Kseniya had been a teacher of English for 4 years, then took a break to work as Assistant to CEO of a high-profile company. After that she realized she missed teaching English and wouldn’t mind going back to that. Just in time, a new format presented itself - teaching online! We are glad Kseniya joined us, and by the way, she wouldn’t be working for any company in Belarus if not online because recently she moved to the beautiful city of Prague! Take the chance to take classes with her. It’s a teacher with a lot of experience, an open-minded and active person, a yoga enthusiast and just a sunny soul.
OC (Online Class): Kseniya, where did you use to teach?
K (Kseniya): I spent 4 years working as a teacher at different language schools, working with corporate clients as well. That is where I learned some teaching methods and techniques because initially I studied to be an interpreter.
OC: Did you learn most of your English at university?
K: I think most people will agree that higher education is as useful as you yourself are willing to make it. I lived in London for 3 months and I think it improved my English a lot, I read a lot there and most importantly spoke to people. As everyone knows, spending time in conversation with native speakers is the best way to get ahead in learning a language.
OC: What if somebody has no chance to go abroad?
K: I’m sure there are opportunities to choose from. Speaking English is not limited to English-speaking countries either. The whole Europe with the infamous exception of France speaks English too. I used to live in Lithuania and I know for a fact that even though most young people can speak Russian, they choose not to do so. And everyone speaks English fluently! I now live in the Czech Republic and it’s just the same, everyone’s English is perfect.
OC: What’s wrong with Belarus? You can’t say the same about our people.
K: That’s true. Even recent graduates of schools and universities don’t always speak English well, and it doesn’t matter if they passed their exams well or have a diploma. The main reason for that is teaching methods. We are taught to do exercises, to memorize vocabulary, 3 forms of verbs, etc. In real life and in real conversation you won’t have to fill in spaces in written sentences. You have to be able to fully express your thoughts, react to people’s words, employ some colloquial phrases and formulas of politeness… We are not really taught to do that properly.
OC: That’s true.
K: That’s where self-education and language courses come in. Speaking English is not just a choice today. It’s essential for any modern person so relying on school and university to teach you is pointless. Make the effort yourself! I majored in English at my grammar school but all I learned was really just a bunch of grammar rules. On the one hand, it’s great, because learning grammar is not unlike learning to ride a bicycle, at some point it becomes a basic skill you can’t unlearn. On the other hand, if I hadn’t done a lot studying on my own, I wouldn’t speak English well.
OC: Is it possible to learn a language on your own?
K: In general, there are more opportunities today than there used to be. When I was learning English, the Internet was already there but it was kind of still a novelty and there were no such services as YouTube, for example. And just think of it now - where else would you go to find something extra for your class? Where would you watch videos? Where could you do interactive tests? Where could you download books and audio files? Today it’s silly to complain you have no means of learning foreign languages. Just choose whatever suits and interests you, there are so many options to choose from.
OC: What can you say about learning online? Is it efficient?
K: I really don’t feel the difference. I’s absolutely the same as being in a room with 2 or 3 students. Except that nobody would really rent a room for 2 or 3 students only. In regular language schools, groups of 5-6 people are considered to be mini-groups and they cost more. For Online Class, 3 people is the largest group, and of course it’s much more efficient to study like that.
OC: Do your students have success stories that have to do with English?
K: For most of my teaching career I worked with larger groups of people, so it was hard to build personal relationships with each student and track their progress as the classes ended. And by the way, close communication and confidence around each other that develop in a small group are a huge advantage for learning languages. The goal is to learn to speak, to express your thoughts and opinions, so feeling comfortable is important. When I taught people individually… one boy immigrated to Canada, for example, he passed his IELTS exam.
OC: You have prepared him to IELTS?
K: Yes. To do that, the person already has to have certain knowledge of English, at least at a Pre-Intermediate level. He worked hard and got what he wanted. One girl now lives in Norway, we keep in touch. Norwegian is hard to learn and English helps a lot at the moment. If I try to remember my groups of corporate clients, there was a great group in a logistics company. I remember them well because they were total beginners and we have covered a whole level with them. They went on to take classes of specialized English. They loved learning it and I’m sure it’s a great new skill for them to succeed professionally.
OC: What do you do if your students are not motivated?
K: There’s always a reason for that, so I try to find that reason. Everyone is different. Some people just don’t like certain types of activities in class, others rely on a type of memory that is different from the one you are trying to stimulate. By the way, detecting someone’s dominant memory type is often the key to success. One more thing, I feel I don’t have the right to put any pressure on my students for not knowing something, not learning something, not doing their homework. They pay for these classes and they know what they come for. It’s not a state school, and the learning process should be fun. Especially for adult people who take classes after work. They may come in very tired and 60 minutes of something boring is much too much.
OC: Are your classes interesting then?
K: I try to make them interesting. For those students that already speak some English, I bring different videos, authentic ones. It’s the best way for them to test themselves and their understanding of native speech. At a beginner level, it’s too early for videos… But in any case some interaction should be there. We often play games. Yes, I work with adult people, they can put in an hour without having to be entertained, but everyone’s memory works in the same way. It doesn’t work equally well for long stretches of time, longer than 20 minutes in fact. To remember things, you have to be distracted, then go back to it again.
If you like what you’ve just read, it’s time to sign up for your very first free lesson with Online Class. At that lesson, you can find out which teachers on our team (or which native speakers if you fancy having native speaker classes) are available. Have you read about them all? We will accommodate for your interests and learning goals, and find you classes at any time you find convenient. We look forward to meeting you!