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  • Meet Native English Teacher Sarah

    Describe your past experiences teaching Spoken English

    I have taught English for over four years to various different audiences. I have taught children as young as 18 months and adults up to 60+ years old so as you can imagine, the conversation topics have been very different! I have taught in pre-schools, primary schools, high schools and English Language schools so I have a variety of experience and flexibility in my work.

     

    Native British English Teacher

    Tell us more about your education?

    I have a degree from the University of the West of English, Bristol in International Business Studies with French. I also spent a year of this degree studying in France at the ICN in Nancy.

    Since my degree I have specialized in teaching English, first completing my TEFL/TESOL certificate, then completing a certificate in International English Exam Preparation and I am currently studying to teach Business English.

     

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

    I like to keep up to date with recent events and global topics so as I am reading the daily news I save interesting topics for my classes. These can be about anything, and in any form, a video, link to a news article or a Podcast. If I think the topic will be of interest to a client, I will either show it them in class or send it to them ahead of time via Skype, then we can chat about it during the class. You can be comfortable discussing any topic with me, and having any opinion…although I will always share mine too so we can turn the class into a debate!

     

    What are your favorite conversation topics?

    – Culture and traditions of different countries. I have lived in five countries and traveled in many more so I have a good varied experience of culture and traditions around the world. However, there are many places I haven’t been yet and I would imagine the students would be able to tell me about. Sharing culture, traditions, food likes etc from around the world is something I never get tired of talking about.

    – International Development is a huge passion of mine. I love reading up on new innovations and new inspiring people who are trying to make the world a better place. Be it Malala, Obama or Steve Jobs, I love discussing the pros and cons of what people are doing to make the world a better place.

    – recent news – I enjoy keeping up to date with recent news. As news can be about any topic it keeps the classes interesting a varied.

     

    In your experience, what area in English do students need the most help? Grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation or something else? How would you address this in your classes?

    I think confidence in speaking is the biggest area students need help when learning a language. When I learn languages, I am always terrified of speaking, even though I know how important it is!

    You can argue that through speaking you can learn vocabulary, pronunciation and to a certain extent grammar. But, the only way you can learn to speak English well is through, well, speaking English! The way I combat it in class is to have the students say as much as possible. Be it reading the date, the objective, the topic of conversation, a newspaper article out loud or whatever is available. If you get a student to read everything, before they know it, they have been speaking for 20 minutes without worrying about it! From there, they can build their confidence to speak more and more without having a prompt to work from. This is something I think native English teachers are best placed to do. When a student is speaking, their native teacher is able to pick up on all mistakes and either correct them as the student is speaking or at the end.

     

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

    1) TALK! Talking in another language is so scary but it is the most important part of learning a language in my opinion. Find your comfortable space, with someone who can help you and talk until you feel confident speaking English!

     

    2) TED Talks: Use TED talks or Podcasts or English radio or films, however you can listen to English in a way you enjoy listening to things. Put on the subtitles if you feel it is necessary and listen as much as you can. You must be able to understand English when spoken to be able to speak back so this will help with tip number one!

     

    3) Surround yourself with English: Whether you change your language on Facebook to English, stick signs around your house in English, read a good book every month or scroll the BBC website each morning to get the latest news in English. Read English as much as you can, this will expand your vocabulary and get you more comfortable using the language in your everyday life.

     

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

    I have a very happy life in Guatemala! When I am not teaching English online, I also love to give back by teaching in schools as a volunteer. I teaching English in a school for financially disadvantaged children and I am a teaching assistant in a schools for disabled children. I also teach English to staff at a family planning and sexual health NGO and help with their medical campaigns when needed.

    When not volunteering I love walking my dogs and doing other exercise whilst enjoying the beautiful mountains and volcanoes that surround me as far as the eye can see! I also love spending time with my boyfriend, his family and my friends, practicing Spanish or enjoying spending time with other foreigners that live here.

     

    What kind of students do you prefer?

    Students come in all shapes and sizes and I am happy to adapt my classes to meet their needs and goals. However, what I can’t give is the desire to learn a language, that has to come from the student. So, a happy student, ready to learn is all I ask for!

    January 21, 2016
    21 January 2016,
     Off
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