I have been teaching English as a foreign language on and off since 2000. I started in Argentina where simply being English was enough to land a job in an academy. It’s where I had to rapidly learn English grammar. ‘What does ‘do’ mean in a question?’ was the first question that completely flummoxed me (definition: bewildered, perplexed or confused).
I moved to Spain and worked in the University of Barcelona for around seven years. It was prestigious. And I also experimented a lot with classes. Over the years I came to see that some students wanted to pass exams rather than learn to communicate in English and it seemed rather useless to have a piece of paper but not be able to have a conversation. So I began to concentrate on informal conversation classes. It is like being thrown into the deep water and having to learn to swim. It is not sat behind a comfortable text book (that I would recommend for any beginner) but it is making the brain work, using what it has learnt. I developed a great system of having classes in bars and cafes with groups of people who were already, or became, friends. We would meet because we wanted to meet. My job was to maintain everyone spoke in English. I would also give homework (that was rarely done) and if there were recurring issues, I’d stop and give grammatical explanations. It really worked. It was fun, relaxed and nourishing. People began to be more fluent naturally.
Needless to say, I offer group conversation classes in bars and cafes, also beginner classes and individual classes for those who need to pass exams such as First Certificate or Proficency. I know a lot of the tricks of the exams. It’s possible to do face-to-face and over internet.
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