Feeling boxed in
Do you need to improve your fluency or confidence when speaking English? I can help you. Lo que dicen mis alumnos.
I have been teaching English for the last 15 years. I now specialise in one-to-one teaching for executives, and I have developed a unique teaching style based on quick, direct, individual feedback.
- The objective of my classes is to increase my students’ fluency and confidence. Grammar instruction is limited to the minimum necessary to help the student with a particular problem.
- Where texts or listening materials are used in class these are completely up-to-date, authentic materials – the type of texts which students might expect to encounter in their daily jobs.
- During the class I make notes about the student’s conversation on my PC; periodically discuss these notes with the student; and subsequently email them to the student for review and self study.
Potential students in the Bilbao area may have a free, no-obligation, 20-minute demonstration class.
If you are a student and would like to contact me, please sign up for an account on this wiki and use "E-mail this user" link to the left of this page.
Detailed Description and logic behind my teaching system
My personalised teaching system is designed to address two problems:
- Problem 1. Many executives and office workers have studied English extensively, and may have a good knowledge of grammar, but still have problems when they need to converse fluently with other speakers. Frequently their lack of fluency embarrasses then and makes them even less fluent.
- Problem 2. Non-native speakers make repeated simple errors when they have to speak to native speakers. Frequently - as the person they are speaking to is able to understand what is being said - they are not even aware that they are making such errors, even though it is obviously incorrectly phrased.
My one-to one classes are designed to address these twin problems. A class is typically carried out as follows.
The student and I talk about some subject of interest. For example a company project, a recent news story from an English newspaper, a question of general interest, a recording from the BBC.
During the conversation I make notes in three columns on my portable PC. In the first column I identify errors, slips of grammar, pronunciation or vocabulary. The second column is blank and the third column is used to note good structures or to note problems which the student has overcome since the beginning of the course.
After about ten or twenty minutes we talk about the notes. We first talk about the positive aspects in the right hand column. There are two reasons for this 1) a class which consists only of telling the student what they have done wrong is not very motivating and 2) to confirm to the student that he or she is overcoming problems.
Then we consider the first column and we work together to identify and correct the problems one by one. When the correct word or expression has been agreed I add the corrected form, word, pronunciation, phrase or whatever in the second column and the process is repeated until we have covered all the issues. We then return to the conversation and the process is repeated.
At the end of the class the student is given (or emailed) a copy of the class notes for subsequent study and revision.
How this helps fluency: The student’s “flow” is not interrupted at any time with corrections or suggestions, as notes are made on the PC. This means that the student learns to simply speak without interruption in the knowledge that any problems will be addressed later.
My manner is completely non-judgemental. I am there because the student needs my help to improve their language skills. Making mistakes is an important part of the learning process.
How this helps accuracy: many students tend to have their own set of personal mistakes which they regularly repeat. If they have been making the same mistake for years it is highly unlikely that they will change their behaviour if it is only pointed out once. However if they have regular personalised English classes then the fact that the issue gets repeatedly mentioned is far more likely to eliminate the problem.