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  • Meet Native English Teacher Daniel

    Tell us a bit about your past experiences teaching English

    I taught English for one year online, where I met in virtual classrooms adult English learners from around the world.  I also taught English in a village in Oaxaca, Mexico, to students in their teens and early twenties whose first language was an indigenous language spoken in that region.  Finally, I taught conversational English to adults in Albania.

    Skype English ESLTeacher

    Tell us more about your education?

    I graduated with highest honors in history from the University of California, Berkeley.  I’m working on a Ph.D  in history at Stanford University.  For both degrees, my emphasis has been on the history of the Balkans.  As part of my education, I have done archival research in Albania, Kosovo, Serbia, and Russia.  I have learned to read Russian, German, Albanian, and Serbo-Croatian.  In addition, I speak Spanish.

     

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

    I envision picking with the student one theme to discuss during each session.  The student will talk about ¾ of the time.  I want to ask engaging questions surrounding an interesting, thought-provoking theme. Topics could include: employment, cultural differences, interior decorating, traveling, parenting, global warming, social networking, and others.

     

    What are your favorite conversation topics?

    My favorite topics are“parenting,” and for students who are not parents, “being raised by strict parents.” Usually, students have plenty to share.

     

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

    Even advanced ESL students struggle with phonology.  Many have very little background in phonology.  While I stay away from linguistic discussion, I enjoy explaining to students the differences within pairs like“B” and “P”, “D” an “T”, “F” and “V”.  We use our vocal chords, lungs, mouths and tongues differently when we form different parts of the pairs.  I have found success with native speakers of Spanish, which shares consonants with English but does not have the same phonology.  Thus, I explain to native speakers of Spanish how D and some other consonants are not pronounced the same in English and Spanish.

    Prepositions are also difficult for students.  The influence of other languages will appear in their misuse of prepositions in English.  For examples, Russian speakers might say “on the park” instead of “in the park” or “to the park”.  I point these mistakes out to students, and assign practice homework.

     

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

    1. Study English for one hour a day, and try not to skip days.  2. Don’t be discouraged if you feel like you’ve had a frustrating day with conversation.  Even on a day full of  mistakes, you’re brain is still processing concepts.  3.  Don’t be shy about speaking English.

     

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

    I love Latin dancing (salsa, bachata, cumbia), and am a member of a dance collective in Mexico.

     

    What kind of students do you prefer?

    I prefer students who are curious about learning, and students who are not afraid to challenge themselves.

    September 24, 2015
    24 September 2015,
     Off
  • 7 Day Free
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    Not Theory!

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