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  • Ambassador
  • (18 reviews)
Y
YUKIKO
« Perfect! I appreciate you so much Helen! You made not only my day, but a year!... More »
Y
YUKIKO
« Perfect! I appreciate you so much Helen! You made not only my day, but a year! I feel like Christmas is coming! I have never thought of myself as such a great person. Thanks for your amazing review, it encourages me a lot! »
£24/h
1st lesson free!
Profile and degree verified
Response Time 7h
Lessons offered by Helen
  • Individual
The lessons will be held
  • By webcam
Taught subjects
  • ESOL (English)
  • Oral expression - English
  • Vocabulary - English
  • Written comprehension - English
  • Oral comprehension - English
  • Written expression - English
  • Business English
  • IELTS
  • Accent Reduction-English
  • TOEFL
  • Cambridge First Certificate FCE
  • Certificate Of Advanced English Cae
  • EFL
  • Certificate Of Proficiency In English Cpe
Levels
  • GCSE
  • AS Level
  • A Level
  • Adult education
  • Undergraduate
  • BTEC
  • Masters
  • Diploma
  • Doctorate
  • B1
  • B2
  • C1
  • C2
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • Professional

Watch my video, qualified native English teacher with a Master's degree in English teaching/Applied Linguistics from Griffith University, Australia, 8 years of experience

Methodology

Being an English teacher is my occupation and vocation. I am a Master of Arts in English teaching and Applied Linguistics, Griffith University, Australia. After graduation, I taught at Griffith University and a variety of language academies in Australia, England, Scotland, Spain in addition to being a private tutor. Overall, I've spent 8 years teaching students from different countries, cultural backgrounds, level of proficiency and age groups.



In my teaching, I follow an effective method mastered during my studies and teaching practice - a communicative student-centred approach. It means I don't explain grammar and vocabulary in a traditional way. Instead, I make YOU think, reflect, realise, learn and arrive at conclusions not just receive given results from the teacher. I put you in the centre and help you to feel the language, comprehend its core and the way it functions.



During the classes, we will have a lot of practical work. You will learn how to behave appropriately in any real-life situation. In other words, you'll be able to cope with whatever life throws at you in English. Moreover, I pay a lot of attention to your pronunciation: I will correct your sounds and meticulously work on the improvement of your accent until it's native-like. I can teach you three distinct types of English accents: Australian, British and American. You choose which accent you're going to become an expert in :)

P.S. Check out my video CVs in English and Spanish languages via my youtube channel helenoz.

In addition, take a look at my interview responses in the bottom of the page after the "recommendations" section - you'll find loads of handy information there!

In my article: "In your opinion, what does it take to be a successful English speaker?" I give 11 useful tips. I came up with them over the years thanks to my teaching practice and students' feedback.

I recently compiled my personal reflection "Alice in Wonderland" for my students to help them learn as many helpful phrases as possible in the easiest and quickest way possible from just one source.

It contains more than 100 (!) phrasal verbs, collocations, set expressions, phrases and idioms, which I meticulously hand-picked. All of them are widely used and up to date. Moreover, they are exceptionally easy to remember thanks to the context I’ve put them in. And there is no need to jump all over the net and navigate through dozens of websites to find the expressions/idioms – they are already at your fingertips.

So, make sure you check them out and if you liked the reflection, feel free to get in touch :) I have ​heaps of​ ​fun and extraordinary activities related to it, which will significantly ​boost up your vocabulary and greatly improve your English speaking skills.

Ambassador

One of our best tutors! High-quality profile, qualifications verified and response guaranteed. Helen will plan your first lesson with care.

Background

If I choose you as my student and you choose me as your teacher, I will address all of your English language needs to the best of my ability. That's why you'll be able to reach your goals with me in the shortest amount of time possible.

My qualifications, level of proficiency, experience, results of my teaching and time/effort invested in tailoring the classes to your specific needs ensure your tangible progress. My personality contributes immensely as well - I am friendly, understanding, considerate and supportive. I know where to encourage you more and where to let you absorb the knowledge at your own pace. You can be sure that with me you'll easily gain confidence, open up and practice your English in everyday real-life situations without anything holding you back.

Therefore, whether you would like to become fluent in English for personal or professional reasons, study or work in a foreign country - give it a go, you will be satisfied with your decision.

