by Nina

After our first meeting last Wednesday I was extremely excited about conducting our second session and looking forward to seeing my new students again! We were in touch via Skype, Facebook and email but to meet them all in person, as a group, easily became the highlight of my working week. I have never met such motivated learners, full of dreams about their English!

From left to right: my teacher colleague Glenn, Léňa, Zuzka, Lenka, Zdeněk, Tina (in the front)

We began the session by discussing their language goals which they emailed me earlier. Here are a few examples:
"I will be able to read Paolo Coelho´s novels in English, without a dictionary."
"I will write an article for an English magazine or newspaper."
"I will be able to watch movies without subtitles."
"I will be able to correspond with my American friends in California without mistakes, using rich vocabulary."

They are aware of the fact that they have to work hard if they want to make their dreams come true. Not only should these dreams be fulfilled one day but also each of the four language skills should be continually improving, in order for the students to become  balanced langauge users, as Marek Vít stresses in his article "Co je na angličtině nejdůležitější" (in Czech). If you are good at Reading and Writing, how will it make you fit for Speaking or Listening? If your Listening is good but your Writing contains a lot of grammatical and spelling mistakes, will you be considered a good language user?
I am very proud of how focused the students are and how hard they seem to be working already. Especially with the new version of English Central where they all started recording their voice. Zuzka was the busiest bee of all, having managed to record 744 lines of text! English Central is, at least to me, a revolutionary  new software which will help thousands of people improve their listening and speaking skills. You just have to try and see for yourself how exciting this is. Do a demo lesson, follow the instructions for recording yourself and then register for free. Nothing is complicated, it´s so well-structured, so resourceful and so much fun. I can´t stop using it myself!

The point of this programme is to give students an opportunity to practise a lot of speaking on many different topics with real people. Each student will go through one lesson per week, revise it a few days later and then call their conversation partners and ask pre-structured questions from the task sheets. They should talk to 4-5 people a week, each for 5-10min, unless they want to talk  longer, of course. I decided to put a list together myself by contacting my friends, in order to give the students a hand at first. Later on when they are familiar with the programme, they can start adding their own convo partners to the list of language partners they were given.
Finding a language partner is easy, but can take some time. I highly recommend to talk only with people who are native or fluent English speakers (fluent = someone like me) and they should be from at least 5 different countries. It will help you understand different accents and new vocabulary from - British English, American English, Arabic English, Indian English, Canadian English, Russian English, Czech English, and others.

I called this session the "Self-study Jump Start" as it was an introduction to all the work the students are going to be doing outside of the classroom. It was less conversational and they might have been overwhelmed by all the resources and tools available. But they really have nothing to worry about - our next session is a Pub Discussion, so no computers, beer and lots of speaking time ahead of us, both online with the conversation partners and offline during the native speaker events.

If you are one of the students, please, do comment on how it´s working out for you so far. If you are a teacher and want to know more about our session, don´t hesitate to contact me via Facebook

Big thanks to Glenn, my dear friend and teacher colleague, for helping out with managing the lessons!



Tina said...

Wow, Nina, very nice written! I think all of us are really excited about this new way of learning English, though it might be more harder than some normal courses. I also think that the "English Out There" is great because we can speak with native speakers and practice our speaking skills. And I also like English Central, though I'm sometimes impatient when I have to repeat some word again and again :D. But I just love it and I'm really looking forward to our next session!


Nina said...

Thank you so much, honey :). We love having you on the course, young lady!

Anonymous said...

Hi Niňulka, your comment about our second lesson is very good, I think that it was great lesson, we learned about how we can work at home, what is important for us when we will learn at home. I very look forward to other lesson in pub - I love your course:-)and It is great that we will be able to speak with native speakers in very friendly place:-)

Silvers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Silvers said...


I love your blog, and this post is great. It's an excellent idea to let people know how your classes are evolving.

As you know,I love the English Central website too, and of course, English Out There and our inspired team of edupreneurs.

I'm learning a lot from your dedication and creative social networking.!!!

Anonymous said...

Super NINA!!!
I am trying to catch up here, but I had to congratulate you on your wonderful work! I am sure your students are working really hard and they must all be enjoying big time there! Look at all those smiles!!! GREAT!!! Keep up the good work, I am so happy for you (and your students, to have such a dedicated teacher!)!!
Doris- the only one :)

Nina said...

Thank you for your positive feedback, Silvers and Doris!! Today we are heading to the pub, should be lots of fun!

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