I set up IDEAL Language School in 2001 because I was not happy with the traditional method of teaching English. I knew that offering an immersive and intensive course that fused language, culture and social interaction would be the most effective way to learn.
In this blog, I outline my five teaching philosophies.
The importance of language and culture
Language should be learnt in a cultural and social context because culture is a reflection of the language and vice versa. At IDEAL, we put culture at the centre of curriculum. After the formal lessons in the morning, we offer cultural visits based on our client’s needs and background, such as visits to local wine-makers or a trip to Kew Gardens, London for agricultural business clients. We also take our IDEAL clients to local art exhibitions.
The importance of total immersion
My second belief is that English language learning is most effective when the client is totally immersed in the target language. At IDEAL Language Courses, we achieve this by offering our clients excellent hospitality provided by handpicked English hosts in Brighton who offer convivial English conversation over a daily breakfast and evening meal. This means our clients are always practising English and absorbing idioms and phrases.
The importance of a heuristic approach to learning
My teaching methodology is focussed on self-discovery. By doing this, I ensure that the IDEAL client can reactivate her or his existing knowledge. This improves motivation, releases energy and inspires the client to absorb new English words, phrases and expressions. This method normally leads to maximising and optimising the client’s progress and means that they leave my course, thinking and feeling in English.
I am a great believer in the following maxim: If you tell somebody to do something they will forget. If you show somebody something they will remember. But if you involve somebody with something they will understand.
My clients are taught that they never make mistakes in mastering the English language – there are only learning steps.
The importance of cross-referencing with the client’s mother tongue
I am a language lover and try to include references to the client’s native language in my teaching. There are hundreds of ‘false friends’ that misguide English language learners. A frequent example for some German clients is for them to remark “I have become an email”. This is a common ‘false friend’ because the verb ‘bekommen’ in German means ‘to receive’ or ‘to get’. It is obvious to see why German business executives, confuse the English verb ‘become’ with ‘bekommen’. It is also easy to see how this ‘false friend’ can be misleading in their business communication.
A common French ‘false friend’ is when some French business executives describe current news as ‘actual news’. This is because ‘actuel’ in French means ‘current’. However ‘actual’ in English means something is genuine, the real thing. And ‘actually’ means ‘in fact’.
We have a False Friends in English Language blog series, where we identify common ‘false friends’ for the French and German language learners among our executive clients.
The importance of working as a team
There is a reason why I define myself as a ‘language coach’ and not a ‘language teacher’. I always understand my client’s needs and position and adapt the curriculum and language course accordingly. I ensure that language learning is not a passive, ‘top-down’ process but a fun, energising and stimulating experience.
Find out more about Ideal English Language Courses
We have been teaching English to European business executives from Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Russia for fifteen years. Clients include Syngenta, Commerzbank, Deka Bank, Fraunhof Institut and Pfizer. We have a 100% client return rate, which means that every company that has sent an employee, has sent another based on the high standards of our teaching and hospitality.
Our General and Business English Course, Agribusiness English course and Business English Workshops are all based on individual needs and a proven and effective teaching methodology. To find out more information, browse our English language courses here.