February 7, 2019
Question from Paul: Were you always an EFL teacher, and if not why not?
nominating me and your question, Paul. No, I was not always an EFL teacher. I
had a number of careers and a period at Sussex University as a ‘mature student’.
I worked on projects in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan until 1987. I then started
teaching in Brighton and got a teaching certificate from the University of
Cambridge. I was also diagnosed with thrombosis… Read the rest
January 7, 2019
1. Question from Carol: What kinds of things have your students taught you?
Listen to what the student wants to learn before you start teaching what you want to teach.
2. For someone who has only taught in Germany, what are some of the challenges one might face when starting work in an Arabic culture?
For men, any kind of physical contact with women in some Arab countries is best avoided. For women, the problem can be social isolation. Going… Read the rest
December 10, 2018
1. Question from Nick: Which issues are most frequently cited by Business English students as being most problematic for them?
It used to be grammar that students would agonise about, although their inaccuracies rarely impeded communication. Now, increasingly, I’m hearing about difficulties understanding accented English from business partners, sometimes non-native speakers – Indian, Spanish and Chinese for instance – but also American and British. The remedy, as with other areas, is practice. Students can assume nothing can be achieved by… Read the rest
November 6, 2018
1. Question from Phoebe: How do you bring your theatre background into the classroom?
Maybe a bunch of micro-teaching skills: giving instructions, using your voice (presentations, lectures), improvising, an interest in lesson structures as storylines. Maybe, showing off? Seriously, if you’ve never come across Keith Johnstone (Impro from Methuen), there’s a lot to learn from some of his theatre training exercises, particularly in relation to the strange ability humans have to produce sentences they haven’t planned consciously – you know,… Read the rest
October 5, 2018
1. Question from Rob: how has doing the Neurolanguage Coach training has changed the way you teach English?
A great deal. I used to tell a lot more, talk more; now I listen more, facilitate the learning process, sensing how my student/s are feeling, what ‘mode’ their brain is in, how they like to learn. I’m sure many experienced teachers do this intuitively anyhow, but the coaching course put labels on things, gave me pointers and guidelines, and some more… Read the rest
September 3, 2018
1. Question from Sarah: What advice would you give to a new freelance teacher breaking away from language schools and finding their own clients? Also what advice would you give to people wanting to change their career and become a freelance English teacher?
If you’re looking to find your own clients, I’d recommend setting up a good quality website with a professional photo and using Google Ads to get it noticed. Use the website to tell your potential clients who… Read the rest
August 6, 2018
1. Galina would like you to share your great idea for giving feedback/homework/revision by recording a short message.
What’s worked wonders with my private students and very small group lately has been me making an audio recording on their smart phone (or for small groups an audio message in a WhatsApp group) at the very end of class. I make it no longer than 5min and monologue through what we covered in class, repeat new vocabulary with an example in… Read the rest
July 7, 2018
Xing Profile: https://www.xing.com/profile/Halyna_Khinchuk
1. Do you have any tips for new or future parents who are also freelance?
This is really a tricky one. What I learnt about parenting is that there are no rights or wrongs.
There’s only what is ‘right’ and ‘good’ for your family and your child. That’s why there is no
universal recipe for new or future parents.
For me, the first baby experience was back in Ukraine with full support from both my… Read the rest
June 12, 2018
1. You taught in Hong Kong for a while, what took you there?
I think it was a culmination of things, but ultimately it boiled down to wanting a challenge: getting out of my comfort zone, working on my professional development, diversifying my experience. At the time I was in a comfortable work situation at Wall Street English, and freelancing on the side, and it dawned on me that I was already settling – at 24! So, my partner and… Read the rest
May 11, 2018
Website: eigenenglish.de exitroute.org
1. What was the best/worst thing about managing a language school?
Sharing success/failing personally.
2. Do you think managing a language schools gave new insights into teaching?
Yes, plenty. Especially with all the practical work with teachers: 1000s of hours of observations, feedback sessions, doing new teacher onboarding, taking about PDP and teaching goals, and running teacher workshops. I got to find out how dozens of other teachers think about teaching and working in the classroom. It… Read the rest