Interview with Green Zebra English Course

Why did you decide to make your own course?
I've been working as a teacher for a while, different students, different levels. At a certain point I noticed that I had quite a lot of interesting materials gathered and I thought it would be a shame to just waste them. I had a blog for Polish speaking students, then a friend suggested I could make materials in English so that more people around the world could use them. It sounded like a good idea. I didn't know back then how much work and stress it would cost me (laughs). I believe it was worth it though.
Your course is for upper intermediate and advanced students. Why these levels?
Several reasons, I guess. First of all, it allows a real variety of materials and activities, almost any topics, any tasks. It's the most fun for me. I'm being selfish (laughs). But if I have to work on something, why not make it something I enjoy if I have a choice? I can play with it and make it fun for the students too. Secondly, as the materials were supposed to be universal, they had to be in English. A beginner wouldn't be able to deal with it. I believe intermediate students can also benefit from my course, but it will require more effort. If they do it with a teacher, I don't think it will be a problem. And finally, I can relate. I know that often even when we know a language well, we can still have problems with speaking, or understanding native speakers, watching or reading original materials in English. And I used my experience in improving my own fluency and the fluency of my students in the course. I didn't want to start from the beginning, I believe there are enough materials on the Internet. But I don't think there are so many possibilities for those who already know something and would like to improve, to polish their skills so to say.
What's the idea of your course?
It's been evolving ever since I started it, but the main idea now is to build the habits that will help the students keep learning on their own after the end of the course. See, language is a skill. If we don't work on it, don't use it in our daily life, it fades away, becomes weaker. Learning is generally associated with dull activities thanks to the global education system, but it doesn't have to be this way. My goal is to walk students through fun and entertaining activities such as watching interesting videos, reading inspiring articles, solving riddles and laughing a bit combining it with effective exercises and to show them the tools and techniques that can help their learning process. I want them to discover the other side of learning: engaging and satisfying. I believe that after the course they can keep doing all those activities on their own, just because they are already used to it, they know where to look and they enjoy it.
Who would you recommend the course to?
Anyone who already knows the language a bit, but has some problems or uncertainties when it comes to speaking, listening, reading. Anyone who wants to enrich their vocabulary and widen the range of topics they can discuss. Anyone who wants to be able to watch movies without subtitles, read articles or even books in English freely, communicate with native speakers or foreigners in English. Anyone who wants to know how to improve in a fun way. And teachers looking for materials.
Why is the course free?
Several reasons again. First of all, I want it to be available to anyone, especially those who can't afford to pay for such things. English is essential nowadays, people all over the world need it, and fluency can allow a better job, better communication, more possibilities in general. But, of course, I'd like to earn something with my work and I know that many people are able to pay. How can I get them to pay if they don't know me or what I'm offering though? There are so many materials online. So, secondly, it is to show people what I can give them safely, without any risk on their behalf. To gather their feedback, to find out what they want and to make additional paid materials that they'd like to have. For instance, the Vocabulary Exercise Book that's supposed to help people learn the words from the course. If you can't pay, it's all right, the course provides you with enough materials. But if you can afford it, you'll get this handy tool and have all the words in one place so that you can return to them any time. Learning the vocabulary will be much easier and much more effective. You'll be able to measure your progress with the help of the final test.
The book can be used separately too, it doesn't have to be an addition to the course. Some people just want to learn advanced vocabulary, improve their speaking skills focusing on that alone. The book is also for them. I've released free samples, gathered feedback, tested it on my real life students. It has effective exercises that guarantee your vocabulary will be significantly enriched after you finish the book.
Are you planning to release more paid materials?
Oh yes, too many plans, to little time. I can see now how some things I've done in the course can be done better or changed, and I'm going to use this knowledge. I'm also going to focus even more on forming the right habits taking into account how difficult it often is to find time or to make yourself study. The next thing I'm going to work on is another self-study eBook, similar to the original course, but better. I don't want to say too much before it's released. Then, I have some plans for materials for teachers and language schools. If I'm still alive when it comes to that.
Do you have any advice for language learners?
Be in touch with the language as often as possible, ideally every day. It doesn't have to be an hour. Five minutes every day is better than two hours once a week. Find materials that are interesting for you in your target language. It can be Youtube videos, stand-up comedy, scientific articles, art, anything you like. Focus on the skills that you want to improve. If you want to speak, you have to speak, but listening and watching will be helpful too. If you need to improve your writing, you should write, whatever it is: a blog, stories, emails, and you should read a lot. You get the idea.
What about teachers? Any advice for them?
Be patient. Think about anything that you are just learning and aren't good at when your student doesn't understand something obvious. This is how your students feel about what you are teaching. Listen to their needs. Try to make your class as comfortable and interesting for them as possible. Help them evolve in their own way and show the progress they've made to them.
Published 2018-03-13.
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Books by This Author

Green Zebra Vocabulary Exercise Book
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 42,540. Language: English. Published: February 3, 2018. Categories: Nonfiction » Language Instruction » English as a second language
Learn over 280 real-life, advanced expressions, enrich your vocabulary, improve your speaking skills and become more fluent in English with the help of effective exercises, creative tasks, interactive flashcards and revision. The book can be used for self-study as well as teaching.