1. How do you introduce yourself to a new student?
There is an activity that I always do with a new student, which helps me break the ice, and which I identify closely with: I ask them about a book, a series, or a movie and about a special place. We both answer these three questions and that’s how I learn about their interests which will help me design their course. I like this dynamic because from the first moment the student has to talk about his “cultural self”, something very important in my sessions.
2. As an online teacher, what would you say is the best thing about this type of lesson?
I believe that online teaching has enormous potential. You can use a lot of resources in real time: videos, images, applications are at student and teacher’s fingertips in nanoseconds. What else? As online lessons are usually one-to-ones or in very small groups, students get intensive attention and every minute is maximized in a way that doesn’t happen with onsite lessons which inevitably contain some “down time”. Finally, the relationship between teacher and student is closer, which makes communicative situations more real.
3. What would you say to someone who is going to start having online classes?
I would tell them that part of the success of the class will depend on him or her. Teachers try to motivate, we explain everything that is necessary, we prepare activities, we look for material… but the student must be constantly at work too. I don’t think online is suitable for lazy people. Online is for people who get that learning a language is not just a teacher explaining grammar rules or a list of vocabulary.
4. You are the teacher who appears in the videos of the self-study and hybrid methods. Why did you decide to include these videos?
These videos arose because it seemed to us that the materials would benefit from having a human face and voice to accompany students on their learning journey. In the videos I offer an additional explanation of the unit’s content and this gives the student listening comprehension practice. I hope my jokes and anecdotes from my day.-to-day life make the method more fun and approachable.
5. Apart from being a teacher, you are also a creator of learning materials. Tell us something about this!
Well, it is an aspect of my work that I am passionate about, because I can be creative while being useful to my students. I used to do a lot of theater and now I participate in a writing workshop, and I take some of my texts and my ideas to class. I believe that a teacher should give part of himself in his sessions, and my experience tells me that students value this. Some of these activities are on my blog (El Blog de ELE de Luis). I like to share my activities with others and am thrilled when other teachers write to tell me they have used them!