Online English lessons
Are you in need of an English teacher?
I’ll be happy to help. I’m giving English lessons online. If you’d like to study with me, below you will find a detailed description of my approach.
In short, the process is the following:
- you get in touch with me – the contacts are at bottom of the About and Contacts page (the quickest will be through Telegram);
- I send you a couple of online tests to determine the level of your passive knowledge of English;
- we meet online for what I call an Introductory Session – this is for me to clarify your goals and needs + to hear how you speak English (this is for free);
- I send you a document with the summary of what we talked about and a possible plan of studies (also for free);
- If everything’s fine, we agree on time and start lessons;
- We keep looking for the approach that works best for you and adapt our lessons accordingly.
To read more how the Introductory Session happens and what my lessons can be like, read on.
Before the session I’ll ask you to do a couple of tests online (they shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes) so that I can get an idea of your passive knowledge of English. These are the tests:
- https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/test-your-english/ – general level test by Cambridge;
- https://preply.com/en/learn/english/test-your-vocab – passive vocab test.
Our Skype meeting/ call will be a friendly talk of about 40 minutes, usually in English, but with A2 we can switch into Russian.
First we’ll talk about what you need, want and expect. Something like I need English for work or I want to speak more fluently or I need to get through a job interview is actually too general a statement and needs a lot of clarification. How exactly are you going to use English? Who do you need to talk to? When? What difficulties do you expect? What would you like to practise first? These are the sort of questions I might ask to clarify your needs and goals. If you feel more comfortable discussing all this in Russian, no problem. If you can do it in English, that’s great, because it will give me more understanding of your language skills.
Once we’ve clarified you “destination”, it’s time to find out more about your current level of Speaking, or our “starting point”. This is nothing scary, just a set of questions aimed at different grammatical structures (present, past, future tenses, modals, conditionals, questions and so on). I’ll try to make it more of a logical conversation than a test, so the questions vary from student to student.
Then I’ll ask you how you prefer to study, including how much time and effort you’re ready to spend on this. Everyone’s different. Some people like exercises, others hate them. Some want to do everything togethers, others prefer to focus on speaking. Some like an intensive approach, some enjoy slowly working through material without much stress. And so on. So I’ll need to know your preferences to get an idea of how to organise lessons.
We’ll also discuss what to focus on in the beginning. Maybe you know your problems (e.g. tenses or questions or developing listening skills) and want to start with them. Maybe it’s better to just start with a book and explore the different activities it offers (it you’re not sure how you prefer to learn). Or maybe it’s better to activate your passive knowledge first. For this we can choose some topics to revise and to talk about. Here I’ll suggest what materials/ books/ online stuff can be used as well.
After the session I’ll send you the Needs Analysis report that will include the action plan. Then it’s up to you to decide whether to continue your classes with me or do something else.
So, in short, the introductory sessions is a free session where we
- get to know each other,
- do your needs analysis (what exactly you need to do with your English),
- have a short conversation to better understand your Speaking skills,
- find out where to start your lessons,
- create a plan for the next 5-10 lessons.
I offer one-hour (60 min) individual English lessons on Skype to adults or teens. I teach all levels, but I’m especially good with A2-B2, where I can help my students to
- build up a solid system of the language,
- acquire the necessary vocabulary and
- become confident speakers.
It can be General English, Business English, or a specific request, like preparing for work meetings or a job interview.
If you want to maintain your level, one hour a week or every two weeks may be enough (plus some homework). If you want to progress in English, it’s usually recommended to take two hours a week (and to do some homework too).
The lessons are usually in English only. However, we sometimes use Russian to clarify the meaning or a word, a grammatical structure or even a sentence. Also, with A2 students I may explain the point of an exercise/ activity in Russian if it saves us a lot of time.
For each student I usually start two Google docs with common access:
- Class notes: here I add the new words and expressions that come up during the lesson, explain grammar and write down the sentences that need correction. We also use the doc for writing homework (if you don’t mind typing).
- Lesson summary: this is a table with a short summary of the lesson (and the materials used) and homework. Sometimes I fill it in by myself, sometimes my students take over. The idea is to keep track of what we have done in order to keep a better balance of activities and topics.
