The method I use is the fruit of the following:
Years of experience teaching English
Years of research
Carefully checking the effectiveness of each method
Taking the best parts from each method.
The end result is a combination of existing methods which
Shows you how to learn on your own without the need of a teacher
Allows you to improve more quickly
Significantly improves your ability to remember what you have learned
Gives you classes which are adapted for your specific situation and needs
Makes you more motivated to learn alone with pleasure
Reduces greatly the stress of learning English and even makes learning fun
Many students have difficulty learning English quickly and on their own because most teachers do not know the complexities of each word (pronunciation, spelling, meaning, part of speech, connotation…). In my classes, I show each aspect connected to English words so the student not only can learn about them on their own time, but also choose which words to learn first and how deeply to learn them.
Since I know in detail the number of words needed for various situations, I am able not only to determine precisely what level you are at and how close you are to reaching your goal, but most importantly I am able to adapt the class precisely to your specific needs and budget.
One important method I use is the frequency dictionary (dictionary of the most popular words) and flash cards. This combination is not only fun, but has also proven to be very effective. You use the frequency dictionary to make paper word cards (flash cards).
But these are not ordinary flash cards. There are many differences:
1 They teach you several forms and meanings of each word, not just one. This helps you make far fewer mistakes.
2 There is a master card which includes all the different forms and meanings of the word.
3 There are several additional cards for each of those forms and meanings.
4 You create only the cards you need. This saves time and helps you to memorize and internalize the information.
5 You write the words with pen and paper (not on a computer), which helps you memorize the words faster and remember them longer.
Vocabulary is extremely important. If you don’t know enough words, you can’t speak, can’t understand what others say, and can’t write.
The second and third major methods I use to teach vocabulary are the skills based approach, and my particular approach to reading.
I use graded readers. Graded readers are books which use the following number of words depending on the level: 250 words, 400 words, 700 words, 1000 words, 1400 words, 1800 words, and 2500 words. There are between 40 and 100 books on each level. This all is very important for four reasons:
-First, you can choose exactly the level where you know almost all the vocabulary and grammar. This allows you not only to understand the words you don’t know (through the context) but also to remember such words better.
-Second, because you already know 98% of the words you see, there is a massive strengthening of these words and a steady building of new vocabulary.
-Third, there are free exercises available for most of the books. These exercises help you to remember new vocabulary from the book for longer than if you only read without doing exercises.
-Fourth, it allows you a greater choice in what you read, which makes your learning both more pleasurable and more effective. This approach is further optimized by my guiding you on which dictionaries and other materials to use depending on the situation. I also check your understanding of each level of book, making sure you do not overestimate how well you understood texts. This helps to make sure you choose the right level of book and to help you understand when you don’t understand parts of a text.
Research has repeatedly demonstrated that the improvement for most people when using graded readers is very steady and that using graded readers helps you to stay motivated. Using similar methods helped me to make rapid and steady progress when I learned Russian, German, and French, all of which I now speak and read at an advanced level.
Many teachers don’t use graded readers because they take the focus off the teacher and onto the written material. In other words, in theory at least, the student is significantly less dependent on the teacher and is able to stop using the teacher’s services after a relatively short time. Another reason teachers don’t often use this method is because they simply haven’t heard of it.
My long experience in learning three foreign languages which are rather different from one another (Russian, German, and French) has been very helpful for me to be able to carry out this method.
My focus here is on receptive grammar, something most teachers don’t work on. This method involves understanding the structure of what you read and/or hear- for example, identifying different verb forms and their functions, understanding small words such as articles (a, an, the); determining who does actions and who receives them…
This is the grammar you need to understand written and spoken texts. This also helps you improve on your own by reinforcing your understanding of such structures when you read in English. After you internalize these rules, not only can you understand sentences you read on your own, but you can also more accurately judge your level of understanding of difficult sentences. We can then more easily work on parts you don’t understand. The best part of all is that this is a more fun way of studying.
I do an initial interview with you about your specific goals and language level to decide which test is best for these goals. I also do a brainstorming where we both identify your weak points. For example, are they connected to time pressure, knowing the exercises, knowledge of the language…? During our work together, our understanding of these weak points becomes more specific. This helps you to study even more efficiently.
To help your studying be all the more efficient and to increase your chances of getting the grade you need, the strategy we follow integrates several additional factors:
-Your daily rhythm;
-Your particular mindset;
-The type of test and its duration.