Every day we can read about learners and parents being dissatisfied with education. Studying is still the main objective for acquiring knowledge and learning is often associated with something difficult and downputting. But learning is also innante and natural and we all know it can be enjoyable and rewarding.
Lack of relevancy
A poor Test focused system
Teacher burn out and not motivated
Failure to keep up with technological changes
Are only few of the problems and complaints we are witnessing.
We are going to discuss today about the main problems around education and hopefully help many learners decide the best model for them.
I’m here today with Carlos Fung and Rob Wylie in Barcelona and Graeme Bell in Málaga.
My name is Radmila Gurkova. Let’s get started.
Another year is coming to an end and a new one is about to offer brand new opportunities for us. How would you like your professional life to be in the New Year?
December is a fantastic moment to prepare yourself for a big change. One that can bring you joy, rewarding emotions and economical benefit. English teaching now more than ever is a great opportunity for those speaking English at a native level and wanting to travel the world.
Let your career start with some good training. The Oxinity 120 hour TEFL course offers you the certification and hands on experience you will need to start your new life in 2019 as an English teacher, anywhere in the world. We offer a solution to the two most important questions asked in any job advert in TEFL.com, the world’s No1 website to find English Teaching Employment.
A hands on learning with a lot of role plays, debates and creative solutions to classroom challenges
Radmila Gurkova Oxinity.com Co-Founder
During this week we have launched a new tool that will help you not only to position yourself on the internet as English teachers, but will allow you to follow up on those actions that are giving you the best result.
For this, we have put at your disposal a blog, with which you can write about you, in order to make people find you. It is important that you think about what you can offer that differentiates you from others and that is also likely to be searched by people on Google.
For this, it is necessary that you use all the sections that we propose for the creation of a blog:
Publication date: Date in which you want the blog to start appearing.
Witdhdrawal date: Date in which you want the blog to stop appearing on your page.
SEO description: This description is what searchers like Google use to show in their results, and also what they use to index your pages.
Picture: This section is to upload a photograph that will be used in the presentation of the blogs on your page. It is important that it is not too heavy, maximum 500kb, the less the better. Once uploaded, when you open the post, it will be inserted automatically. If you want you can remove it from there.
Title: The title is very important. It is a decisive factor for Google to show you on the results of its searches. And also you need to make it good enough so that people feel attracted to read it, and it must be something that people may want to spend time reading it: time is what searches value the most. Take time to think it over.
Summary: This section is what will be shown in the list of blogs on your page in the blog section. It can be the same as the one described in SEO description.
Post blog: This section is the one that people must want to read. It has to be very attractive for people to spend time. The key is time, if you get people to spend time in your page, Google will classify you as relevant and you will go up in the ranking of search results. Add pictures, interesting YouTube videos, ... and make it pleasant to look at and read, with relevant information.
But only with a blog is not enough. The most important thing that you must take into account, is that any action you do, but you cannot measure, does not count. It is very important that you can analyze the results of your social network activity. For this, we have created a section on your web page that is called METRICS.
In this section you can see all the visits you are having, and which campaigns are having better results.
To create a campaign to track and follow up, you must go to the campaigns button and create a new one. The fields needed to create a campaign are the following:
f-Identifier: The identifier. Each time you press the + button, you are given one by default that you can change. It always starts with two Xs. I recommend that the XXs are changed by two letters that will remind you where you are going to post the post. For example, if it is on Facebook I would put FB instead the XXs, and if it is on LinkedIn I would put LKIN. This way it will be faster to identify where you are having better results when you see the listings and grouped. You can also change the numbers by some description such as: FB_halloween_post.
URL: this field is where you must paste the url you want to follow up on, either from a blog post you are doing or from your main page. Always add the https: // for example, https://oxinity.com/julie-labate/blog?post=17
Description: This section, although it is not necessary, if it is convenient to be able to remember why we did that campaign, where we going to post it, and what were our expectations,....
Once all these fields are inserted, and the CREATE button is pressed, an url with the tracking codes is generated automatically. This url is the one that should be pasted every time you make a campaign in social networks to analyze the results you get. I recommend that you click first to make sure it works fine and it is not a broken destination.