In terms of online classes, it has been widely acknowledged that they go very well and are exceptionally convenient. Personally, I had been teaching both online and face-to-face for more than 5 years. Eventually, my students and I decided that online classes were much more efficient than face-to-face due to the advantages they offer. To name a few:

- A comfort of your home as a place of studying;

- A flexible schedule as there is no need to commute;

- A possibility to continue with your classes even if you move to a different city/country or travel a lot on a regular basis;

- And many more, the list goes on :)

Last but not least - in order for your learning process to be successful, you'll need to have an excellent internet connection and a laptop (e.g. MacBook Pro, Samsung Notebook 9, etc.). I’m sure you understand that the classes can not be conducted via tablet computers, smartphones (e.g. iPads, iPhones, etc.) or if the internet connection is poor.

Rates

Rate for online lessons : £24/h

Details

Classes are taught to ADULTS ONLY (18 years old and older). Therefore, please note that lesson requests from parents who are looking for a tutor for their underage children will NOT be considered.

Classes are conducted EXCLUSIVELY online via Skype. The duration of a free introductory class is 15 minutes, so we will have enough time to discuss any questions you may have.

General English classes, conversation classes, visual thematic speaking sessions, vocabulary / grammar development classes, preparation for job interviews and creation of video/audio CVs.

Please keep in mind that if you’d like your results to be tangible and sustainable, you should commit to having at least 2-3 classes per week. Think of mastering your English language skills as training your muscles - are you going to be able to gain any noticeable muscle strength going to the gym just once per week? Not likely. Without a strong commitment, your muscles are going to quickly forget any training they underwent. The same applies to your English skills.

I’m looking forward to helping you to achieve your English language goals :)

Lessons offered by Helen
Individual
The lessons will be held
webcam
Taught subjects
  • ESOL (English)
  • Oral expression - English
  • Vocabulary - English
  • Written comprehension - English
  • Oral comprehension - English
  • Written expression - English
  • Business English
  • IELTS
  • Accent Reduction-English
  • TOEFL
  • Cambridge First Certificate FCE
  • Certificate Of Advanced English Cae
  • EFL
  • Certificate Of Proficiency In English Cpe
Levels
  • GCSE
  • AS Level
  • A Level
  • Adult education
  • Undergraduate
  • BTEC
  • Masters
  • Diploma
  • Doctorate
  • B1
  • B2
  • C1
  • C2
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • Professional

Helen's CV

- Master of Arts in English teaching/Applied Linguistics, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia.

- Bachelor's degree in English teaching/Translation/Interpreting, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia.

- IELTS (The International English Language Testing System), grade 8.5, Middlesex University, Great Britain, England, London.

- CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English), grade A, Middlesex University, London, England, United Kingdom.

- TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), score 118, Queensland University of Technology, Queensland, Australia.

- Certificate: "Cutting edge techniques in IELTS and TOEFL teaching", Griffith University, Queensland, Australia.

- Certificate: "Modern approaches to FCE, CAE, CPE teaching", The University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia.

- Certificate: "Communicative student-centred teaching, master the future", The University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia.

- Certificate: "Effective and up-to-date teaching methods", Queensland University of Technology, Queensland, Australia.

- Certificate: "Communicative teaching - contemporary methods", University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom.

- Certificate: "Innovative English language teaching techniques and methods", The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom.

- Certificate: "English language learning pitfalls and how to avoid them", Middlesex University London, London, England.

- DELE (Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language), level C1, Valencia, Spain.

18 reviews on Helen
  • 5/5

All our ratings are collected by us and are given in confidence, they correspond to a real experience.
Y
YUKIKO

Perfect! I appreciate you so much Helen! You made not only my day, but a year! I feel like Christmas is coming! I have never thought of myself as such a great person. Thanks for your amazing review, it encourages me a lot!

Helen's response

Yuki is one of my students who is from Tokyo, Japan. It has been a great pleasure for me to give classes to such an amiable, warm-hearted and resourceful person. When I’m planning our classes I’m always thinking of ways to impress Yuki and help her learn and practice something she hasn’t known before. I’m immensely excited about her progress and enjoy seeing her use some of the grammar or vocabulary we learnt during the previous lessons.

