Today, we present you « Guénola », our english teacher at GMH! What about her ? 

Can you tell us a bit about your background?

I am originally from Brittany, France (hence the Celtic name!) and, like many Bretons, I have always had the urge to travel, discover new places and meet people from different cultures.

After graduating from high school, I decided to study International Business and moved around a lot in France and overseas to pursue this career path. I graduated with a Master’s degree in International Business from the University of Oklahoma, USA. I then worked for several American corporations, mainly in the industrial sector, and after a few years I decided to change jobs to focus on teaching.

Why did you choose teaching?

I actually come from a family of entrepreneurs, so I guess I chose international business maybe to follow my family’s footsteps. But deep in my heart, I always wanted to be a teacher. When I was a kid, I kept telling my parents that I was going to be an English teacher. It looks like I have naturally returned to my number one childhood dream!
I have always had a passion for the English language and the power of growing through the learning process.

What keeps you motivated?

Being able to communicate in English opens the doors to the whole world, not only giving you the ability to interact with people from all over the world, but also giving you access to a huge amount of information and English content.
Since I specialize in business and tourism English, I love having the opportunity to help people feel more comfortable in English, improve their skills and give them some tools to achieve their career goals.

From your experience, what are the challenges French people face when it comes to speaking English at work?

The best example I can think of is the fact that many adult learners I have met were able to recite irregular verbs by heart, but felt helpless and at a loss when it came to speaking or having a conversation in English.

I have observed that many of my students feel uncomfortable speaking because of a lack of oral practice, but also because of a fear of making mistakes. We tend to forget that foreign customers always appreciate when we make an effort to speak their language and are usually more than happy to help!

I think the most important thing to remember is that it is okay to make mistakes along the way. We tend to forget that the ultimate goal is to understand and be understood by your customers in order to provide the best customer service possible.

If you could give advice to French people who want to start improving their English on their own, what would you suggest?

Start small: doing a little bit every day is much more efficient than working long hours and then doing nothing for two weeks.

Listen to more English and watch shows / movies in English: with English subtitles, even if it feels difficult at first. It trains your listening, pronunciation, comprehension and vocabulary all at the same time!

Talk to yourself in English: Try to formulate your thoughts in English as you get ready or on your way to work for instance.
There are a lot of other ways, such as: finding exercises online or an app to practice, setting your phone and/or apps in English, watching YouTube videos about learning English (there are a ton of interesting resources out there!) or even better: watching videos on a topic you are interested in (if your hobby is painting, watch painting tutorials, but in English).
There are no rules, except: have fun! Choose topics, activities, videos or movies that you enjoy. Trick your brain into thinking it is just for fun, while you are actively learning!
“The spirit of learning is a lasting frontier.” (-Bizzel Memorial Library, Norman, OK)

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