If you get used to work like this, you will be much more effective in your campaigns, spending less time and concentrating on the campaigns that are giving you good results.
Jonatan Buxeda i Núñez Oxinity.com Co-Founder
What I really love about Oxinity is the diversity of cultures, accents and experiences we have. In our teaching community we’ve had teachers from the 5 continents and I personally can't help but acknowledge how much I’ve learnt by interacting with all of them.
No matter where we come from, what we have in common is that all of us one day decided to make of the biggest changes in our lives: move to a foreign country and start a new life.
Our motivations are different -from moving for love to finding a better weather, new individual challenges or career change- and so are our personal goals but we all have undergone a process that has made us more open-minded, respectful, tolerant and understanding. We've learnt a new culture, a new language, we've blended with the local society without leaving our own personality behind. We are expats in Spain and enjoying it!
In order to help other people make the right decision for them about whether or not consider Spain their final destination, we've had an interesting discussion with people from England, Scotland, the USA and Slovakia. Different as we may seem at first sight, we've all made our way to Spain and are now successfully working here and enjoying local life.
We hope the experiences we've shared help you in your decision. Being an expat and teaching English is Spain is a great opportunity for life growth. It worked for us, it can work for you!
Jake (Australia): Definitely getting the visa. As I'm not from the EU and don't have a passport, the visa was difficult to get.
Julie (USA), Aife (Ireland), Paul (England): The language barrier
Ashley (Ireland): Finding my footing
Autumn (USA): The most difficult thing about moving aboard is, I'm not sure if I could pick just one thing.
Tor (Norway): To actually move. Easy to talk about it, but action takes courage. Also the uncertainty about everything - If I would get a job, if I would get friends, if something happenes etc.
Jake: Be open to trying new professions, I did and I'm loving the change!
Aife: Have a larger amount of savings built up and be cautious when renting apartments.
Julie: Be patient! The bureaucracy in Spain is strong so the paperwork is long and tedious but a necessity.
Autumn: Google is your friend! I would do more research about the different auxiliary programs and ask more people about their opinions. I would have joined more Facebook groups and get a feel how everything is. If I could afford I would try to take a trip and check out the city just to make sure.
Ash, Paulina, Tor: Try and get the NIE organised before coming to Spain
1. Do the research, connect with people who live here and ask questions. I visited estate agents finding out what are some good areas to live amd which ones to avoid.. (raval, roquetes)
2. Your NIE green card can be done in Terrasa much faster. Book an appointment with them and you have it done in 5minutes.
3. If you are from one of the special countries that give you hard time with your paperwork - dont be afraid to reach for a lawyer - for relatively cheap price they can do everything for u and save you a headache and some time.
Jake: Don't wait, it's a great place to live!
Julie: Practice your Spanish as much as you can!
Autumn: These are the two most important things: Are you able to be away from your family for long periods of time? A lot of people go home around Christmas because they are homesick, This experience isn't for everyone so they should know first hand what they are getting into. Can you be opened minded and not compare everything to the USA? I've read a lot of complaints about Americans saying how Spain isn't like the US and well it isn't. In my opinion if you go to another country you must be opened-minded to new experiences.
Mirka: Depends on the place, but re Barcelona - dont expect cheap fresh fish on every corner, mulled wine on the streets during Xmas and bare in mind that they speak Catalan, here!
Julie: It was difficult to get used to kissing two cheeks in the beginning.
Louisa (The Netherlands): I spoke French to everyone and once i started learning Spanish i lost my French
Tor: comparing Norway (cold and boring) to Spain which has everything you need and more for half of the money, you have taken a recipe for a fun life in general, well so far that's my case (LOVE Madrid).
Paul: The “púente” if there is a single day between a day off and weekend blows my mind.