In general, I’m very glad to acknowledge that Yuki has proven to be an exceptionally diligent student. Even though working on her mistakes was demanding for her at first, every class she kept proving to me that she wasn’t going to give up. She was clearly ready to overcome difficulties in order to achieve her aim.

It was inspiring for me to see this unyielding commitment in her.

In a nutshell, Yuki’s initial goal was to receive 6.5 overall in IELTS exam to apply for her studies at Griffith University, Australia. Her previous result was 6.0 overall and we had only 2 weeks of preparation to improve it. Therefore, I warned Yuki that this limited amount of time might not be enough to change the grade for the better. Yuki fully accepted that possibility and decided to go through an intensive preparation anyway.

Eventually, her effort paid off - she got 6.5 overall in just 2 weeks. We were on cloud nine when we received this amazing news! The result wasn’t completely unexpected though - the amount of effort she invested in the preparation was humongous.

Not only did she work hard during the classes trying to absorb and practice as much material as possible, but also she carefully did all of the home written and oral assignments to revise and reinforce everything that was learnt during the class. It’s no wonder that thanks to such a thorough approach to studies Yuki improved significantly over a short period of time and was able to achieve a desired overall grade in IELTS. I couldn’t be happier for her ;)

At the moment, we’re preparing Yuki’s oral and written skills to university studies, which, of course, isn’t a piece of cake. Nevertheless, I’m confident that she’ll be able to succeed in this area the same way she succeeded in her exam preparation. On my part, I’ll make sure to provide her with all the necessary knowledge and training so she could feel well-prepared.

In addition, I did my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Griffith Uni as well, so I am happy to share my personal experience with her, give some useful tips about the assignments and ensure that she figures out all ins and outs of university life in general. Hopefully, my profound involvement in Yuki’s uni studies will help her to avoid lots of pitfalls and make her transition into the university life less problematic and much easier.

V
Veronica

Perfect! Thank you very much Helen! This review makes me feel more motivated :) You are an inspiring teacher!

Helen's response

Veronica is one of the most diligent students I’ve had in years. She is as passionate about being my student as I am about being her teacher. I’ve been having classes with Veronica for a couple of months now and her progress has been hard to overlook: her vocabulary has become much more abundant and sophisticated, her grammar - more accurate, her pronunciation - much clearer and more native-like. Moreover, she is genuinely interested in improving her current English level and that makes teaching her even more satisfying.

Vero, I will do my best to lead you on the path you’ve chosen and work on your English skills until we master them to perfection. You’re a fantastic student, just be yourself and continue to study hard. On my part, I promise I’ll keep you on your toes every step of the way :) Looking forward to our next class!

16 recommendations

Y
YUKIKO

Hi there!

I’m Yuki from Tokyo, Japan. I have been learning English with Helen for the last 3 months. I have been enjoying lessons with Helen and have been fond of her personality from the very beginning.

Before I found her on the Superprof website, I was in big trouble with studying English in Australia. The reason was that the teachers were too easy-going and inaccurate, so I used to speak and write with many mistakes. However, Helen is completely different. She is meticulous and accurate in every aspect of English, e.g., grammar, punctuation, pronunciation and vocabulary. Also, her positive, cheerful personality is wonderful. She never forgets to encourage a student throughout the lesson. Moreover, she is very understandable and flexible when it comes to changing the course of studies. I’m pretty sure that I am a student with one of the most challenging requirements ever! But she always listens to me and tries to adapt to my requests in quite a flexible way.

Since I started learning with Helen, I think my confidence in speaking has dramatically increased. She pointed out my weak points, even though I had not noticed them before. It was an eye-opening experience for me! It gives me more courage to express my thoughts. Moreover, it is the same in grammar. Helen corrects my grammar mistakes and gives me a chance to review the grammar structure. It is such a relief to finally use the correct grammar and vocabulary. I haven’t used it correctly for ages!

Initially, my goal was to get 6.5 overall in IELTS score, so I could start my studies at Griffith University. Before I started the lessons I had 6.0 and we had just 2 weeks until the exam. Despite having such a short time to prepare for the test, Helen gave me some very clear advice regarding every part of the exam. Moreover, she tailored the curriculum structure for me. Eventually, it worked amazingly well - I got 6.5 overall in IELTS after 2 weeks of preparation.

