What is your nationality and where do you currently reside?
I’m Canadian and I currently reside on the west coast of Canada. I actually live on an island which is about a 1hr 30 minute ferry ride from Vancouver.
What is your professional and educational background?
I have a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics and French with a linguistic specialization in language and society. I am TESOL certified and have experience teaching in person and online. I taught English for a year in Japan and have volunteered as an English conversation teacher with immigrants in Canada. I currently teach French and English online.
Which Bridge certifications or micro-credentials have you completed?
I have completed the following Bridge certifications: Teaching Business English, Teaching English Online Foundations and Advanced Methods, Teaching IELTS Exam prep, Teaching English as a Christian Service, and the Bridge TEFL Masters.
How long have you been teaching with BridgeEnglish?
I have been teaching with Bridge for about two years.
What languages do you speak?
I speak French and English. I did French Immersion in Canada, which means I spoke French at school starting in kindergarten. I also know some Spanish and I learned a little bit of German and Japanese. When teaching English, I try to remember what it was like to learn a new language and this helps me to be patient and understanding with my students. I love learning more about other languages and seeing the differences between them. Understanding another language helps me to think carefully when planning my lessons.
How long have you been teaching languages and what inspired you to become a language teacher?
I have been teaching languages for about 8 years now. I have always been fascinated by languages and this fascination grew from my French Immersion education. It was actually my Mom who encouraged me to get my TESOL certificate and once I completed it I started volunteering with a local organization that works with immigrants on English literacy and speaking skills. I realized I really enjoyed helping people learn English and then decided to pursue Linguistics at university. I love sharing my knowledge of language and in particular English with others. I recently started teaching French which I also enjoy. It’s a good challenge to teach my second language.
What is your teaching philosophy or approach to helping students learn a new language?
My approach to helping students learn a new language is based on my linguistic background and the fact that I have learned additional languages. I try to make the material relevant to the student’s work and their goals for the course. After learning new vocabulary or a grammar point, I ask students how they could use what they just learned at their workplace. I want students to feel like what they’re learning will be useful and to see why it’s important. If a student has a presentation coming up at work, I will see how we can incorporate the skills learned in class into that presentation. I also try to plan the course in a way that gives some flexibility. I like to have classes on occasion where the focus is on areas of difficulty from the course, other questions about English, or a specific skill for the workplace that may not be covered directly in the textbook. For example, a student may need to give presentations in English to clients. I then plan to have some time to work on presentation skills or show students how to apply what they learned in class to a presentation.
What do you think sets Bridge apart from other language schools, and why did you choose to teach here?
Bridge is different from other language schools because of the support given to teachers and the training opportunities. I chose Bridge as I am able to continue learning new skills through the different certificates and micro-certificates offered. I also appreciate all the support that is given to teachers. I never feel like I am left to figure things out on my own and I feel comfortable reaching out to the support staff when I need advice.
How do you incorporate your culture and background into your language lessons?
Cultural differences often come up when talking about workplace culture. I enjoy learning the differences between Canadian or North American culture and the culture of my students. When the material gives an opportunity for a cultural discussion, I try to encourage my students to share what is similar/different between what is said in the textbook and what happens in their home culture. Around the holidays, I also like to share with my students what we do in Canada and also learn about their holidays. The differences between holidays are always interesting too! Many countries celebrate Christmas or something similar and it’s fun to compare the traditions.
Can you share any tips or advice for professionals looking to improve their business communication skills in English?
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, that’s how you learn. An English class is the best environment to practice a new skill or try to move to another skill level. Making a mistake is actually the best way to learn. The more you try, the more you will improve. Don’t wait until you feel like you have perfected a skill. Just try so your teacher can help you learn. I also recommend finding ways to practice English outside of class that are enjoyable. If you’re having fun, it doesn’t feel so much like learning. If you enjoy cooking, you can practice English by reading recipes in English and trying to make them. Or you can watch a cooking show in English. Podcasts are also great. Do you commute to work? Then you can practice English at the same time. Listen to a podcast on a topic you enjoy or listen to music in English. Keep track of any new words, phrases, or expressions you don’t know. Go over them with your teacher and then practice using them with friends, family, or co-workers.