FAQs Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do you have a teaching qualification?

A: Yes. I have a CELTA teaching qualification (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) awarded by Cambridge University. CELTA is recognised worldwide by schools, universities and other organizations which employ English language teachers. It equips its graduates with the principles of effective teaching. CELTA alumni possess a range of practical skills for teaching English to adult learners. The program incorporates training in the following areas: understanding teaching and learning contexts; language analysis and awareness; the 4 language skills (reading, listening, speaking, writing); planning and resources for different teaching contexts; and finally, developing teaching skills and professionalism.

Q: What teaching methodology do you use?

A: The CELTA method of teaching subscribes very much to the communicative approach. This means that the emphasis is not so much on analysing the language, but instead learning by actually using the language. This involves the use of a mixture of different activities throughout a class, to ensure consistent changes in the dynamics of each lesson.

Q: What experience do you have?

A: Up to now I have worked with people from the following professions: Architects, Artists, Bakers, Bank Employees, Beauticians, Construction Engineers, Doctors, Graphic Designers, Housewives, Lawyers, Logistics Managers, Machine Engineers, Marketing Advisors, Salespeople, Software Developers, Students (university level and high school level), Tax Advisors, Waiters...and once I even taught English to a Sailor! All these people wanted private English lessons that were tailored to meet their own personal goals and adapted to their own learning preferences and speed.

Q: Do you teach only General English? Or do you also teach more specific areas (English for Business, English for the Art World, English for the Music Business, English for Accounting, English for Marketing, English for Finance etc)?

A: Yes, I teach all the above. If you are looking for a teacher with a strong background in both English teaching and Business or any of the above, I am likely to be a very good fit for what you need. Many other ESL instructors might be fine teachers, but they won't necessarily have the personal business/professional experience which I can also bring to the English lessons.

Q: Can you help me prepare for a job interview?

A: Yes, I can. I have worked very successfully with many people who had a specific career goal like this. In order to understand the position you are applying for (and so we can make progress quickly!), all additional information about the job will be useful. If you have the exact advertisement of the job vacancy or job description, please email it to me before the class. It will be a good source of vocabulary and practice for us. Also, who will do the interview? What do we know about him / her? Is he/she the only decision-maker? Do you have to submit a resume and cover letter or will it be more like a casual interview? This will all be useful information for us to be aware of as we plan how to achieve your goal.

Q: What is a typical class like?

A: Since it is a conversation-based class in order to develop your speaking skill, there will be lots of talking. Preferably by you! With me listening and correcting and asking questions. In order to make the conversation interesting for you, we usually begin by reading a short article based on a topic or theme that is of interest to you (art, business, finance, TV etc.). We will then use that as a starting point for conversation, identifying useful vocabulary from the article, getting the pronunciation right and asking questions. Generally however, each class is structured to have a good combination of language skills: speaking, listening, reading. There will usually be plenty of vocabulary-building to get your level moving upwards from where it's stuck right now.

Q: Where and when do classes take place?

A: Classes can take place at any time through Skype. Classes can be scheduled throughout the week, Monday to Sunday, mornings, afternoons or evenings, depending on your schedule and my schedule. Since I am located in New York and you might be be in a different time zone, you can check my availability and book me here.

Q: Can I do the conversation class without a camera?

A: Yes, you can. However, I do recommend we both have our cameras switched on, if you can! It will be easier for communication and therefore a better learning experience for you. I will definitely switch on my camera during the class, so you can see me. If you want to switch on your camera too, that's great. If you prefer not to, it's OK.

Q: How long is each class?

A: Normally one hour (60 minutes), but you can also book a 2 hour class.

Q: Why should I take private classes with you when I can pay a language school and go to group classes instead?

A: I have taught in both these settings, so I can compare and contrast them. In a group-learning situation, you will sit in an English class learning what the teacher has decided will be most appropriate for the whole group of 10 or 20 students. The teacher will be aiming at an average level somewhere in the middle of the group. Unless you are very lucky, your level will probably not be exactly in the middle, so you will feel that most of the other students are learning too slowly or too quickly for you. Compare this to a private lesson: the materials and the teaching style will be exactly suited to your needs and your learning abilities and interests.

Q: How quickly can I expect to see results?

A: It depends how hard you are prepared to let me work with you on improving your English. Motivation is everything! As a general rule, lower level students will make progress a lot quicker than students at a more advanced level. This is always the case in language learning: we make progress quickly at the start, but at some point above the intermediate level we have already learned the basics, so we start to reach a language plateau, like the flat top of a mountain, where it is more difficult to keep moving upwards. This concept is also known as fossilization. You can read more about it here..

Q: Have you ever learned a new language yourself?

A: Yes, I have. Years ago, I decided to move to Germany. I had never learned the German language, so several months beforehand I began to teach myself using a book and cassette tape. Once I arrived, I realized just how badly prepared I was! My vocabulary was extremely limited. When I talked, I sounded like a small child! It was a humbling experience. Although I can now say I'm fluent in German, that first difficult year was a useful first-hand experience of the frustrations of language learning. I bring a lot of that knowledge into my work as a teacher now, helping my students find the shortcuts that will accelerate their own language learning.

Q: Can I buy a package of lessons / classes and get a discount?

A: Yes, this is certainly possible to buy a 'package' of 20, 30 or 40 classes. Contact me for more details.

Contact me by phone or email now to ask a question or to organize a first class.