Autumn: When I first arrived I was told to get the entry stamp on my student visa. So, I was waiting in line and it was finally my turn and the immigration officer asked for my passport. I had it opened to the page and he looked at my name and was trying to say my name but couldn't. Then he asked his partner how to pronounce my name and he told him. Then he asked me what does it mean and I told him otono in Spanish. Then he starts making jokes about my name how it's Summer still and Autumn is far away. Like, they were the same jokes I heard in English my whole life and now I had to hear them in Spanish . Then he stamped my passport and it wasn't on the student visa and I told him that I needed on the visa and he told me " ah don't worry espain is different guapa"
Harvie (UK): I wanted to buy bananas on the first day but I bought plantain instead. Knowing that banana is translated as ‘plátano’, that is what I bought but they ended up to be plantain. So i had to think of many recipes using plátano and from now on I buy bananas as bananas.
Julie: Honestly, I do not have any horror stories. Maybe a cautionary tale would be to do your research regarding accommodations.
Ash: Trying to find accommodation was a horror story in itself at times haha
Mirka: The whole paperwork process for my Mexican partner was a horror story - the things we had to go through.. and it took us good 6 months of meetings with lawyers, making appointments and all kind of papers to actually be able to legally start looking for a job. They all seem to have devil-may-care attitude in the offices.
Radmila Gurkova Oxinity.com Co-Founder
When we think of English classes, we probably visualize a classroom, a teacher standing at the black or whiteboard and a couple of dozens of kids or teenagers. Only few of us would relate English classes to less traditional environments such as taking a coffee while learning in a cafeteria or even learning English while walking, commuting, or from you’re the comfort of your sofa, with the only company of your laptop or mobile phone and yet a real teacher on the other side of the line.
Talking about the latter, we are witnessing an increasing presence of classes by videoconference or web classes as an alternative to traditional classroom settings we cannot but evidence their potential and opportunities to bring education as far as we can imagine and not limit it to a particular place.
Despite the challenges of our first steps, when the objective was to grant good connections in the first place and adapt tons of material to the web class format, we soon reaslised what a great potential there is to teach via videoconference, and the reach and relevance it had in learners. By creating an amazing platform for web classes that combine the video chatroom with the materials in the same window, we opened the possibility for many teachers to broaden their horizons and look for students beyond the borders of their city and country. We reduced their traveling time and made it possible to achieve a better work-life balance as they don't have to leave their homes. We made a reality to reach students anytime anywhere in the world.
We gained the trust of hundreds of students who now can opt for quality classes even in remote places where there is no language school or qualified teachers. For them we have also reduced the cost of the classes without giving up quality. Flexible, economical, reliable, high-quality and engaging! This is the format of a web class that our learners enjoy right now.
There has been a long journey from our first classes to the expertise we have today. A lot was created, a lot was learnt, and a lot more is coming! Today we still have some challenges to overcome but no one has the slightest hesitation of one thing: the future of English learning and teaching has no physical limits anymore thanks to the web classes.
An advice for new teachers? Here are some from our community members. It's your turn now to embrace one of the biggest breakthroughs that the internet has provided to us, teachers: opening new horizons for growth, surpassing frontiers, taking English to any place in the world!
Radmila Gurkova Oxinity.com Co-Founder
English is one of the most accessible languages in the world due to its presence in films, television and the Internet. English is the most commonly used language in sciences and English literature predominates considerably with 28 percent of all books published in the world.
The estimated number of native English speakers is between 330 and 360 million and there are almost 1,500 million people worldwide who speak English at a fluency level.
The English language is constantly expanding in terms of number of words added each year. It has been estimated that a new word is added to the language every 98 minutes, which means that roughly 4,000 words are added in various dictionaries each year.
Despite all this, there are a lot of amazing and unknown facts around English that learners usually are not acquainted with.
There are a total of 195 countries in the world, 67 nations, who have English as a primary language of official status. In 27 countries English is spoken as a secondary official language.
Surprisingly enough, the United States federal government has no official languages, although English has been given official status by 32 of the 50 US state governments.
If we take a look at the percentages of the population able to hold a conversation in English, we’ll see that the Scandinavian countries are on top of the list, with the Netherlands showcasing 90% of the people being fluent in English, followed by Sweden and Denmark with 86%, Finland with 70% and Germany with 56%.
Spain is unfortunately at the bottom of this list withonly 22% of the population being able to hold a conversation in fluent English.
This is actually a great news for beginner learners who are often discouraged by the richness in vocabulary English has. But there are also words that have such a similarity with Spanish -we call them cognates- that we can easily incorporate them pretty much from day 1 of learning.