Terms and Conditions
I build my relationship with my students on mutual trust and respect, so we don’t sign any contracts and the like.
I accept payment on my bank card (VTB) after the lesson, preferably on the same day. I’m registered as a self-employed person (“самозанятый” tax regime), so if you need, I’ll send you the receipts.
If you need to move or cancel the lesson, I ask you to let me know about it in advance. We may find another time for you if needed. I don’t charge for cancellations, but I hope that my students take it seriously and don’t cancel after the lesson has started.
I believe that learning languages is fascinating but it is not that easy. There’s a lot of language, a lot of things to do and various ways to do them, so it’s not uncommon to get lost or get stuck in one’s learning process. This is where I come for help.
I will guide you through your learning, both in a particular lesson or across many lessons. In particular,
- I’ll help you to find the balance in the acquisition of the four skills: Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing; and the four systems: Grammar, Vocabulary, Functional Language and Pronunciation.
- I’ll explain and clarify the aspects of English that you find difficult (grammar rules, nuances of meanings, usage of different structures and so on).
- I’ll encourage you to have sufficient deliberate practice to make progress. (Deliberate practice is when you make an effort to use or understand new language, even if it’s not easy).
- I will help you to choose the right level of difficulty of materials so that the learning neither discourages you and no bores you. This also helps to keep motivation.
- I will adapt to your pace of studies, or how fast or slowly it’s comfortable for you to learn new things. The right pace is essential if we want to avoid stress or killing motivation.
- I will be your most attentive listener, which will give you enough room to formulate and express your ideas even if it doesn’t come easy.
- I will be your speaking partner. I enjoy a good discussion and I have a natural tendency for speaking fast. That will speed up the development of your listening and conversational skills as well.
- I will share the materials I have (the ones I have found to be useful and helpful) and I will help you find your way in the abundance of available resources.
- We will explore different types of activities and learning techniques, e.g. mind maps, presentations, games, questionnaires, gap fills, role plays, etc. This will help you to find what works for you better and makes the learning process more enjoyable.
- We will talk about study skills and learning strategies so that you don’t just follow my instructions but understand what you’re doing, why, and how to learn more effectively (this is what my Telegram channel and VK group are about).
- I will encourage you to explore your own learning process and decide what you want to do and how. We can talk about how to establish your learning routine or to track progress as well. In the end, that should help you to become a more independent learner.
What happens during the lesson
What we do during the lesson depends on your needs and goals (and often mood and state). But I usually make suggestions, based on my experience, about what can be done to improve your English. In other words, based on your particular situation, I’ll give you several options and you will choose what we can focus on.
Most people come to improve their Speaking skills, so I usually do my best to turn a lesson into an engaging conversation. We can do reading, listening, grammar or vocab activities as well, but I’ll use all this to challenge you to express your thoughts and ideas. I may share some of my ideas with you, but this will be for you to react to them or ask me questions. We can also do writing (general or business) or explore learning techniques together (e.g. how to check and correct your writing).
Whenever you speak, I’ll suggest the language you need but don’t know (or we’ll find it together), or I’ll give you an idea how to express your thoughts in a more natural or concise way. Everything will be written down in the Google docs for you to come back to it later and revise.
We also do regular error correction (on the spot, or as you speak, or delayed, or after you’ve finished) to help you get rid of mistakes and learn to control what you say and how you say it.
If I see that you don’t understand how to do an activity, how it works or why we’re doing what we’re doing, we can talk about Study skills or Learning strategies.
What is asked of the student
To speak well, you need a lot of language input (listening/ watching and reading that you understand pretty well) and some activities to practise and revise grammar and vocabulary. It’s possible to do it all together at the lesson, but if you can do some of it by yourself, we’ll focus more on speaking and move much faster in general.
In other words, if you can do listening, reading, some grammar and vocabulary exercises on your own, together we’ll be able to activate this in your speech. For example, you read an article, we discuss it (and use the new or interesting vocab from it). Or you do some exercises, we clarify your questions and you make more examples with the language in question (and I’ll give you my immediate feedback on them).