Now I am studying with Helen to get ready for my degree “Bachelor of Creative and Interactive Arts”, which will commence next month. Thanks to Helen’s teaching, I feel inspired to start my new learning path. I am a fortunate student who could find Helen as my English teacher!

L
Laura

Hi there! My name is Laura and I’ve been Helen’s student for around 6 months now. I usually have classes 2-3 times per week depending what my schedule allows. I wish I could have classes more often, but I work-full time and have two kids so 2-3 times per week is the best I can do at the moment.

Every week we have classes that I absolutely adore! Helen calls them visual thematic speaking sessions. They are truly remarkable, I’ve never had a chance to learn English in such an innovative and easy way using Google Slides before. I remembered and actually started using in my speech so many useful phrasal verbs and expressions, I’ve lost count! And just imagine I was convinced a had a terrible memory and didn’t have a knack for languages at all (another idiom that Helen taught me last week, by the way). And my grammar improved without me noticing it at first. I’m so proud of it. I see from my friends’ and colleagues’ comments that my new enhanced vocabulary and grammar make me sound like a native-speaker! It had been one of my greatest ambitions for a long time, but I hadn’t been able to fulfill it until I asked Helen to become my tutor. 

I work as a department head in a well-known consulting company, so my improved English skills help me a lot when it comes to getting my point across and avoiding any misunderstandings. Now I don’t have to explain anything twice, it saves me a lot of time.

Overall, I’m very satisfied with our classes. In addition, Helen is always full of beans and that makes learning so much easier! Even when I’m exhausted after an 8-hour working day, when I switch on my computer I know that Helen’s positive energy is going to transfer over to me.

I guess I could write for a really long time trying to mention all of my impressions. The bottom line is: thanks a lot, Helen! I’m so glad that I found you after so many failed attempts, can’t wait to improve my English further!

T
Takis

Helen is a great professional. The way she teaches English is very pedagogic and fun at the same time. We practice grammar through interesting conversations steadily increasing the complexity of vocabulary. She enriches the learnings by introducing native expressions which I can use in my English conversations with business colleagues and friends. Moreover, she prepares and personalizes every class, taking into account past studies, reviews and new topics to settle your knowledge and ensure your progress. In addition, she provides quite a few good examples to support each lesson and help you understand the sometimes tricky English grammar. To sum it all up, she really makes the difference, I'm learning a lot and I feel much more confident about my English since Helen has become my teacher.

Y
Yura

I have always been happy with our classes and Helen's way of teaching, really interesting and productive. Not only does she correct my mistakes during the classes, but also sends me recordings which point out what should I pay special attention too. Moreover, she records exercises designed to improve your pronunciation, when I get home I listen to them and repeat the sounds, practice them in front of the mirror. Some of my colleagues at work are crazy jealous cause my English is better than theirs now.

V
Veronica

Helen is a great English language teacher. She uses innovative ways of teaching, which always make me feel motivated. The lessons are adjusted to my needs and involve a variety of modern resources. Moreover, her methods help me to improve my pronunciation and incorporate new vocabulary. Apart from that, she is an enthusiastic and dedicated teacher who displays her extensive knowledge in every virtual meeting. Personally, I consider her as a supportive tutor. If you ask me, I wholeheartedly recommend her classes!

Daria

I like Helen’s way of teaching. Mixing up grammar material with vocabulary, sharing her experience of English learning, she made our classes saturated, dynamic and productive. However, what I liked the most were speaking clubs with Helen. Interesting topics, creative tasks and nice time spending with English practice. In general, my English level raised up tangibly after our lessons, as I attended classes willingly and gained pleasure from study.

A
Alfonso

Helen is a very qualified teacher, she tailors English classes to your needs and brings your skills to a whole different level. You won't get bored because she is very funny and she knows what to do in every moment to get your attention. In addition, she uses a very good method and always corrects your mistakes. Although she is a young teacher, her English knowledge is top-notch and because she speaks Spanish the learning curve is easier.

Maria

Helen is the best teacher that I have ever had. Her English classes are very complete because we continually go over the vocabulary we learnt in the previous class, practise the pronuntiation, do listenings, use collocations, etc. Moreover, her classes are really dynamic, we don’t stop, there is no time to loose. I feel that this is the first time that I am improving my English very fast! In a few months I have noticed that it has become much easier for me to understand a native accent. In addition, my speaking is better as well. Without any doubts Helen is the teacher that I have been looking for for years!