Actor, admirable, capital, culture, criminal, director, president, company, etc, etc. The list is long, but some good examples can be found here.
Another interesting and useful list is actually the one of the words that English has taken from Spanish. Some good examples are words such as fiesta, tapas, siesta, but also some animals: alligator (el lagarto), cockroach (cucaracha), mosquito (mosquito), some food words: barbecue (barbacoa), chocolate (chocolate), potato (patata), cafeteria (cafeteria), some natural disasters: hurricane (huracán), tornado (tornado) and many more.
Not only the shortest, but also one of the most commonly used words in English is actually "I", the personal pronoun.
As for the longest word, no, it's not Mary Popins's Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. There is a longer medical word referring to a lung disease: Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. Good luck pronouncing that!
You will find it in thousands of words but definitely not in any number until you reach one billion. Try writing number names in full (one, two, three, four...) and you'll see, no B!
Not very commonly used this one. In written English, only one letter in every 510 is a Q. Conclusion: the letter Q is more important for its in quality than for its quantity :)
This has to do with the question: Which came first, orange the colour or orange the fruit? Or which is the same,
Is an orange called an orange because it's orange, or is orange orange because of the orange?
The fruit came first. The English word "orange" has made quite a journey to get here. The fruit originally came from China but the English word comes from the Old Persian "narang". Early Persian emperors had this exotic trees and Arabs later traded the fruit and spread the word all the way to Moorish Spain; the Spanish word for orange is "naranja". In Old French, the fruit became "orenge" and this was adopted into Middle English, eventually becoming our orange, fruit as well as colour.
For English speaking people noon is 12 pm, but the origins of Noon come from the Latin for “ninth,” novem. It originally referred to the ninth hour of the Roman day — 3pm.
It is quite significant that Happy is used three times more often in English than sad. That makes English an optimistic language.
We challenge you to participate in our live talk on Youtube on Friday, September 28th and share your knowledge about English. Do you know any surprising fact? Follow us on Youtube and let us know how much you know!
Radmila Gurkova Oxinity.com Co-Founder
The arrival of the Internet in the language teaching market has led to the appearance of marketplaces where teachers and students connect directly to offer and receive teaching services.
For many native English speakers this has had a great impact in opening new career possibilities and many people have decided to make a career switch and become a freelance English teacher.
English learners on the other hand are tired of all the traditional formulas in education that have failed to meet their needs and are now looking for new, more flexible and cheaper solutions.
In the past couple of years, there has been an important shift in language learning solutions. The demand of English learning and teaching is currently transferred from the traditional academies to private teachers and/or language apps. Traditional academies are in disadvantage as far as their overheads and lack of flexibility concerns.
The freelancers’ market on the other hand is considerably increasing and the tendency is to grown even more in the next 2 years.
Many teachers who begin to teach their language as freelancers though often find themselves with dozens of unforeseen problems. They have to meet new clients, negotiate prices, manage their students, collect money, and prepare materials for delivering quality classes. Too much workload for one person only!
An innovative solution in the market has emerged to quickly become the ultimate key to both increasing quality and decreasing prices for students and providing teachers with tools to cope with all the workload with economy of time. This game changer is a large community of English teachers known by the name of Oxinity.
Oxinity merges technology and a collaborative community and equips the freelancers with tools that improve the management and quality of their classes and offers them the ultimate technology and apps for the development of their business.
The Oxinity members see how their income increase comparing to working for others and at the same time their working hours reduce. Our partnership offers them all the services they need so that they are competitive and better in quality than any other player in the market.
Becoming an Oxinity member means having all the material in a mobile app, having a partner who deals with all administrative work and student attention, collection and invoicing and being supported by thousands of other teachers who share the same goals, concerns and vision of teaching. It also means to potentially reach any student in the planet by videoconference and teaching worldwide through a reliable platform with all the materials for each class.
Last by not least, it means using a consolidated brand and being reached by hundreds of students.
We look forward to meeting you soon!