If you don’t have time for reading and listening, we’ll have to do some at the lesson. But, don’t worry, we’ll follow it up with speaking anyway.
The structure of the lessons
Usually, my lessons are structured this way:
- Small talk/ news sharing. This is a fluency activity (you talk without thinking how correct is it and that increases the pace of your speech) and I encourage you to share with me something from your life. It can be some news, or hobbies, or impressions, or ideas – anything. The idea is to take the topics that are important to you and accumulate/ recycle the language that you need to talk about them.
2. Focus on new language or skills. The idea here is to focus more on accuracy (how to speak correctly), to have some deliberate practice or practise detailed understanding of the language.
Basically, new language can be learnt and practised from almost anything, even from a simple discussion. If you have done some homework, this is the part of the lesson where we will discuss it and activate new language. If you didn’t have time for it, we’ll do something together. We can
- do something from a book. I like books because with them it’s easier to keep the balance between language skills and systems. They also give a good variety of activities and a lot of opportunities for revision. But even with the book, the focus will be on you and not on just doing exercises from it;
- do some grammar, vocabulary or functional language (e.g. saying no politely or making suggestions – especially useful for Business English) activities if there are just some areas that need to be addressed;
- spend the whole lesson discussing one or two topics (of your choosing) to activate your passive knowledge and note down new necessary vocab;
- watch videos, read articles, discuss them, highlight new language there and practise it;
- write together – anything from just sentences or paragraphs to stories, articles and so on.
- check/ proofread and discuss something you’ve done/ need to do for work, like presentations, emails, CVs, motivational letters etc.
- prepare and rehearse your speech for a work meeting or a job interview. And so on.
3. Finally, we’ll choose what to do at the next lesson and what to do for homework. Here you will need to analyse a bit what we’ve done and decide where you want to focus next. Again, if you can’t decide, I’ll come up with some suggestions how to practise further what we’ve done and you’ll choose what you like.
I also encourage creative stuff and research, so if you want to create a colourful presentation on what interests you, or do a project (even mostly based on photos), or do creative writing (one student of mine almost wrote a script for a movie), you’ll have my full support and admiration. =)
If you like books, these are the main books I use (and they are a fraction of what I have, so if they are not enough, I’ll find something else for you) + some internet resources:
General English (all levels)
- English File 4th edition
- Face2Face 2nd edition
- SpeakOut 2nd edition
- English Unlimited
- Gateway 2nd edition (for teens)
Business English (all levels)
- In-company 3.0
- Business Result
- Market Leader 3rd edition
- The Business
- Email English
Grammar and Vocabulary
- Grammar in Use (Essential, Intermediate, Advanced)
- Oxford English Grammar Course
- Oxford Living Grammar
- Timesaver Visual Grammar
- Oxford Word Skills (Basic, Intermediate, Advanced)
- English Vocabulary in Use
- English Idioms in Use
- Collocations in Use
- Business Vocabulary in Use 3rd edition
- Business Grammar Builder
Speaking and Listening
- Speaking topics
- Communicative activities from English File and other Teacher’s books
- Timesaver Speaking Activities
- Timesaver Listening
- Reward resource packs
Reading and Listening
- Graded Readers
- BBC learning English
- BBC website (BBC REELs, articles)
- TedEd and TedTalk videos
- British Council Learning English website
- Articles from the internet on a given topic
Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I don’t have much written feedback from my students – it usually feels somewhat disruptive for the learning process to ask for it, so I just don’t do it. But I’ve honestly tried, and on the right (below on mobile) is what I got.
For me, the best indicator that my students are happy is the fact that they come to the lessons and many of them stay for long with me (2-3 years and longer, unless they have short-term goals). Sometimes they come back after a while. And we have good relationships.
Plus, I can hear how my students’ speech is getting more and more correct, exact, coherent and complex. This wouldn’t be possible without quite a lot of comprehensive work on the other skills and the language systems.
So if all this sounds interesting, get in touch and let’s see what we can do together for your English =)