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What can you learn during your private English lessons?

I've had many different types of students. All my students have different goals and diverse learning styles. I love adapting to everyone's individual needs. Let's look at a sample of students and how they have spent their time with me.

Student 1 (the typical student): She buys a 20 hour package and wants colleagues and customers to be able to understand her. After assessing her speaking test, I outline what we will work work on. We generally start with her problematic consonants and vowels and make her feel confident with those sounds when placed before or after any other consonant or vowel. The average student spends 10-12 hours here. She will learn to produce the sound at the beginning, middle or end of a word and how to link it to other sounds. She'll strengthen her tongue and other articulators through tongue and facial exercises. Then we move on to word stress (about 3 hours) and unlearn any bad habits of stressing all syllables equally. We learn how to unstressed a syllable and keep rhythm within a word, and of course we learn the mysterious rules for predicting which syllable should be stressed. Next we learn sentence rhythm and how not to stress every word in the sentence (about 5 hours). We use the remaining hours on intonation and primary phrase stress. That is, once the student has learned to self-correct all her consonants, vowels, word stress and sentence rhythm reductions, she learns how to make several sentences logically flow together so that an audience can easily follow along. And just because we are working on rhythm or intonation today, doesn't mean that we can forget about consonants, vowels and word stress! I'll keep reminding her of any errors she makes in those departments.

Student 2: (the thorough student): He has done the first 20 hours with me and wants to keep learning more. He takes my grammar assessment test and we work on any gaps in his grammatical knowledge. He shares with me his work presentation or answers to possible interview questions, so we can correct them based on all the principles learned in the first 20 hours, plus the new grammar/writing knowledge. We put his writing in a Google Doc so we can both make comments on it and edit it during or after the lesson This student gains confidence in structuring and formulating his own speeches so he can do it by himself next time. He says good bye to me yet still takes me with him, in the form of my online video lessons, so he hears me speak about everything all over again and reviews whenever he wants. Furthermore, every student will receive homework and audio recordings that are not in my pre-recorded online courses, and those are yours to keep for life.

Student 3 (the super dedicated student): This student has done the first 20 hours of pronunciation work, studied every area of grammar, and done multiple presentations with me, but he wants to keep learning more! He has started writing blogs or academic articles and asked me to help with writing style and editing. He wants to expand his vocabulary and ability to eloquently speak on different topics, so we read books together. I draw out the books' interesting vocabulary and grammatical structures, I find complicated topics for him to practice expressing himself about. We choose different genres for more exposure to all different sorts of English. We've read autobiographies, like the Nike founder's Shoe Dog, and The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls. We've read classics like The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy and science fiction by Kurt Vonnegut. We've read and discussed US Supreme Court decisions and articles from the New Yorker or the Wall Street Journal. Last but not least, we've read famous children's books such as The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, in order to learn every day idioms and more about American culture, all the while reviewing concepts of rhythm and intonation, in order to sound as natural and dynamic as possible. After all, he wants not only to sound like a native speaker, but he also wants to sound like an interesting, dynamic native speaker!

Student 4 (the efficient student): He is on a budget and only wants to take a few lessons here and there, and I love him just the same! He takes my online courses (which I've worked so hard on) to learn the basics and then asks me to check his progress and assign more homework where necessary. I might see him once a month or even once every 3 months, but he always makes progress in between because he's studying and practicing my materials. He even sends me a few sound files between lessons for some quick feedback. Of course no one wants to practice the wrong way and reinforce the bad habits!

Which student will you be? You will surely be unique and not fit any of the descriptions above! One student even wanted me to help her set up her Amazon store and write product descriptions. Some want to work on college entrance essays. One even wanted to learn the American accent for acting; she brought me her scripts and we worked on "acting" them with the right accent! One thing is certain: what you will want to work on will change as your English skills progress. Learning a language well is a life long skill. We are always learning. You want to make sure you take journey with the right mentors.

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