You recently moved to Berlin; how did you find out about Eltabb and why did you join?
I found out about Eltabb through my first employer, All on Board Language School. I think Eltabb is a great organisation through which I can meet other English teachers in the Berlin area, through either social or professional development events.
What are the main differences to teaching English and German in your experience?
Well, they are both languages so teaching them essentially isn't very different. Similar methods and teaching techniques can be applied to both languages equally. Having said that, German grammar tends to be slightly more complex. Getting used to the different cases can be quite a challenge for beginners.
You mentioned you teach both English and German; do you find your teaching methodology changes? Do your students have the same expectations?
I don’t think my methodology necessarily changes. Each class and every student is different and according to their differing expectations, methods and techniques always have to be adapted. A lot of my English learners in Berlin, are advanced learners improving their English for business purposes, whereas my German students tend to be beginners who want to improve their skills for everyday use. I try to implement methods and techniques that work best for each individual and meet their needs.
As a learner of German, I’m often told that German is harder to learn than English. As a teacher of both languages, what do you say about this?
I think it depends on the individual’s motivation and the amount of time invested. I know quite a few people from abroad who were absolute beginners when they first arrived and now speak brilliant German. My advice for any beginner of any language would be ‘Speak, speak, speak!’
What’s your favourite game/activity for beginners?
Go Fish – It’s a card game that can be used to learn grammar structures or vocabulary.
What were some of the highlights of living and working in Vietnam?
The people, the food and the opportunity to travel and see new places. One of the highlights was a 4-day school trip to the countryside. We hosted a bunch of activities, team building exercises and competitions for the pupils. It was great seeing their team spirit and watching them grow over the course of a summer school program.
Coming from Vietnam, what did you find surprising about working in Berlin?
Riding the U-Bahn on my daily commute was definitely a change. Ho Chi Minh City is a city where the main vehicle used by the population is a scooter or motorbike of some kind. When I first got there, it was a real shocker seeing almost only bikes and hardly any cars on the roads. Here is a little video to give you an impression.
If I remember correctly, you have a PGCE and a CELTA; how have each of these qualifications helped you in your work?
(I have a TEFL. Not a CELTA 🙂
A focus on creative, interactive and engaging teaching methods have helped me plan my lessons in a way that they are relevant to the learner, interesting and enjoyable.
Who would you like to nominate as ELTABBer of the month for May?
I don’t know so many people so I’d like to ask Theresa to nominate someone. Theresa says: Katerina Lanickova
Questions and editing by Mandy Welfare