Case Studies: Teachers

Teacher photo


Language Taught: English
Years of teaching experience: 35+

It’s the flexibility and diligence Language Trainers provides that allow them to succeed at great lengths.

What language do you teach and why did you choose teaching as your career?

I teach Spanish and English for Language Trainers. My childhood in Belgium, love of traveling, and desire to communicate instilled in me the value of language learning.

You know many languages. Where did you study?

I studied language at the University of Houston. But growing up in Belgium, you don’t study language; it’s more a way of life. So I’ve been learning and speaking different languages my entire life. By the time I moved to the states, I felt like I couldn't live here without learning Spanish. So I began studying and traveling. By traveling, I learned how language barriers can be a huge impediment and just how much languages should be valued.

What do you look for in a student?

I certainly expect that my students are very involved in their own learning process. That’s number one. I want students to concentrate on doing every day activities in their target language. Through this, I believe teachers can help students gain fluency, without immersion. Some people think, “I only have three weeks to learn a foreign language. I can’t go to (whichever desired country).” But, yes you can! All you need is the knowledge and desire to succeed.

What should students expect in you as a teacher?

I remember once I was at the airport in Tokyo and there were students waiting in line to get their passports checked, just to practice their English. I like to work especially with students in their areas of interest. Like these Japanese students, I prefer that my students do something they would already normally need to do and in their target language. If they like cooking, I advise students to look up recipes in their target language. If they listen to music while exercising, I recommend they search for songs in their target language.

What is one of your favorite experiences from your time with Language Trainers?

I’ve recently been working with a couple in Houston. It was difficult at first because they were each at very different skill levels: the husband knew a lot but spoke little, and the wife knew barely any Spanish. So we set up a system where the husband would start classes first, and then the wife would join in later. All of a sudden, there was this jump. I used exercises in business language with the husband to show how to express himself in the workplace –now the confidence is there, and he speaks with ease and fluency. The wife was more timid, and thought she wouldn't be able to learn, saying she was too old to start from scratch. Now she sits in on meetings, understand the majority of conversations, and contributes to them with ease. Her goal for this year is fluency. It’s been amazing to watch the transformation through their lessons. And it’s the flexibility and diligence Language Trainers provides that allows them to succeed at great lengths.

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