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Francesca

Ambassador

  • Hourly rate £40
  • Response Time 4h
  • Number of students 47
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1st lesson free!

1st lesson free!

Native English speaker and accent softening specialist with 6 years teaching experience. BA Hons Degree in Acting. Experienced in SELT exam preparation.

Ambassador

We host the best tutors. Quality of their profile, experience in their field. Francesca will be happy to arrange your first ESOL (English) lesson.

About the lesson

I specialise in accent softening for those with a good level of English as a second language.

What to expect from an hours session:

• Having flagged individual sounds that need to be addressed, I will provide a lot of written material which will explain how to make the sounds and provide exercises for our class that you can also work on in your own time.
• During each session I will introduce some new sounds such as the “th” sound (ð for those who like IPA). We will spend time making sure the sound is pronounced correctly and practise it in the context of specific words and larger bodies of text. It’s then up to you to take it away and practice.
• Phonetic or IPA symbols will be used for my reference. However if this is something that interests you I can notate using phonetics.
• Often, where English is a second language, there is some work to be done on the pronunciation of spellings that signal multiple sounds, such as the letter “e”. This is the sort of thing we will focus on.
• I mainly work on sounds that cause the meanings of words to be confused, aiming for a clearer version of your own accent. For example “hit” and “heat” could easily be confused if the vowel sound is not pronounced correctly.
• Key to fluent speech is getting the right intonation and stress. The meaning of a word or sentence can be conveyed by intonation, so it is important to get it right. Even those with perfect English can convey the wrong meaning when they speak.
• Once you are comfortable, we will introduce some free speech as we try to work what you’ve learned into your natural speech. You can also bring your own text with specific terminology that relates to your profession.

What you get:
• Worksheets and live notes made during the session
• An individual vocal assessment
• Classes at your own pace

subjects

  • ESOL (English)
  • Oral expression - English
  • Written comprehension - English
  • +3

    Oral comprehension - English

    Written expression - English

    Accent Reduction-English

languages

  • English

levels

  • Primary
  • Secondary
  • GCSE
  • +19

    AS Level

    A Level

    BTEC

    Adult education

    Undergraduate

    Masters

    Diploma

    Doctorate

    A1

    A2

    B1

    B2

    C1

    C2

    Beginner

    Intermediate

    Advanced

    Professional

    Kids

About Francesca

I trained in voice at a top drama school, The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, where I obtained a BA in Acting. Having received three years of training in Received Pronunciation, I graduated with a keen interest in voice and dialect, going on to teach accent softening to those with English as a second language. I have taught people with many different dialects including Indian, Albanian, Greek, Polish, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, French and Italian. The methodology is the same, regardless of the dialect. Phonetically trained, I take a practical approach to teaching and learning dialects.

Currently, I am working towards an MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience and plan to research speech and auditory perception of speech in more detail. Already my studies have influenced my teaching as I discover more about the brain’s abilities and limitations in changing speech patterns. I must add that I am not a trained psychologist or therapist, despite the title of my postgraduate degree. My interest lies in scientific research.

As an actress I have been trained by many vocal coaches and have gone on to train others in how to speak confidently and assertively, be that for business or performance purposes.

Rates

packages

  • 5h: £200
  • 10h: £400

webcam

  • £40/h

free lessons

  • 30mins

Details

I offer 1 hour classes at £40 and a half an hour free consultation over Skype. In the introductory session we will form a study plan together and I can assess how best to use our time. I will send some material prior to this session and ask you to read it aloud so that I can assess which sounds need attention.

Find out more about Francesca

  • 01

    Do you speak this language fluently because of your origins or because a teacher inspired you to learn?

    English is my native language, though I studied dialects and accents when I trained as an actor at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. A third of my degree was focused on voice work and I learned not only how to speak clearly but discovered the biological mechanisms that produce speech and how to maneuver them in order to create the desired pronunciation. I trained in R.P. or "Received Pronunciation" which is the neutral English accent. Beyond getting A* grades in English language and literature at school, I went on to study modern and classical text in depth during my degree.

  • 02

    Can you name a living, historical or fictional character that you think is the emblematic representative of the language's culture?

    Shakespeare - I love Shakespeare's plays and poetry and think it's brilliant that his work is still taught in British schools.

  • 03

    Is there a typical word, phrase, tradition or behaviour in the language that you particularly like?

    It wasn't until I started teaching English and accent softening, that I realised we Brits use the word "pop" in a variety of colloquial ways. I've had a few students report that they've been in work places where phrases such as "pop it on my desk" or "I need to pop upstairs" have been used. Now I think about it, it is a strange use of the word, which more traditionally refers to a small explosion!

  • 04

    Why does speaking this language matter to you?

    I live in London where a diverse range of languages are spoken and I'm impressed the multitudes of people who speak English as a second language. It's important to celebrate language as it's how we communicate, make friends, express our feelings and it's important to the working world.

  • 05

    What is the main difficulty in learning this language and what can help the process of learning?

    English has lots of rules which are helpful to the learner, but in some respects it's also lawless which is less than helpful. Where "oo" is pronounced one way for the word "foot", it's pronounced another for the word "food". Words like this have identical or similar sounding consonants and the pronunciation of "oo" is therefore really important, to avoid confusion in meaning. In addition to this, there are some sounds that are unfamiliar to some languages, such as the voiced "th". I've worked with a lot of clients on the "th" sound.

    Another difficulty with the English language can be the different tenses. This one is important for those preparing for B1 SELT exams.

  • 06

    Provide a valuable anecdote related to your language learning or your days at school.

    English is my native language so I don't have an anecdote about learning it. However I did once work for the English Speaking Theatre in Hamburg. We'd often have school trips watch the show, "The Importance of Being Earnest". They came because they were studying English as a second language, and often very good at it! There were lots of phrases or words that were specific to era and style of the play such as "shilly-shally," which means to act indecisively. This particular word would always warrant laughter from the audience - it became such a trigger for laughter that we'd have to fight to keep a straight face on stage.

  • 07

    How has travel or a specific trip helped you to increase your skill and knowledge of the language?

    Living in London and working alongside people with English as a second language has helped me to understand how the language is learned and viewed from the perspective of the learner.

  • 08

    What makes you a Superprof in language?

    I like to jump straight into teaching at the start of the class. This sounds like a given, but it would be all too easy to warm into it, losing a good five minutes of the session. The lesson time is precious and I'd rather spend it constructively than spend time booking in a next class or any practicalities. This may mean that organisation happens over email.

    I put a lot of time into planning lessons and have built up a lot of resources to aid classes. Specifically, I have found ways to teach individual sounds that can throw those who want to work on accent and pronunciation. For most sounds, I have a word document which lists the different spelling variants, the possible pitfalls and the mechanics of how to make the sounds. I provide practice methods and materials, such as sentences that use a specific vowel or consonant frequently. I also allow people to record my voice if it is helpful.

    For SELT exams, recording my voice has aided students as they try to use conjunctions and get into a rhythm of natural speech. By B1 level, sentence structure should not be stunted and listening to someone speak about the specific points of a student's chosen topic can be of use. Listening to the radio or television can help, but nothing can replace a one-to-one session in which students' individual topics are addressed.

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