M
Mariano

Helen has a very modern and dynamic method of teaching English. She adapts classes according to your individual needs, from conversation to grammar, from idioms to phrasal verbs, giving you a whole picture of the English language. As a consequence, I have improved my English by using constantly the things I am learning and I became a more efficient speaker. Helen takes classes very seriously and I strongly recommend you to try having classes with her so you can see by yourself what I mean.

J
Julia

¡Qué profe tan divertida y energética, me encanta! Me da muy buen rollo, las clases siempre van rápido, no me lo puedo creer, antes de empezar con ella durante clases en una academia siempre estaba pensando “no lo puedo aguantar mas, me voy ya”, pero con ella no me molesta nada. Y me alegra que me haya pedido escribir la recomendación, ¡es una profe fantástica!

Interview with Helen

QUESTION 01 | 04
When did your passion for teaching languages begin?
Helen — To start with, I was a very successful English learner back in high school. Even though English was our first language, we still had classes dedicated to mastering English writing and communicative skills, sociolinguistics, bilingualism, etc. My friends and classmates would always consult me regarding some tips or explanations if our teachers weren’t able to provide them. I was keen to help them out. Why not? I was really pleased they trusted me.
Soon, my mates would ask me: “Could you stay a bit longer after the class and explain us a thing or two? There are quite a few things we don’t get. We’d really appreciate it”.

I decided to give that idea a go since all of those guys were my mates and it felt great to do something nice for them. However, the real turning point was when they passed the exams I’ve been preparing them for with flying colours. What a pleasant surprise! I couldn’t believe how tangible and quick their progress was. Before I thought about some of them: “Oh, well, maybe they just don’t have a flair for languages”.

I have never thought like that since. As soon as they received fantastic results, I realised that everyone can learn a new language, no exceptions - they just need a tutor who knows which key to use to unlock this hidden and secure place in their brain called “language skills”. It became clear to me that the problem wasn’t them, but the lack of a necessary guidance, a proper tutor who could honestly say: “I’ve been in your shoes, I know how you feel and the difficulties you’re facing. And I sure can make the difference”.

I was very proud of my part in their success. So I thought to myself: ”Can’t believe how happy they are! And I taught them well without even knowing any professional teaching techniques. What if I actually learn couple of those? Go to the uni and become a highly qualified teacher? Dedicate myself to teaching and make it my vocation? Just imagine how many people I could help to achieve their goals and how happy would they all become”.

I decided it just there and then and never changed my mind since. I enrolled at Griffith University and in 5 years obtained my Master’s degree in English teaching. It wasn’t easy, but I always knew why I was doing it - my aim gave me the strength and willpower that I needed to make it happen. I’m immensely happy to realise that it was well worth it - I have been teaching for 8 years now and never doubted even for a second my decision to become a professional English teacher. I have to thank my students for that of course - they are fighters who keep studying and practicing until we reach the results everyone is hoping for. So thanks to all of you, guys :) You’ve chosen the right person to guide you along the way. The only thing left now is to keep calm and master your English skills step by step :)
QUESTION 02 | 04
In your opinion, what does it take to be a successful English speaker?
Helen — 1) A tutor, who has a university degree in English teaching and has dedicated his/her life to teaching, considers it as a vocation; someone who is able to guide the students on their learning path professionally and skillfully, understands what they are going through as s/he had experienced the same while learning another language.

2) Students must possess a resolute and unyielding desire to overcome all of the difficulties and keep working on their English skills until they achieve the results they are looking for. It’s crucial not to give up and believe in yourself and your abilities.

3) Patience - you’re not going to master a language overnight. Don’t pressure yourself, let your brain soak in the information you’re feeding it in a stable and stress-free manner. It’s better to learn less, but thoroughly understand the usages and pitfalls incorrect understanding of the expression brings, practice it as much as you can rather than just memorise 10 different expressions in one day and let your brain erase them all later. And there would be no escaping that, be well sure of that - our brain is not designed to learn a new language in a rash and stressful fashion. Just remember the nautical phrase used abundantly in “Pirates of the Caribbean” film series: “Steady as she goes” and you’ll be fine.

