Interview with Green Zebra English Course

Why did you decide to make your own course?
I've been teaching English as a second language for a while, and I've also learned a couple of foreign languages myself. Observing my students and myself I discovered some effective tools and techniques. I decided to share them with the world to help people struggling with learning English.
Your course is for upper intermediate and advanced students. Why these levels?
First of all, I can relate. I know that often even when we know a language quite well, we can still have problems with speaking, understanding native speakers, watching or reading original materials in it. So I used my experience in improving my own fluency and the fluency of my students in the course. It's literally based on the techniques and methods that I'm still using everyday for professional growth. Also, it seems like there are lots of materials for the beginners 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 enjoy it. There is no upper limit of how good you can be, but I want learning to become an integral and natural part of their lives. So that when they want to watch something, they just look through their favorite English-speaking YouTube channels or search for a TED talk. When they want to read about the third industrial revolution, they just type it in English and enjoy the results. So that they entertain or educate themselves about the world and keep improving their English simultaneously, almost without noticing.
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?
For several reasons. 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, and the approach to learning will be more comprehensive. 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 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?
I don't think there are any additions I want to make to this course. This chapter is closed. But I've learned a great deal from it. I can see now how some things I've done in the course could 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, and effective learning techniques. I've got lots of ideas and so little time, but the next project is on the way.
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 and surround yourself with English. 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, though listening, watching and learning the vocabulary 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 students don't understand something obvious. 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. Establish a connection, be kind and understanding.
Published 2018-10-28.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Green Zebra Vocabulary Exercise Book
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 42,560. 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-studying as well as teaching.