Meet British Business English Teacher Stella

October 13, 2016
13 October 2016,

Describe your past experiences teaching English

I have been teaching English online for two years. I have experience of teaching Business English, General English and exam preparation. My strong points are teaching business English to international clients at director/CEO level and pronunciation lessons. I give excellent lessons on the standard British accent and can also teach RP when requested. My business English pronunciation lessons are stellar, as are my English lessons in general.

Tell us more about your education?

My education began at a single sex convent school in Surrey. I then went on to sixth form college to do my A-levels and from there I went to University to complete my degree. I have a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree from Plymouth University. At university I was very keen on sport and was a member of both the dinghy sailing club and the university yacht club. I went dinghy sailing and yacht racing every week whilst I was at university.

Business English

I was also the president of the Catholic students union society for two years. I am now also a qualified TEFL teacher. I completed my Cert TESOL qualification from Trinity College London in 2014.

How would you describe a typical Skype English lesson at Spoken English Practice?

I initiate a lesson with free conversation and by greeting the student and asking them how they are and ask them about anything interesting that they would like to say since the last lesson. I give the student options of conversation topics and also ask the student if they have any topics they prefer to talk about.

Next I guide the student in a conversation on the chosen topic all the while I am actually assessing the students needs which I give feedback on. I will always ask the student whether or not they would like correction throughout the conversation or after a ten minute interval say. At the end of the lesson I always go over the main correction points again to consolidate the learning so that the student knows what they need to work on in their own time, and so that I know how to help them progress in the following lessons.

English conversation classes including a few moments of free conversation at the beginning works well when getting to know students, and also works well with regular students. In time the confidence that they have gained can be maximised by taking the opportunity to use the language skills that they have learnt by practicing with their native speaking English teacher.

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Spoken English Trial Lesson

After I have reviewed the lesson and key points I then go over my availability and confirm lesson dates with the student, the agreed dates are immediately booked into my calendar. Throughout the lesson all corrections and grammar points are typed in situ into the students own Skype instant messenger for their reference. i.e. I touch type the corrections whilst I am still speaking.

What are your favorite conversation topics?

My own favourite conversation topics are discussing topical news stories, talking about travel, holidays and tourist destinations. Other topics include food, eating out, fashion and clothes making, and technology. I also enjoy talking about the creative arts such as the latest films.

For business English I enjoy discussing how to best present oneself in the boardroom of an important business meeting or conference/video conference call and how to get your point across using your best British RP accent. This includes discussing the best phrases and idioms and phrasal verbs used in business.

In your experience, what area in English do students need the most help? Grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation or something else?

In my experience most students who register for online conversation classes are usually upper intermediate level and above so they already have a firm foundation in grammar. I find that they need revision of how to use the tenses correctly, they already know them but when trying to achieve fluency make mistakes. Students also need to increase their vocabulary, to learn new expressions, including idioms, phrasal verbs and colloquial language.

Most Business English students (and General English students) also really want to soften their accents so that they can sound more like a native so pronunciation lessons are always very popular. Normally I would address each point as it comes up in the conversation and then review it at the end of the lesson to reinforce the learning. I also ask the student to repeat the correct phrase and sometimes if appropriate ask them to make up a phrase similar to the correct one using their own imagination. This also helps to reinforce the learning although this is not always appropriate in a conversation lesson.

What are your top 3 tips to ESL students around the world?

My top 3 ESL tips to students around the world are:

  1. Be confident, and take risks, try and then you will learn. You can only learn by trying.
  2. Trust your teacher. Native teachers can teach you English to a level beyond that of non-native speaking teachers.
  3. Best tip is for students to make a record of their lessons, bring a note pad and write down all the tips that were provided. Copy down into the note book all the notes and corrections that the teacher typed into Skype instant messenger. This will reinforce the learning. Then learn all new words, and write the new words into a dedicated vocabulary list – and look up all the definitions and uses of the new vocabulary.

A little bit about what you like to do when you are not teaching Business English

When I am not teaching English I like to sing, I like singing different operatic arias and sacred arias. I also like to listen to some contemporary Christian music. I spend time with my family and I like to surf the internet. I regularly go out to lunch with my family. I also like to go on short weekend breaks to Wales and enjoy the countryside there. sometimes I like to go to London to visit friends so I go to a nice coffee shop to meet them. My favourite shopping places in London are Wimbledon and Putney. They are easy to get to and relatively peaceful but still have all the amenities available.

British Business English Teacher

What kind of students do you prefer?

I prefer to teach mature students, in other words adults rather than children. so upper intermediate/intermediate level and above. Sometimes I have students who are actually foreign English teachers themselves (non-native speakers) and they ask me for tips on how to best teach their students. I also like professional students, such as business clients. I enjoy coaching college students and university students who need to improve their English for their course at University or to take University entry requisite exams such as IELTS and TOEIC. I don’t mind male or female.