1. What do you specialise in?
I specialise in teaching general and specialised English to beginner and intermediate level students. Gain more than just comprehension of new words and phrases – step into a new world and feel immediately at home.
2. What can I expect from you as my teacher?
- Firsthand experience of life in Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Germany and Norway
- A love of the Aussie, Kiwi, Swiss, German and Norwegian cultures
- A passion for studying and preserving languages and dialects
- Experience in training people from all walks of life
- Skill and flexibility in customised lesson planning
- Diverse professional knowledge and working experience
3. What are your qualifications?
I have university training and professional experience in linguistics and language learning.
4. Are you a native speaker?
Yes, I did all my schooling in English and also studied linguistics at university level in Australia. I was brought up by a Swiss-French mother who spoke French to me, and although I was raised in a bilingual household, my dominant (native) language is English.
5. Some say you don’t sound like a native English speaker?
Oh well, not everyone is perfect :) The question is how should I sound? I’m a reflection of my upbringing and the influences I’ve had in my life.
6. Is a native speaker always the best choice?
Training with a native speaker might be a high priority on your language learning list. But have you considered that simply being taught by a native speaker is not enough.
It’s definitely good to have a native speaker for pronunciation practice and for learning slang and idiomatic phrases, but the native speaker who teaches you should also be skilled in teaching, especially language teaching. By this, I don’t mean that they have to be a registered teacher, but it is essential that they know how to teach and more specifically, how to teach a language.
Why is this important? There is quite a debate raging about who can teach a language better: a native speaker or a well-trained non-native speaker. Sometimes there is no difference between the two. For example, some native speakers are not very good at grammar, are unable to explain why their language is the way it is and possess minimal teaching skills. Contrast this to some non-native speakers who are well-trained in their second or third foreign language and have lived abroad acquiring many years experience in the target language/s. They may also know how to teach their acquired language.
The earlier you start learning a language, the better your mind and brain are adapted to and shaped by it. That’s why a native speaker is often the highly-prized choice. But together with that needs to be the ability to teach, understand the learning process, the way people immerse themselves in a new language, and what parts of the language need to be taught and how.
7. Why should I choose you?
My lessons are rarely about sitting with your nose buried in a textbook. I know what it’s like to arrive in a foreign country and have to fumble your way through the language, especially when you can’t afford a language course. I also understand there are many different learning types, which is why I put myself in your shoes to ensure you receive the best learning experience. A lesson is rarely a one-way experience with me: I’m also keen to learn from you – about your life, your culture and more.
8. Why pay for a lesson?
There are a lot of language schools online and offline, as well as websites and resources where you can learn a language for free. Why should you even pay for a lesson?
There’s a system to learning a language that can make your life very easy. For most people this system is unconscious – we learned it as babies and developed it during our school years.
Speaking our mother tongue is an inbuilt habit; we don’t even think about it. However, when forced to explain why we say certain things the way we do, we may find ourselves at a loss. For those who learn a second or third language, this system becomes stronger with regular use and is consciously employed to help accelerate the learning of other languages. Not only an experienced teacher but also a language specialist (someone who likes learning languages, has taught themselves and knows how to explain language) knows what this system is. This knowledge helps make sense of a language which may at first appear very confusing and overwhelming (where on earth do I start?).
Learning a language by yourself requires discipline and motivation. People often have good intentions (buy a home language pack) but life can get in the way. Speaking with native speakers in Skype or similar environment is very important, but there is a difference between learning and practice. Learning feeds you with the essential information you need in easy-to-digest bite size pieces. Practice makes this knowledge and information ‘second nature’ or ‘unconscious’. Not every native speaker knows how to explain their mother tongue’s grammar, quirks, frustrations or points of interest. They may not even correct you, for fear of being impolite.
