By Zarela Cruz
Have you ever asked yourself how you would enhance your level of English notwithstanding the level you teach? Sometimes, we teachers, have to hide our own instruction preferences to keep a position. Time flies and suddenly you are told that all the staff will be made to have international exams to test their mastery of the language. You are frozen. What to do now?
First of all, don’t panic. Panicking does not help at all. What you have to do is to oblige yourself to practice your English daily, no matter what. You can try with videos of your own preference, watching movies, Netflix, listening to the news in English, reading newspapers on line….there are many ways to do it…and here comes the best part, for free!
Another strategy consists of changing the layout of your email to English. That way, you would be familiar with all the words related with this type of activity. Do you think it is hard to do? Not at all. It is within the reach of a click. More ways to use the social media? When you use What’s app, write to your colleagues and students in English; when you create a Facebook for an English course, always exchange information in English. This habit pays dividends very quickly. Give it a try and you will see.
What I always attempt to do is to test myself: that is, undertake international mock exams. Try one section at a time, so you can see which one or ones need to be reinforced. If you want to go deeper, do read the existing literature about a topic that interests you. On the other hand, novels in English tend to be economical, since not many people buy them. You may even find a very interesting one on sale.
You will always have the chance to take online courses in English as well. Do it as often as you may. There is an increasing number of students who are pursuing such courses. You will learn not only about the topic, but also about teaching methodologies. And you happen to be a privileged learner, since teachers partake in both scopes: the student’s and the instructor’s.
Go to touristic places. You will relax and will have the chance to talk with tourists. If you are not the talkative type, just listen to other people speaking the language. Try to guess where they come from, if you can recognize the accent, some phrases they use, some idioms you catch… the list is endless.
Last, but not least important: keep the language alive. Always read about the latest terminology or changes in the language. Do keep in mind that language evolves and so must you.
Zarela Cruz graduated from Ricardo Palma University as a translator. She also finished her master’s studies in Linguistics and took some specialization diplomas in English and Spanish: Higher Education, Virtual Courses Design, and Spanish for Foreigners. She has also completed a number of certificates: Teaching the Working Adult, Online, Hybrid and Blended Education, among other self-study courses. During her more than 20 years’ teaching experience, she has taught different courses, programs and levels. This article aims to encourage other teachers to keep improving their knowledge of the language regardless of the level they teach.