WHEN A TEACHER BECOMES A LEARNER – MY VERY SPECIAL YOGA ADVENTURE IN RISHIKESH

Lights have guided us home, to the Siddhi yoga place where we’ve found our comfort for the past week.  It was a long journey for the nine of us crammed in an old exhausted taxi with a smiley driver who was patiently waiting while each and every one of us took their photographs, completed a waterfall hike, safely got through the ‘monkey zone’ or simply finished their chai break. It was a superb first day off where the sound of waterfalls replaced our daily mantras, the breeze from the holy Ganga was stronger than pranayamas and the views at the top of the Himalayas have substituted asana charts, skeleton structures and sutras of Patanjali. It was a great day and an even greater first week. A very happy week of discoveries, learning and realisations…It was also the only day when we could freely escape from the spartan Hotel Moksha and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the majestic Rishikesh. Since then studying, revising and practising have never left us until graduation on the very last day.

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BIGGEST OBSTACLES AND DIFFERENT MENTALITY IN LEARNING RUSSIAN

Just over 6 months ago I started a new exciting job as a Language Training Account Manager for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. This is being organised via Language Services Direct, which is a fun organisation to work for and where I’ve recently been interviewed by one of my colleagues. We’ve discussed language learning related questions and I would like to share some of my views…

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IT REALLY IS ABOUT GOOD BALANCE

Я пока ещё не писала здесь по-русски, но в сфере недавних довольно частых бесед с одним из моих весьма способных русских студентов я решила сделать исключение. Ведь многим не хватает именно практики настоящей речи, отличной от внимательно подобранного материала в учебных пособиях. Надеюсь, этот пост будет одним из них, и вы узнаете из него что-то новое для себя.

Постараюсь писать понятным, но естественным языком, чтобы студенты уровня B2 и выше смогли с легкостью расшифровать мои комментарии…

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CURIOSITY KILLED THE CAT, BUT NOT THE LANGUAGE LEARNER!

Cats and so many other animals  have been in the centre of attention of every learner of English idioms; Russians equally laud and condemn these fantastic creatures in set expressions, which we call фразеологизмы. It’s not always an easy task to pick out the most frequently used and most appropriate expressions as the choice is vast. Understanding their intricate nature could also appear to be a struggle. While a lot of idiomatic expressions carry a figurative meaning, some of them can be quite literal and synonymous with the way we perceive animals based on tales, myths and anecdotes…

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WHAT YOU CAN LEARN IN 10 WEEKS

On Wednesday I finished a Russian Beginner group course at one of the language schools in Central London. I taught 20 hours of Russian in 10 weeks or, in fact 12, due to irksome tube strikes that took place throughout the summer.  It was a nicely paced bittersweet leaning experience, where my students got to conquer completely alien to them sounds and spellings and fight the thorny nature of the Russian grammar.

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TEACH TO LEARN

Treats and tricks of the Russian alphabet.

Have I ever mentioned that teaching is a counterpart of learning most of the times? Not only do you (as a teacher) come across a rainbow of personalities and backgrounds, which is remarkable on its own, but also learn a whole lot of new creative approaches to interpreting the language that have never sprung to your mind before! It’s so much fun!

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TO BE’ OR NO ‘TO BE’

Iwas teaching for Expedia the other day… A complete beginner group comprising a lovely multicultural bunch with a lot of energy, enthusiasm and adorably humorous attitude to learning something utterly different to what they do in their job. Talking about jobs…

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FORGET YOUR MOTHER TONGUE

I’ve not always had a passion for teaching – this somehow gradually came out as a result of my interest in and understanding of languages – and by ‘understanding’ I don’t only mean the ability to learn. This is more to do with the skill of isolating your mind from your mother tongue and learning a second language as if it was your first. This isn’t any new theory I am trying to propose; I am not trying to reinvent the wheel here either. This is something that’s been a continuous struggle for my students and what I keep drawing their attention to as I’ve found it useful myself. All my statements are based purely on my observations and personal experience.

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