Free online content provides you with a basic springboard into a language. They are a one-way passive learning tool. To develop and expand on the new information you learn, you need active practice with someone who can make sure your valuable time is not wasted. Enter a tutor. For a small amount of money, a tutor can feed you with those easy-to-digest bite size pieces of language information that will ultimately help you save money and time in the long run. A tutor can be a qualified teacher or a specialist (a person who is not trained as a teacher but whose passion is their mother tongue or an acquired language).
Please note that paying a high price for language learning does not guarantee quality. Big name schools and the standard courses offered in your country may not be the most appropriate either. It really does pay to seek out and ‘try before you buy’. Language learning is a fun and satisfying experience when you have the right tutor and method suited to your personality and needs.
9. Why hire a trainer and not just buy a self-paced language CD?
The immediate guidance and feedback of a real life tutor is vital to language learning success. Learning a language is an active social experience – it involves talking and communicating with others. Through this interaction, a tutor can see where your weak points lie and stop you from repeating the same mistakes over and over. At the same time, a tutor can also identify your strengths and focus on building them up. A tutor is trained to see, hear and feel what type of personality you are, and offer role playing scenarios, activities and themes that will interest you and benefit your learning style. We often have good intentions but sometimes lack the discipline or will when following a self-paced course. A tutor is a coach and a motivator, who will help you stay on track towards your goal, so that you can spend more time doing the good stuff.
10. How many lessons should a learner have per week?
If you are serious about learning a language, it’s best to keep in practice every day. However, it also depends on your budget, commitments and work schedule. Between 2-3 lessons per week is recommended to advance quickly.
11. How much do you charge?
My base teaching rate online is from 180 NOK, € 18 EUR and AUD$ 27 per 45 minutes.
12. What are your payment options?
Payment methods accepted include: bank transfer, Vipps and cash.
13. Are there any conditions I should be aware of?
Yes, there is a 24-hours advance notice for all cancellations.
14. Where can we meet?
The classroom doesn’t have to be indoors. In fact, I prefer when a lesson takes place outdoors, if possible. A lesson can take place anywhere, on the train, in a cafe or park, online using Skype, or in person. Whichever suits you.
15. What age group do you teach?
I have taught almost every age group, from primary school age right up to retirees.
16. How big are your classes?
Normally I teach one-on-one. In the case of group training, my classes are no larger than three. From experience, a maximum of six is ideal. This ensures everyone has the opportunity to speak and practise, and personalised attention can be given.
17. What kind of English, Norwegian or German can you teach?
I offer business and general, as well as specialised language training. If you require assistance and preparation with one of the Cambridge or the IELTS examination, then please feel welcome to contact me for a quote. My lessons are for beginners and cover the levels of A1, A2 and B1. I prefer to have students from beginner level onwards, so that I can be instrumental in shaping their progress.
18. What books do you use in class?
I use a variety of books depending on the student’s goals and needs. I have used books from Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Klett, Longman Pearson, Hueber and Cornelsen. Each has their strength and focal point. If there is a particular book that you wish to use, please let me know. I would be happy to review it and incorporate it into our lessons. The purchase of books is the responsibility of the client and the price is not included in my lesson rates.
19. What benefits can I expect?
- Perfect your pronunciation
- Tune your ear to different accents
- Lose your fear to speak
- Gain confidence in your ability
- Discover cultural differences and similarities
- Enjoy grammar with fun games
- Increase your vocabulary
- Receive instant feedback and correction
- Prepare yourself for any kind of scenario
- Challenge and practise your skills
- Problem-solve on the spot
- Build your knowledge base
20. Have you got any tips on learning a language?
Yes, above all, use all of your senses to embrace the language you’re learning. There are so many free materials out there, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on learning a language. But be aware of what constitutes quality and what doesn’t.
- Speak as much as you can. Make mistakes. Listen to others. Cut and paste. Above all, try.
- A practice buddy will help you progress; so try to avoid learning in isolation.