4) Try to live in a country where English is a native language - pick up a 2-3 month English course and off you go! You won’t believe the progress you’ve made. Be friendly, approachable and open-minded, don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with your classmates or teachers - small talk is a key when it comes to loosening up and losing the fear of speaking in a different language. Soon you will realise that overcoming the language barrier has never been easier.

On top of that, if you have a chance, do your university studies there - whether it’s a Bachelor’s/Master’s degree or simply an exchange programme - give it a try, you won’t regret it. The longer you stay there and communicate with native speakers, the better. The same applies to business trips and other professional engagements: if an opportunity presents itself - grab it and never look back. No fear. No doubts. No regrets. See it as your motto.

P.S. Going on a 1-2 week vacation to an English - speaking country is a good idea as well, but don’t expect this trip to significantly enhance your English speaking skills. It might help you to pick up a word or two and make some friends, but don’t get your hopes up - this period of time is not enough to make a difference in your language skills clearly noticeable.

5) If you can’t visit / live in an English speaking country at the moment, that’s not a big deal, don’t let it prevent you from practicing English. You can always find native or English speakers where you are. Try googling things like “language exchange tandems” or “language exchange meetups” - I’m sure something interesting will pop up. Nowadays it’s been really common for like minders to get together and organise these sorts of events. Since the majority of them are informal, don’t be shy, give it a shot even if you don’t have anyone to go there with - you’ll definitely find someone to talk to and will end up making some awesome new friends.

6) If you decide to participate in these events, just see them as a way of chilling out in the end of a working week - don’t see your participation as something that you have to do, but rather what you want to do. In other words, allow an English speaking practice to become something that you do because it feels good, something you do because it’s fun, not something you do because you need it for work or studies. This kind of attitude will ensure that you see “learning English” as your friend at all times, even when it might be exhausting to keep working on your skills, and never as a foe. Moreover, it might help you to start thinking in English every now and then. Which brings me to my next point:

7) Think in English. Just try. You won’t have a hard time just trying, will you? Start slowly, once a day, don’t push it. Come up with something easy: “I need to put an alarm clock on” or “I’ve forgotten to brush my teeth”. Just think these simple sentences in your head. Don’t start with trying to analyse a movie or figuring out the purpose of our existence - no sense whatsoever, you’ll drop it after a few tries. Start slowly, steadily, imagine that you’re a baby learning how to walk. Keep this going for a couple of days, weeks or months - it’s entirely up to you. Then when you feel like it’s time to take it up a notch, move on to making little monologues in your head about silly mundane things, e.g.,: “Just look at this fantastic weather! Can’t wait to go on my lunch break and enjoy the sunshine. By the way, where is my lunch box? Have I forgotten it at home? No way, I remember putting it in my bag while that blond girl with a funny accent was on the news. Oh, here it is! How absent-minded of me”.

You see what I’m getting at? Soon, you won’t even notice how quickly you switch from one topic to another, how easy it is to let your thoughts flow and how unusual but satisfying it is to think in another language. Just start, start somewhere, you will get to your destination faster than you expect.

8) Choose your own way. No matter what everyone else says or recommends: listen to yourself and study with your own pace. Don’t compare yourself to others, it’s going to drive you crazy! Some people become more fluent or get the hang of a new grammar quicker than the others, and that’s totally fine. Mind that, but never allow yourself to think that you are less talented or less inclined to learning a language. That’s a complete and utter nonsense! You are as capable as everyone else. Never underestimate yourself - I keep saying that to my students almost every day. Allow yourself the luxury of mastering a language at your own pace. You’re going to get there - just give it as much time as you need.

9) Another key point: always keep your spirits high - that’s an absolute must, folks. If you’re frustrated or feel that you aren’t fully satisfied with your progress - address this issue immediately, talk to your teacher, discuss what is it that makes you feel upset or worried and your teacher should be able to coin for you a different approach. However, If your current teacher can’t help you with whatever issue you’re facing - find the one who can.

10) Accept that learning a new language is an individual process - there are no universal measures of how quickly one achieves the desired result. It all depends on you and your teacher. Therefore, believe in your success and choose your tutor wisely. If you haven’t found him/her yet, then keep looking until you find a teacher who best suits your needs. If you have - remind yourself from time to time how lucky you’ve been and show your teacher how much you appreciate him/her by studying hard and absorbing as much of what your tutor teaches you as possible.

