The Program: What is 'English Experiences'?
English Experiences is a new private language learning service designed by an experienced English language teacher and trainer. It is a unique and different program in which busy adults can quickly improve their English while relaxing in nature in an English speaking country. Adult learners join a small group of 5-12 other course participants and live a full immersion experience - they live and learn together with their teachers and group in beautiful natural locations in comfortable vacation homes. This is not a typical classroom in a typical school. In fact, it is superior to the traditional method of learning in a classroom in many ways: more individual attention, smaller groups, private coaching sessions, customized course content, all day speaking and listening practice with a teacher, a relaxing learning environment in fresh air so that it is easier for the brain to remember the language and more!
The Learning Philosophy
- Scientific study about how immersion is better than a classroom: https://www.georgetown.edu/news/medical-center-language-immersion-study.html
- Scientific Study that relaxed minds learn better: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-memory-brainwaves-idUSTRE62N4VJ20100324
- Scientific theories of experiential learning (Learning by Doing): http://njaes.rutgers.edu/learnbydoing/weblinks.html
- Study from Denmark about better learning with fresh air: http://www.caverion.com/about-us/media/releases/2016/01/28/better-learning-with-fresh-air
- Sitting in a classroom is not good for your body or brain: http://www.ischoolguide.com/articles/3100/20141006/column-sitting-in-class-whole-day-negatively-affects-learning.htm
Why I started English Experiences
I have been an English teacher/trainer for 17 years. Much of this time I taught English in classrooms in private schools which are well-known internationally. I loved teaching, and I loved my classes, which were full of wonderful, intelligent people. Yet I always wanted to give more individual attention to my students than I could in classes of 8-18 people. I also wanted to have the freedom to teach my students more of exactly what they needed, and sometimes the school course books I had to use as a teacher were not what my students needed at that time. I met many professionals who came to study for a short time (2-3 weeks) and I heard them tell me that they wanted to learn language that was more specific to their personal and professional needs. I also saw that many of my students were only practicing their English for the 3 hours of each weekday that they had class with me. Some of them did not have home stay families who spoke English or who had time to speak English with them, and some of them spent most of their day speaking their language (not English) with friends from their country. Very few students knew any native speakers of English to practice with.
From my own personal experience learning a language (see THIS POST) and from professional development courses about experiential learning (see THIS POST), I know that one of the best ways to learn a language is in the moments that the language occurs naturally. It is much better to learn the word "whisk" when you are holding a whisk in your hand and whisking, than it is to see it written on a whiteboard. Language learners need to USE the language in the correct context to remember it better.
One of the other things that inspired me to create these courses is the idea of a retreat. I saw that teachers in other professions (teachers of writing, meditation, yoga, business skills and others) take their students to inspiring natural places, to retreat centres and beautiful group vacation homes, to allow their students to work on their skills and enjoy the benefits of relaxing in nature at the same time. I thought it would be wonderful to bring students to these amazing natural places to allow them to learn English in a natural real life context AND relax in nature at the same time. Something good for the soul and good for the mind. It is also well known that we learn better when we are relaxed (see THIS POST) so there are many benefits of learning in this kind of a way.
I’ve been an adventurer and a lover of culture and languages since I was a young child. My dad was a linguist. My childhood was full of new places and people. I lived in more than 15 places as a child, all over North America. Some of my earliest memories are in the back of a car, watching the open road go by, listening to American folk music. I lived in the deep south of the USA and the far arctic of Canada where I learned to build igloo-like wind shelters. I spent a large percentage of my childhood living in an indigenous community where English was a second language. I was the outsider, the foreigner. We had a dog sled team for a time. I was able to see hundreds of beautiful displays of northern lights.
In my adult life I have continued to love education and adventure. I helped build a school in Africa, been amazed by giant red setting sun and the thousands of stars that I could never see at home. I spent 2 years teaching English to refugees from Burma (Myanmar) and working on human rights issues. I studied in the Fiji Islands, learning to scuba dive in one of the best spots on earth. I coached English learners in Spain. I took my sister’s children on a 3-month journey around the world. I traveled by bicycle from Vancouver in Canada to the south of Mexico. It's been an amazing and adventurous ride - I hope I am still experiencing amazing life adventures when I am 90
When I am not working to create these exciting courses for you, you can find me in my garden, on my bicycle, hiking the beautiful forests and mountains of Canada with friends, sitting in the sun with my very social and cuddly cat, or planning my next big project: to build my dream home!
I have been helping people learn how to communicate in English for 17 years. During this time I have come to believe that creativity and passion are essential to education. I believe in helping to create connections between people and that this will give people the power to find positive solutions to the many important issues and problems in our world today. Bridging communication through language learning helps to create those important connections between people.
I have the experience and the credentials to be your English learning guide - a university degree from one of Canada's top schools (Simon Fraser University), a TESOL Teaching Certificate, and professional development courses in creative facilitation and education. More importantly, I have learned how important experiential education is - to learn by doing. That's the journey I want to take you on. Let's deepen your understanding of and abilities in the English language through amazing intensive immersion experience courses!
My Credentials and Qualifications
- 17 years of experience teaching English in a number of language colleges, schools and private 1-to-1 coaching/teaching.
- All levels (true beginner to upper advanced) in Hong Kong, Thailand, Spain, Canada and Mexico
- A University Degree from one of Canada’s top schools (Simon Fraser University), graduated in top 10%
- A Certificate in Sustainable Community Development, with a focus on sustainable business and local economics
- A TESOL Teaching Diploma
- A Teaching Certificate from the University of Cambridge
- Professional Development courses in Creative and Experiential Education