I'm a full-time ESL tutor from London, UK currently based in Milan, Italy, and I teach General and Business English to both private and corporate clients. I also give IELTS and Cambridge First preparation courses, and I teach secondary school and university students. I'm bilingual in English and Polish, I speak in a clear Southern British English accent and I'm fluent in Italian.
You may find it surprising that even though I’ve been teaching English for the last 8 years, my professional background is in online content editing and e-commerce.
I've got a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication, and back in London I worked as a content editor for companies such as GfK NOP and Expedia.
Teaching English as a second language was initially part of a reckless decision to move to a foreign country, Italy, to learn a major European language to better myself, and it ended up becoming a true passion of mine and the best job I've ever had.
I love helping people communicate and overcome their own insecurities to become their better selves, and I use my passion for learning languages to show my students how to break away from old habits and speak up.
My corporate experience has proved particularly handy in teaching Business English to adults, and I’m really happy I can share my knowledge with my students, so they can not only learn English, but also grasp fundamental principles of business culture in English speaking countries.
‘Why can't I speak English; I've been studying since primary school?'
This question is where it all starts for me as an ESL tutor, because I heard it a gazillion of times over the last 8 years, and I seem to have found an answer. The reason why most people struggle to speak despite years of study is that they simply don’t know how to do it, and they do not take full advantage of the process. They get stuck at one level repeating the same classroom mistakes, and nothing seems to be working for them - not even the most ridiculously overpriced language training courses abroad.
That's why in my work with students I focus on developing that fundamental skill - knowing how, which is one of the principles of mindfulness.
What is mindfulness?
Mindful practise of English is an absolute game changer, and I honestly believe it goes beyond learning English or any other language - it’s a key part of of the learning process, no matter the subject.
I came across mindfulness when I started practising yoga, I immediately realised how powerful it was and I instantly fell in love with it. It helped me start thinking about how I moved by shifting my focus from my goal itself, I was desperate to be able to do the handstand, to the process of achieving that goal itself.
Mindfulness can be described as a state of being aware of things: in this case the learning process. You can only reach that state by carefully observing and listening to yourself. When you study mindfully, you slow down and start reflecting on how you use the language. It’s like a pause for thought. Once you do it, you start noticing mistakes you are making and start learning from them.
The opposite of mindful is mindless, and it’s exactly what happens in the classroom environment where students are taught to focus on the goal – passing tests – rather than really learn how to use English as a language. The problem with mindless learning is it doesn’t end there; it sticks with most people for their life as something they learnt at school and stops them from excelling.
How do I teach a mindful practice of English?
As an English teacher, I guide my students through and carefully explain each and every step of the learning process so it’s always a mindful practice where they become aware of what they are doing and start truly benefitting from it.
For example, when reading a passage of text, I show my students how to read effectively by spotting word combinations such as run a company or heavy smoker and think how that compares to their language. By doing so, they learn how to stop translating literally and start using English logic and English expressions instead, which dramatically improves their speaking skills.
I'm a huge fan of teaching pronunciation, and I believe understanding the complexity of the English phonetic system is key to becoming a confident English speaker. I invite my students to repeat complicated words and even record themselves and listen to what they said to spot their mistakes and start paying attention to the nuances of English pronunciation and spelling rather than mindlessly apply pronunciation rules from their own language.
As for grammar, I like to show my students it’s a really useful toolbox they can utilise to add different shades of meaning to their message and stop looking at it as a set of weird rules that have nothing to do with a communicative act, which is something they are led to believe at school.
Surrounded by touch screen devices, we live in the age of misinformation and constant distraction where nobody listens or reads anymore. Taught to be competitive and strive for the best professionally and in private life, we’re constantly running somewhere or after something and we forget about the power of deep reflection.
This is exactly what mindfulness is about: reflecting on yourself and taking advantage from what comes out of that pause for thought. It might sound overly simplistic as a teaching method, but I have seen it work miracles, and I believe I can convince you to it as well.
How is that for a method to you? Please drop me line using my contact form below, and I'll do my best to get back to you
within 24 hours.