- Take a notepad with you everywhere you go. Note down every word or phrase you hear that piques your interest. Learn more about it later and then start incorporating it into your vocabulary.
- Read, read and read more. Practice the new words, phrases and expressions you read.
- Watch movies with and without subtitles. Get used to hearing the language (on the radio) and being able to recognise individual and strings of words rather than just a blur of sounds. - Finally, write, and then write some more. Writing is one of the best ways of training your brain and memory.
21. How do I know what my level is?
Easy, contact me for a free placement test upon booking a lesson.
22. What should I do next?
Contact me as soon as you are ready.
23. What is language?
Benjamin Lee Whorf said: “Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about.” This is certainly true but language can also be expressed by silence and emptiness. We don’t necessarily have to think in order to communicate or to use language. Better said, language is a way of communicating feeling, but for each communication there is a different purpose, reason and set of rules or methods to follow. Learning a language is a lot more than learning how to speak. Language also comprises a non-verbal component and its many nuances. As a student of language, you also learn the unspoken cultural elements, from body language, symbols, gestures, to silent messages and more. Culture and language are inseparable.
24. What about the preservation of languages and dialects?
I understand the influence and impact English has had on world languages and dialects. Terms such as Denglish or Franglais highlight how English words have taken over other languages and threaten their linguistic purity.
I see language learning as more than just me teaching you. I see it as a two-way exchange. As part of the teaching process, I want to help you preserve your own mother tongue/s. This means filtering out loan words from your language and keeping your mother tongue as pure as possible. I hope that you won’t just acquire a second or third language, but also acquire a greater understanding and awareness of your first language.
25. What is the right language?
Many language students are concerned with learning the ‘right’ English. This is a bit like asking what is good art or what is art. The answer is pretty subjective. In reality, there is no ‘right’ way to speak a language. There are many instances of a language that work for the people and the situations they find themselves in.
I understand that the language people speak out in the street may differ greatly to the language taught in the classroom. While there will certainly be times when you need to speak ‘right’ (when sitting an exam), more often than not, you will come across a form of your target language that isn’t perfectly packaged, and you will still have to understand or use it. I place a fair amount of focus on recognising these variations, so that you won’t be caught out.
26. Why bilingual or trilingual learning?
Why not? Learning and communicating in two or more languages in every day life is more normal than we think. There are more bilingual or multilingual speakers around the world than there are monolingual.
However, being bilingual doesn’t necessarily mean being perfect in two different languages. It simply means being able to communicate and be understood in two different languages. Quite often, one language is spoken at work or school, another at home, and yet another with friends or in another social environment. How much practice a particular language gets depends on the context and reason why it is being used.
Of course, there are different kinds of communication levels: miming and finger pointing can indicate a very low level of fluency in a language; while conversing about philosophical topics can indicate a high level of fluency.
My aim with these trilingual readers is to build a foundational level of trilingual fluency in English, German and Norwegian. This means developing your language skills in any of these languages up to A2-B1 level (according to the CEFR).
27. Why offer bilingual readers?
Bilingual or multilingual environments are common around the world. Being able to communicate and be understood in a language is a more important goal than trying to achieve immediate grammatical mastery (which eventually comes with training and practice).
Learning two languages simultaneously, using a bridging technique, can enhance overall language acquisition. The existing foundation laid in one’s mother tongue, is an indicator of how well we’ll do in second or third language acquisition.
This approach may seem a little different to what is normally offered in a language school, but the main point is to closely imitate reality.
Such an approach poses the question of whether we can be a native speaker in just one language or in multiple languages, especially in countries and households where more than one language is spoken.
There’s debate over whether learning more than one language at a time, or even two languages which are similar, is a good idea. This is a debate for academics. In the real world, such as a home situation, nobody stops to think about this conundrum. Language just happens.
Ultimately, a language learner’s goal is to gain a sense of fluency. How we measure this fluency depends on many variables. What does real fluency mean? It all depends on why you’re going to use the language.