My first language is English. I have taught students of all ages (from 4 to 84) and at all levels (from beginner to advanced and from primary school to Ph.D. level). I am retired and now teach English as a second language, and also Afrikaans as a second language. From time to time I still lecture university undergraduate and post-graduate teacher trainee students.
I have a doctorate (D. Litt. et Phil.) in applied linguistics with a focus on the teaching of second languages. For my BA degree I majored in English, Linguistics, Afrikaans and Dutch. I have a BA honours degree in Linguistics and a Masters in Applied Linguistics and second language teaching and learning. I also have a teaching diploma.
I taught high school for five years, mainly in South Africa, but I was also briefly a secondary school ESOL teacher in New Zealand. I was the principal of a language school when I first came to New Zealand. For the rest of my career I was a university lecturer. I lectured English and linguistics primarily to English second language students in South Africa. Before leaving South Africa, I lectured in linguistics for seven years, with classes both in English and Afrikaans. Part of that also involved ESOL teacher training. In New Zealand, I lectured in applied linguistics at the University of Otago in Dunedin, and trained ESOL teachers for 13 years before retiring. I served on the Otago TESOL committee for 12 years and on the national TESOLNZ executive committee for a few years. I have organised conferences for ESOL teachers and addressed ESOL teachers at many conferences and in different countries, secondary schools and language schools.
My second language teaching is based on my knowledge of research findings in second language learning and teaching and on my own experience of 40 years of teaching, lecturing and learning other languages myself. As a linguist, I have in-depth knowledge of the structure of languages. I know that anyone can learn a second language if there is the motivation and interest to do so. As an educationalist and an applied linguist, I know and understand the mental processes involved in all learning and particularly in second language learning. I know about the external and internal factors necessary for learning, and therefore I provide learning situations that stimulate interest, motivate learners to communicate, and enhance their learning. I deliberately tap into the interests of my students and motivate them to learn, while at the same time ensuring that they enjoy the process. All my second language lessons include reading, writing, speaking and listening, as these are the skills that second language learners require. I understand why learners make errors when they are learning a new language and I know the value of those mistakes. Because errors are an essential component of learning, learners are never criticised for making errors. I know, as a linguist, that learning grammar is not a productive way to learn a language, hence my focus is always on communication and never on teaching or learning grammar. In the end my students know how to communicate in their second language with the ease with which first language speakers communicate in their mother tongues.
While my rate for teaching single students is $50 per hour, I offer group classes for $80 per hour (for the whole group), for between 2 and 4 students at a time. In group classes, students have more opportunities to practise communicating in the target language (the language they are learning); and it is this practice which is an essential component in learning.
Given enough practice, learning English should not be difficult.
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