Teachers, a real added value for language learning.
One day, an IT engineer ran into Prolingua looking very worried.
He had just received a promotion which would mean him travelling regularly to English speaking countries. His level was rather weak and he was convinced that he would never manage it, especially when he thought back to his nightmarish English lessons at school. Oh, how wrong he was! His teacher soon persuaded him that he could succeed and pointed him in the right direction for overcoming his apprehension. Simple solutions can help enormously when faced with this type of business trip, such as using BBC or CNN as background noise in the hotel in order to tune your ear into the tonality of the language. What to do when you don’t understand anything? Why not slip in a few words of your mother tongue, just to remind the people you are talking to that you don’t totally master the language of Shakespeare! By following these simple techniques, as well as lots of language classes, our desperate IT manager soon reached his objective: feeling more at ease in professional situations.
Self-confidence is key for mastering a foreign language.
And at Prolingua, we strongly believe this self-confidence can only be acquired through regular face to face contact with a teacher. Despite the great progress made by Internet sites and E-learning tools, which have revolutionised language learning, a teacher, who not only shares their knowledge, but also their passion, will always lead to better results.
“Support, whether it be psychological or moral, is an essential part of our work,” says Phil Hobby, who has been teaching English at Prolingua for more than 20 years. “Thanks to our encouragement and careful guidance, which are not always available online, our students manage to really learn and understand the language and as a result, they feel more at ease when using it in a real life situation.”
Learning a language is not just about memorising vocabulary and grammar rules.
It’s also a cultural journey where usage can differ from one place to another. So, who is better than a teacher to guide you through the nuances and subtleties of the language? “Even if people speak the same language, the words they use may not have the same meaning if they don’t share the same culture,” continues Phil Hobby. Let’s take a concrete example; an English person who is impressed by a presentation or a speech might say, “Not bad or quite good”, whereas an American could react with something more glowing such as “great, fantastic or awesome”. These differences can be disconcerting as many students, especially of a younger generation have used Internet or American TV to develop their knowledge. Whilst showing good examples of American English, they only reflect one aspect of English speaking culture which is much wider and richer than many people imagine.
One – to- one and group courses are as enriching for the teachers as for the students.
“In our job, every day is different,” explains Phil Hobby. “Our students are extremely diverse, in terms of language ability, profession or origins. Previously, the majority of our students came from the Grand Region but more and more today we are seeing students from all over the world : South America, Eastern Europe and of course, from Asia. This diversity makes our profession much more interesting. Therefore, I have often had to explain to, for example, a Belgian or French student how a Chinese or Indian person may react in certain situations. Working with such a wide range of students has given me a certain knowledge of how to modify language and behaviour for each different situation. This added value, of personal experience will never be reproduced by any e-learning software, however good it may be….”