Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Nicolás Ramírez. I was born and raised in Santa Rosa, California. It is famous for being the hometown of Charlie Brown, a character from Charles Schultz’s comic strip, Peanuts.
I currently reside in Talca, Chile. It is a small but vibrant city surrounded by the beautiful Andes. I really love it here! I have both Chilean and US citizenship, which has given me an enriching and unique cultural perspective.
What is your educational background?
I possess a dual Master’s in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, a Bachelor’s in Communications, and a Certificate in Competency-Based Education.
In addition, I have Bridge certifications in Teaching Business English, Teaching English Online as a Freelancer, and Designing Custom Courses. I have taught with Bridge for over four years now. The institute provides an excellent working environment and professional development opportunities.
How long have you been teaching languages and what inspired you to become a language teacher?
I started teaching at Bridge way back in 2010 when I first came to Chile. I had to learn Spanish as a second language and experienced first-hand how challenging it could be. I decided to focus my educational background on Communications to help Spanish speakers improve their English skills.
I would travel all around Chile’s capital city, Santiago, to give classes at various companies. It was a fantastic opportunity to explore the city and get some teaching experience under my belt. In 2013 I became an English professor at Universidad de Talca and taught there for nearly a decade. I returned to Bridge to teach online courses in 2022.
My journey in teaching began with Bridge, and I’m happy to be back! It’s rewarding to make connections with my students and see them advance in their language proficiency and profession.
What is your teaching philosophy or approach to helping students learn a new language?
My teaching philosophy is simple: we learn by doing. The more you use English, the closer you will become to achieving your language goals. Thus, my aim is to offer engaging and interactive classes to provide my students with plenty of opportunities to use English in real-life scenarios. I have training in both Task-based and Competency-based education, so I adapt the materials and classes depending on the needs analysis of my students.
What do you think sets Bridge apart from other language schools, and why did you choose to teach here?
What makes Bridge special is its community of talented teachers from around the world. Bridge is a large, diverse, and passionate organization. It also has an excellent administrative staff, makes use of relevant teaching materials, and promotes professional development. I feel I am always making headway and improving in my field.
How do you incorporate your culture and background into your language lessons?
My father is from Chile and my mother is from the US. I grew up in a multicultural family and learned to respect and value the traditions of both sides. We live in a multicultural world, and this is especially important for business.
Many of my students interact with colleagues and clients from different countries and cultures, including the US. I enjoy incorporating my cultural experiences into my language lessons, which include learning about customs and idioms. I’ve had some enlightening conversations with my students, and I believe understanding culture helps build mutual trust and respect.
Do you use any particular resources or tools to enhance your students’ learning experiences? If so, can you provide some examples?
One reason I enjoy teaching classes online is I really love using technology. In fact, I find it fascinating! There are so many useful online tools such as Kahoot, Quizlet, Socrative, FlipGrid, Quill, Fluentize, etc. Currently, my favorite app is Nearpod. It is like a Swiss Army Knife of online resources and tools. I can create games, interactive videos, and virtual field trips. Who says learning English can’t be fun?
Can you share any tips or advice for professionals looking to improve their business communication skills in English?
Always practice. Get the most out of your classes and find a hobby that involves English. Practice outside of class as much as possible. If you can use English at work, practice as much as you can. Make time every day to learn and improve! Your motivation will bring success.