Radmila Gurkova Oxinity.com Co-Founder
By the Oxinity Team
Some subjects really arouse passions. You cannot remain indifferent to the diversity of existing practices to foster learners' fluency. During our live talk on topic activities, we realized how much we can learn from our community. These are just some of the suggestions that our teachers have shared with us.
We've compiled the best tips, requests and comments on how to achieve great fluency activities.
1. When you create activities, think FUN! think brainstorming, think creative.
2. It is often a good idea to add a source for every text added, at least on the teacher's side. That way if a student wants to expand knowledge, we can always recommend them to take a look at the original source.
3. We could provide “expiration dates” on topics, so to speak. This doesn’t mean the topic would be erased after it expires, it would just be up for revision with more up to date content.
4. In my humble opinion, people should look at the activity they have created and ask yourself - If I was teaching this, would I enjoy doing so! The teachers' comments section should be further utilised. An example of this is with definitions of words, or more simplistic instructions regarding the aim of the activity. Take pride in your work!
5. I’ve found interesting and updated topics so far and students seem to enjoy them. I also find interesting exploring the possibilities we can find at ‘Ted talks’. Maybe we can use them too.
1. Think of questions to promote discussion on whatever the topic is. A piece of an article with no guide for the teacher to drive discussion can make the topic feel flat. I try to have at least 4 minimum questions on an article or video to help promote conversation in the class.
2. Make it playful, shorten texts as much as possible, create questions for teachers to ask.
3. Try to use as little text as possible, even an interesting picture can be a lot more useful than a 250 word text.
4. Really measure the language and remember what level the topic is being made for. Check the target language to make sure it's not a cognate if for a higher level and put the target language to test. Cut down the article a bit. Upload meaningful videos, with clear speaking and good quality.
1. Triple check grammar, spelling and punctuation. At times the activities contain basic errors and it is embarrassing when the student notices.
1. Think of ways to engage students other than just with an article and choosing something interesting and appropriate for a class. Add target language and make sure students put it into practice, think of good discussion questions, picture discussions, sequencing exercises, role plays and debates, etc.
1. Topics that invite opinion are awesome. People love sharing opinions. Too much controversy is invasive, but a little is engaging. It’s nice when students have a friendly debate amongst themselves.
2. Topic activities need to be appropriate and should be easy to discuss without having prior knowledge on the topic.
3. Topics chosen should encourage a discussion, but NEVER an argument! (be careful with groups and controversial topics)
4. It is always a good idea to ask students to summarise the text/video in order to see how much they have understood.
At Oxinity we develop our own materials and create collaboratively our teaching system. We are passionate about what we teach, hence, our priority is our students’ engagement and challenge in topics and the quality of the material that we use in our lessons. This is why our Friday meetings are devoted to CPD (continuous professional development), collaborative work, sharing of experiences and ideas.
There are various and multiple factors that affect the engagement of students in a lesson, such as academic, behavioral, cognitive and affective. All of these are developed further in a previous post by Vincent Chieppa. That´s the theory and those are factors that as a teacher can´t be controlled or changed, they can only be taken into consideration and work around them. But, what we have been discussing in our meetings is: what can WE do as teachers to ensure students engagement and challenge in topic activities? How can we bring that to our lessons? Simple: good resources and activities together with a good attitude. The good attitude with us is a given, so we´ve focused on how can we create challenging and engaging activities, and for that, we have work collaboratively and brainstormed ideas.
First of all, we have thought of the structure of a topic activity. Firstly, we need an exercise to hook the student. That being:
Once we have them hooked we have to introduce the topic with a text, a short clip or just a picture and a summary done by the teacher. What’s next? How do we ensure the student understanding? We have the popular concept check questions, but, too much of a good thing can make you sick, isn´t it? Here are some other ideas:
Just when our students are familiar with the topic and have acquired new vocabulary, expressions and/or structures it´s time to activate those. It´s the students time to speak. In order to achieve this we came up with different types of activities:
e.g. the next day’s story, someone involved in the news event writing to a friend
Not only we brainstormed these ideas but also we put them into practice in a “hands on” session in our Friday meeting. During these we brainstorm about different topics, such as:
Just after we chose a topic out of these ideas and developed an activity in groups. We thought of the introduction, the topic´s input and the follow up activity to be done by the students. Once this was accomplished we played the game “pass the parcel” which, in this case was “pass the activity” to the other group. This group then suggested another activity about that same topic or improved the one that was already there. Not only we did this once, but twice, and just after we share the final result with the whole group. In less than an hour meeting we had created over five engaging and challenging activities which are going to be developed further and adapted to the different levels and included in our system. Voila!
