You’ve met two of our German teachers, Erika and Brita. Now it’s time for an English teacher! Meet Alan, he hails all the way from the USA. He loves Canada, online learning and helping others to achieve their goals.
Alan, please tell us a little about yourself!
I was born, raised, and educated in Phoenix, Arizona. I have lived on and off teaching overseas for the past ten years. I enjoy reading and writing, and I am really passionate about travel and the sciences. I like teaching and connecting with people, and I have been fortunate to work for Lingoda and to meet so many interesting, talented people from nearly every continent who study on the platform.
You’ve worked with Lingoda for quite some time. What is it about online teaching that inspired you?
I believe that online education is the future. It is modern, and it really allows individuals to customise and choose what they want to learn. The Internet and platforms like Lingoda allow people from anywhere around the globe to connect and work their language skills. From a language teaching perspective, it really allows both the students and teachers to focus on the target language that they are learning, so students can use the language they are learning as a tool to better their lives.
What does the average day look like for you as a Lingoda teacher?
I usually teach a couple of classes per day, and I prepare for the lessons like I would for classes on the ground. I try to anticipate the difficult parts of what will be covered, and I try to get a feel at the beginning of the class for what the students goals are for the lesson. This will allow us to achieve both an individual’s goals and a group’s goals together, and we almost always have a good time doing it. Online lessons are highly interactive, so students are free to express their opinions to their teachers, classmates, and through personalized chat sessions if necessary. This type of learning environment really helps students to improve their confidence and fluency in their second languages.
What is it about teaching languages that you enjoy?
I studied English literature as an undergraduate student, and I really enjoyed reading some of the historical texts from famous British and American authors. I like teaching because I enjoy the educational process and helping learners achieve goals that they have set for themselves to better their lives. I believe that language is a tool, and if I can assist another in using English as an instrument in his or her life, I feel a sense of accomplishment in that I have been a positive force in one’s educational journey.
Why do you think people should learn languages?
I think that all learning is a choice. Languages, like all other subject areas, will only be successfully learned if one is passionate about gaining the knowledge. If an individual wants to improve his or her get a promotion, communicate better with colleagues, improve a test score, travel more easily, or immigrate, a second language study may be required. At Lingoda, we can help because we offer a solution for learning languages that is convenient, works, and allows students to take classes at anytime.
What do you like most about the English language?
This is an interesting question. I think that I would have to go with the history of the language because it includes so much of the history of the British Isles and the greater European Continent. The story of English, like all languages, is one of tragedy and triumph, which makes it so intriguing. In the last couple of centuries, a great deal of the history of this language can be linked with commerce, and I believe that this has resulted in its popularity in many sectors in nations throughout the globe today.
Why do you think people should visit, or even live, in an English speaking country?
I have only been in two English speaking countries, Canada and the US. The second is my home, but I love the first. I would really like to visit the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand in the future. I have worked with people from the aforementioned countries, and they are all fantastic. To be honest, I have found that there are many second language learners that use English very well outside of traditional English speaking countries, and I have found communication abroad to be easier for me than I had initially anticipated before my first trip outside of America. I think that language has a cultural component, so for an English learner, it may assist in not only allowing them to practise the language with more regularity but also understanding the cultural influences that have shaped it through a visit to an English-speaking nation.
If you had any tips or advice for a language learner, what would they be?
Practise makes perfect, but remember mistakes are how we learn. This was said to me by a teacher in grade school, and I have found this to be true for most things in life, especially as it pertains to education. I think it is important for individuals to discover their learning styles and to practice languages holistically, i.e., speaking, reading, listening, and writing.
What words of wisdom do you have for anyone who may be thinking about taking the leap into language learning?
Learning languages is difficult. Like all things, the challenges of enhancing one’s use of a second language and reaching the level of fluency he or she desires can only be achieved through motivation, approach, and practice. Motivation to learn a language will vary from individual to individual, but if one has a desire to improve their use of a language offered at Lingoda, we can certainly help. The approach of offering a structured curriculum in which students can collaborate with teachers and classmates from around the world in a target language is superior to traditional language learning environments.