11) Lastly, if you can’t remember a word from what you’ve just read and want a simple conclusion, just remember this: you deserve to have classes with the most talented, qualified and experienced teacher there is. Don’t settle for anything less.
QUESTION 03 | 04
Can you name a living, historical or fictional character that you think is the emblematic representative of the language's culture?
Helen — “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll. Please turn to question #4 for explanations.
QUESTION 04 | 04
Is there a typical word, phrase, tradition or expression in the language that you particularly like?
Helen — There are literally hundreds! I’m a huge English language fan and big on phrasal verbs, collocations, set expressions, phrases and idioms. To prove that, I’m going to share with you my personal reflection, which I compiled for my students to help them learn as many helpful phrases as possible in the easiest and quickest way possible from just one source. Together with this introduction, it contains more than 100 (!) useful and handy expressions which I meticulously hand-picked. All of them are widely used and up to date. Moreover, they are exceptionally easy to remember thanks to the context I’ve put them in. And there is no need to jump all over the net and navigate through dozens of websites to find the expressions/idioms – they are already at your fingertips.

So, make sure you check them out and if you liked the reflection, feel free to get in touch :) I have ​heaps of​ ​fun and extraordinary activities related to it, which will significantly ​boost up your vocabulary and ​immensely improve your English speaking skills.

The reflection is about “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll, it inspires me to be creative. Enjoy!

P.S. The phrasal verbs, collocations, set expressions, phrases and idioms are marked in bold italics.


“The best way to explain it is to do it”


The older I get, ​the more sense does Lewis Carroll’s tale “Alice in Wonderland” make​​.

When I was a kid, I saw it simply as a ​lamboyant inexplicable blur that I couldn’t put my finger on​​.

“​What on Earth​​ is it about?”, I used to wonder.

“I don’t ​get it​​, but I have to”, I thought to myself as soon as an ​unyielding desire​ ​to figure it ​out started ​seeping into my consciousness after another attempt ​to pinpoint its storyline​​ failed.

My persistence was full-on ​– I read it ​from cover to cover m​​uch more than once. Now I think that I reread it for far too many times, ​a thousand times over, ​to be fair. ​In my defence,​​ I actually thought that was going to help me somehow. But it was all ​in vain​​, I ​got nothing out of it. ​​It seemed that I just couldn’t get it into my head ​​no matter how hard I tried.

I remember that one day I decided to share the struggle I was ​going through ​​with my mum. She ​burst into laughter and told me: “Don’t try ​to wrap your head around it just yet, ​sugarplum.​​ Trust me, you’re going ​to get a kick out of it ​​when you’re older”.

As you might have guessed, I did not appreciate that reassurance at all. All I replied was: “​Gee​​, thanks, ma, that’s extremely helpful”.

Little did I know that she was indeed right. But my childhood naivety and stubbornness wouldn’t let me ​become conscious of that. Therefore, despite my mum’s wise suggestion, I wasn’t going to ​give up on it​​ yet.

I thought that the best solution would be to ​look at it from a different angle. ​​And that angle for me was a 1951 American animated ​musical ​fantasy-​ ​adventure film produced by ​Walt Disney Productions “Alice in Wonderland”. I asked my dad to buy me a videotape, so I could watch it and finally ​make some sense out of it​​. I kept telling myself that there had always been a lot of ​hype around it and it must have been for a reason. So, I was determined to ​get to the bottom of it and some ​visual aids ​​never harm. Besides, it’s ​a no-brainer​​ that I eventually chose a cartoon over a book.

What kid wouldn’t?

But even then, no matter how many times I watched the doorknob at the bottom of the rabbit hole say: ​“​Follow the directions and you will be directly directed into the right direction”,​ I still had ​no clue about what was going. ​​Only when I realised that I will understand all ins and out of the tale only ​when the hell freezes over​​, I finally decided to listen to my mum’s ​piece of advice and ​leave it alone. “​​ It's all ​a fuss about nothing anyway​”, ​I concluded.

And so ​I​​ ​was done,​​ ​case closed.