The exchange of ideas and collaborative work in in teaching has proven to be the key for success!
Gracia Guzmán graduated from English linguistics, language, history and literature. She did her PGCE (postgraduate certificate in education) in the UK and, after completing the Oxbridge TEFL Course, she joined Oxinity in 2017. She's been involved in teacher training and continuous teachers' development, creating learners material, group dynamics and teacher selection and career orientation.
I first started teaching in 1992. I trained as an architect and qualified in 1987.
A few years into my career my professor, Robin Webster, called me and asked me to teach design part-time in my former university - Scott Sutherland School of Architecture, Robert Gordon University Aberdeen.
I loved it. I spent 2 days out of every week travelling from Glasgow to Aberdeen to teach these 2 days. I did this for 3 years.
As my career developed, and I gained experience designing and building projects in Glasgow, I moved away from studio teaching.
I decided to leave Scotland after 11 years in practice. I went about learning Spanish, and relocated to an international design firm with offices across Europe. After completing two large projects in Glasgow, I got the job to move to Madrid to set up and run the Madrid office.
As my experience in Spain grew, our team grew. I was always on the lookout for top talent.
In 2003 I moved to a Spanish firm. We were a team of 65 architects and interior designers and maintained these numbers through the crisis years.
By 2011 I had travelled to Africa, Russia, India and the Middle East in search of work for our large team. I spent a lot of my time helping teams grow, learning how to adapt teams to their strengths, and help individuals see where their strengths were, and where they wanted to go in their careers.
From 2011 - 2015 my job was to find work and grow our European, Middle East and African team. In these 5 years I grew our EMEA team from 300 to 700 staff.
I worked in 2016 for a sports client, developing sites in China, Germany, France, Italy and the UK.
In the summer of 2016, I realised that what I loved most was helping individuals achieve their personal goals in their careers.
I decided to stop flying, and learn how to bring a much-needed skill to people enthusiastic to learn to communicate and to do business in English.
Training with Oxinity in 2016 gave me the professional qualification and insight into moving my teaching skills up even further to offer others the opportunity to use English naturally, to feel comfortable in the language, and get business deals done. To excel in their careers.
I love teaching English. I am an English language trainer. It gives me so much pleasure to see my clients progress and grow using English as the international tool for communication.
I have worked across 28 different countries in my career. How many of these have had English as their native language? 2.
We need English only for one reason; it is, rightly or wrongly, our common global business language.
The Oxinity platform is really exciting as it is focused on two things;looking after the teacher, and looking after the client. Once we look after our teachers, our teachers are equipped to look after our clients. Thus our whole focus is on making it clear and simple for our teachers to help our clients, not to stay at the same level of ‘what they know’.
We want to find out what our clients DO NOT KNOW AND HELP THEM LEARN WHAT THEY ARE MISSING.
The Oxinity system is a technological platform backed by a team of analysts and programmers, that through use of the system platform, learns what each clients needs through consistent feedback and organisation of structured learning material, presenting every class to the client and always covering the three pilars of learning a language: Structure, Vocabulary and the ability to analyse and discuss Topics.
In 2 years I have multiplied my business from a business of between €1.600-2.000 monthly gross invoicing in Year 1, with teaching hours given to me by Oxinity, to €5.000 monthly gross invoicing in Year 2. I now operate the business with 100% my own clients, sourced through networking and building my profile steadily on social networks, and am presently passing teaching hours out to 6 Oxinity teachers in our team.
Year 3 looks really exciting and I am really looking forward to futher business growth, and reaching new and exciting client markets.
I could never have achieved this without the constant and tremendous support that I received from the Oxinity team from day 1.
There are three things that I have learnt are important to make a success of my business.
Follow the system.
Listen to those around you.
Never stop learning. Every day.