TEACHER CASE STUDIES
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Years of experience: 1+
“"I love how teaching one-to-one lessons or small groups allows for a closer relationship with the students than with bigger groups. The overall organization and the teaching materials suggested are also excellent"”
Listen & Leaarn: Hello, Francesca! Thanks for joining me today. Let’s start with a little about your background and work history. What language do you teach and why?
Francesca: Hello! I teach Italian, my native language, in Dublin; although, I didn’t really choose teaching, but rather, teaching chose me. I was still unsure about my career after university when I applied for a Language Assistant position in Ireland to gain some experience and keep learning, and this is where I discovered my love for teaching. I learned a lot from my supervisors and started teaching my own evening classes with small groups of adults, at both beginners and advanced levels, in several different schools. I like to share my knowledge, but I’m aware that I’m learning from my students, as well. The creativity required, planning of classes and need to find new ways to explain a concept, also hold a big appeal for me. Similarly, I love studying and languages, and discovered I want my students to love both, too; as a language learner, I remember the struggles to express a complex idea in a language that is not my own, but I also remember the joy of eventually finding the right words, and the most rewarding part of being a teacher is to see that joy in my students’ faces, as well.
Listen & Learn: That’s lovely, and it sounds like you are getting a lot of support from your supervisors. Is there a fun or interesting Italian expression you like to teach?
Francesca: I like to teach my students real life colloquial expressions; the kinds of things that you don’t usually find in books, but there’s not a single one I always teach. It depends a lot on the context of the specific lesson or the inspiration of the moment. However, a recurring one is “magari”, which has no direct English equivalent but can mean “if only”, “maybe” or “why not”.
Listen & Learn: What made you decide to teach with Listen & Learn?
Francesca: Prior to teaching with Listen & Learn, I had some experience teaching adult groups, but I wanted to continue to develop my career in that direction by gaining more opportunities and experience. Plus, I was attracted by the flexibility Listen & Learn provides: my students and I can easily fit the lessons into our schedules.
Listen & Learn: And have you enjoyed any memorable moments since teaching with us?
Francesca: More than a specific episode, the whole teaching experience with Listen & Learn is memorable in how it has allowed me to develop an excellent relationship with my students and follow their progress more closely than when working with big groups. One of the best parts of being a teacher is seeing your students progress from being an absolute beginner to someone who can use their Italian skills confidently.
Listen & Learn: Yes, that must be a wonderful feeling! And how do you know when you have a student who will progress well with you? What do you look for in a good student?
Francesca: I like to teach students who see studying a new language as a journey and an ongoing process, rather than a race to perfect fluency, so I encourage my students to use the language as much as they can without being afraid of making mistakes. Making and correcting mistakes is part of the learning process and it shouldn’t keep us from trying to express our ideas and have a conversation in our target language.
Listen & Learn: And how do you encourage that, as their teacher?
Francesca: I want my students to have fun and enjoy learning my language, so I try to create a relaxed environment. Also, I make sure that any lesson featuring “boring” elements, e.g. complicated grammar, also has plenty of lighter speaking and vocabulary exercises. Oh, and I also think that language and culture are closely related, so I try to include interesting facts about Italian culture as a whole in my lessons, from recipes to card games.
Listen & Learn: Your lessons sound like a lot of fun, I must say! Is that part of the appeal? What is your favourite thing about working with Listen & Learn?
Francesca: I love how teaching one-to-one lessons or small groups allows for a closer relationship with the students than with bigger groups. The overall organization and the teaching materials suggested are also excellent.
Listen & Learn: What would you say to someone who is undecided about enrolling in a course with Listen & Learn?
Francesca: Go for it! For the same reasons I like teaching for Listen & Learn—extremely flexible courses tailored to your needs; not being part of a big group—means you will have all the attention and the help you need to learn the language at your own pace.