I decided to switch to the more traditional tales like “Cinderella”, “Sleeping Beauty” and “The Little Mermaid” which truly were like ​a breath of fresh air ​​to me. They seemed logical, unambiguous and sensical to my little girl’s mind. ​In a nutshell, ​a totally different ball game: no absurd events, no ​intricacies woven into the fabric of the plot​​, no encrypted messages, no puzzles, no ​peculiar ​​or ​anthropomorphic creatures ​– nope, ​nada. That literary nonsense was ​over and done with. ​​It was such a relief to finally be ​on the same wavelength w​​ith the main characters, such a joy.

How could I have known that this idyllic union wasn't going to last ​for all eternity​​?

Now when I am a grown-up, we had to ​split up with those tales due to some irreconcilable differences. ​​That might put a smile on your face, but that’s the best explanation I can ​come up with.​​

Out of the blue, it all just ​turned upside down​​: “Cinderella”, “Sleeping Beauty” and “The Little Mermaid” started ​making no sense whatsoever and “Alice” appeared ​to make all the sense in the world.​

Why?

I couldn’t help but wonder: “​​ Have I changed into a completely different person?” Apparently, I have.
But when?

Suddenly I discovered how Alice must have felt when she asked herself:

“Was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different”.

What an ​accurate description.

I’ll probably never know exactly when ​the scales tipped in “Alice’s” favour. ​​But I do suspect that as soon as I truly turned into a mature grown-up person, I ​became aware of​​ the fact that ​there was much more to it than met the eye.

That is the truth that Lewis Carroll had always known.
You can’t ​trick the trickster, c​​an you?
He was certain that ​come hell or high water w​​e were going to see its true colours shine through​​. After all, he wrote a story for adults and ​disguised it in the most ​bizarreway for a reason. Only ​a silver-tongued devil like he ​could have gotten away with it so easily.

What ​an eye-opener!

Even though the story ​had always been within our reach, “Alice” didn’t ​reach out to us until we were ready for it. That’s why only years and years later, after having discarded the story ​for good​​, we admit that we might have been ​way too hasty. And then it ​comes upon us:

Good Lord!​​ Lewis Carroll is a genius! A ​bona fide​​ genius.
Have you ever stopped to wonder how ​deep-rooted ​​and wise, yet surprisingly clear and ​comprehensible ​​these famous quotes are?

“I don’t see how he can ever finish, if he doesn’t begin” ​or

“If everybody m​inded their own business the world would go round ​a deal faster than it does”.

Simple, aren’t they?

And simplicity is genius. As Albert Einstein said:

“The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.”

And that’s exactly what Lewis Carroll did.

As soon as we ​ascertain that, without further ado​​, we ​get down to ​discerning ​​the fine wisdom​​ and ​intricate​​ ​brilliance​​ in other seemingly ​preposterous​​ phrases like:

I​'m afraid I​​ can't explain myself, sir. Because I am not myself, you see?​” or “It’s n​o use going​​ back to yesterday because I was a different person then”​.

And these aren’t the only “jewels” ​​that made us fall in love with tale unconditionally and irrevocably.​​ Thanks to their ​cunning humour and ​insightful perception o​​f human nature, many other phrases gained their ​rightful place​ in the ​​golden treasury of children’s literature​.​​

A few ​​notable examples​:

“I’m not crazy. My reality is just different than yours”.

“Well, I never heard it before, but it sounds uncommon nonsense”.

“She generally gave herself very good advice, though she very seldom followed it”. Do you recognise yourself in these quotes?

I certainly do.

And that’s more than enough for me to be with Alice ​​on the same page​.

​To sum it all up​,​​ I would like to address Lewis Carroll with these words:

“D​ear Lewis,

Your insane “Alice in Wonderland” is our last ​​shred of​ sanity in this ​​tangled and twisted reality​ with no Cheshire Cat to tell us ​“which way we ought to go from here”.

You might have felt ​​“entirely bonkers”​​​ yourself when you wrote it.

So what?

“I'll tell you a secret, –​ a​​ll the best people are”.

Eternally grateful,
Your grown-up kid,
Helen.




​“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to."
"I don't much care where –"
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go.”


Aliceand The Cheshire Cat,​ Alice in Wonderland​ by L​ewis Carroll

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