My name is Claire, and my English teaching journey started 16 years ago in Madrid. I come from 5 generations of teachers and (despite telling my mum I would never be a teacher!) when I moved to Spain I quickly caught the teaching bug.
I worked in different language schools and taught everything from young learners to exam preparation courses. I decided to take the next step in my teacher training in 2010 and studied for the Trinity DipTESOL qualification. After working in the industry for many years, I realised that many of my students had become demotivated and had stopped enjoying learning English. I asked myself why this was and it came down to three main issues:
- My students didn’t feel interested in the English language
- They weren’t meeting their goals (despite studying English for years)
- Their self-confidence in English was extremely low
And then I had the ultimate realisation! Traditional English courses don't work.
They didn’t meet my students needs, the course books I had to use weren’t teaching them the skills to progress, and a lot of the topics I had to cover were boring.
Basically, these courses were a huge waste of time and money. And my students kept doing the same thing year after year, which was massively lowering their confidence. Because they weren’t seeing any progress, they came to the conclusion that they were bad at English.
So, I decided to design courses which actually solved their problems.
After a lot of consideration, I realised that for my students to make real progress, they needed to
- be exposed to real English and authentic materials, not content written for a course book
- have core vocabulary which is used frequently in English
- understand how English pronunciation works in order to improve communication
- connect with the topic so they would be motivated to communicate
- regularly read in English
- have flexibility so they could study at a time when they were able to focus, not after a busy day at work
- work on their language skills progressively and with clear targets
- have fun and feel part of a supportive community
These are principles that I have put at the heart of every single course that I develop. Whether you are studying with me online or taking part in one of my cultural immersion courses in Edinburgh, you can be assured that these will be at the centre of your learning.
Why is culture important when you’re learning a language?
It’s science guys! It’s been proven that if you connect with the culture of the language you are learning, you reach your goals more effectively.
We all know that when you enjoy something, you do it better. I don’t believe you can separate culture from language. I grew up in a multi-cultural family speaking two languages (my Dad was Scottish and my mum Spanish) and seeing the world in 2 different ways is an amazing blessing.
I am also an absolute history and literature geek, and passionate about educating the world on Scottish culture. The highlights of my week are the amazing discussions I have with my students during our book group and Scottish history class. I believe that these kinds of conversations and connections are what will make you a better English communicator – and also allow you to make new friends in our awesome online community.
How can a supportive community help me?
Humans are social creatures, and the accelerated move to online communication has definitely limited how much we socialise on a daily basis. In order for online learning to be effective, you need to feel part of a community so that you can progress, have accountability, and be motivated to reach your goals.
I help my students find study buddies to boost their learning, and communicate regularly with them through video and voice note feedback.
My monthly coaching and training workshops bring my students together and we look at what is stopping you reaching your goals. By breaking down myths about language learning and creating a supportive environment, you will find the confidence you need to finally reach your goals.
Let’s meet your goals!
I can’t describe the absolute joy I feel when I get that message from a student telling me they have passed their exam, got their dream job, or have understood a conversation in English. Nothing makes me happier or prouder than when you achieve your goals. I use a combination of live and recorded classes to give you the flexibility you need to fit into your busy schedule, but accountability too.
I would love to start our English learning journey together! Get in touch with me to arrange a free consultation on which course is best for you.