thanks for coming to my blog!

      Let me know how your plan works! I think some people like to listen to a dialog repeatedly until they feel they’ve mastered it, before moving on to the next one. But I’m not sure if there’s a wrong way to use the audio, as long as you’re enjoying it. It’s meant to be entertaining, so if a dialog or podcast doesn’t interest you, just move on; there are hundreds more!

      Listen, no matter what anyone tells you, no one product is going to teach you to speak/understand/read/write/be culturally competent. SpanishPod is a well-crafted listening comprehension tool, and can help you with your vocabulary. People report that after six months of using it, their listening comprehension improves drastically.

      You get good at what you practice doing. So if you listen to SpanishPod, your listening comprehension will improve, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your speaking, reading, or writing will improve… in order for those skills to improve, you have to practice them!

      As for other language learning products…. it’s not as easy as you might think to make a product that has a) high instructional value, and b) high entertainment value. Many products are made by instructors who have no idea how irritating they are, or entertainers who don’t know how to teach. Actually, more often, products are made by business and/tech people who have poor knowledge of instruction or entertainment at all, but they know that people are desperate to learn, so they’re quit to sell them their garbage.

      Me, I’m used to handling the instruction/entertainment side of things; but if you can put me in touch with someone with a head for business and tech, let me know! I’d be happy to put something new out there.

      Thanks again for coming by and happy listening!

  5. Hello JP,
    I’l very curious about your use of WordPress in China, it’s supposed to be censored by the Chinese governement, so do you have any tips to use/have access to it from China? Thanks!

    • Hi Ash,
      I moved to China in 2007, and switched from blogger to wordpress because at the time wordpress was not blocked. After a while they blocked wordpress too, and I ended up posting by email. Around that time people started following free vpns, to get around the firewall. Nowadays, I think the expats in china just pay for vpns, as they are more reliable than the free ones that were always getting shut down. The last I heard, wordpress was totally unblocked in china, but that may have changed. They have robots that scour the internet for key words, and if the find something offensive they shut down or slow down access to the whole domain. I left China in mid 2009. Hope that helps!

  6. You know what sucks, not finding your blog earlier. Came here through Google+. Think you added me using the Chinese language circle that got shared some time back.

    Instantly dig your blog! In my RSS reader already.

  7. Dear John,

    You haven’t heard from me before. I’m the Language Marketing and Publicity Coordinator at Tuttle Publishing. If you have not heard of Tuttle, we have been producing quality language books since 1948 and are a market leader for Chinese language study books.

    I have identified You Don’t Have to Read 2.0 as a prominent online organization and would like to ask you if you would be willing to review one or more books for us. Language learners truly listen to the opinions of important online personalities, like you. I believe we have some great Chinese books and would love to hear your opinion.

    Please let me know what you think. My email address is below.

    Best regards,
    Mike
    mpage@tuttlepubishing.com
    tuttlepublishing.com

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