Thursday, 26 December 2019

30 years of experience

Lessons from 30 years of theories and practice.

In my 30 years of training, education and language education I 

have moved from teaching the ,textbook to helping the learner to 


Basically I moved from ‘’lets learn what s in the book’’ to ‘’You 

are Victoria and I am your teacher and we are going to learn 


It s a complete different focus in the old way to teach and a new 

way to learn.

My goal is to teach students how to think and how to learn. 

The job of a teacher is not to teach structures or specific words but 

help his student to use his resources the best possible way. 

Because Language and thoughts are not the same thing, the main 

goal is to built up solid competences. Competences learners can 

use in their everyday and professional life.

Success in language learning depends less on materials, techniques 

and lingusitic analysis, and more on what goes on inside and 

between the people in the classroom.

The proven way to learn your new language without struggling 
has already helped hundreds of people to learn their new quickly 
and in a sustainable way.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

The most effective form of learning

Individual tuition is the most personal and effective form of learning a language. 

Topics and learning pace are ideally customized to suit you. The 1-1 situation keeps you constantly active and you learn exactly what you need to. 

Here are 7 advantages of private lessons at a glance.
  1. The language training is focused on you and your needs.

    You do not have to adaot- neither to the group nor to the teacher.
    On the contrary, he/she adapts to you. 
  2. When it comes to speaking ;

    you can do it all the time. Compared to tuition in a group of 6 people, you will speak 6 times as much in individual tuition. 
    Keep in mind that speaking is an important part to memorize and practicing a language.

  3. You can choose the topics. 

    Generally the tutor chooses topics in a way that it will suit most to bring students from what they already know to the next step. 

    If you struggle and feel you need some additional help at some point, your teacher is flexible and can give you a hand immediately.

  4. Your mistakes are corrected and you receive continuous feedback. 

    As you share time with other participants in group tuition, feedback is rare. And is you get feedback in a class, mostly it's generalized to the whole class. So it might not help you.

  5. You learn at your own pace

    In group tuition, the tutor will inevitably adjust the pace to suit the weaker participants. 
    Repeat your vocabulary and prepare on your own at home, so you will progress much faster than in group training. 
    By practicing at home, you will not forget so much.

  6. You will have less or even no distractions.

    If only you an d your teacher are talking it's quite and normally there will not be any background noises. 
    Plus, there is nobody that will make fun about you and you get to speak more. 

    Learn your new language in a fast and sustainable way.
  7. Individual tuition is attractively priced  

    if one takes into account the x times increased speaking time, the tuition that has been customized to suit your personal interests and the rapid progress made. 

       Do the math by your own : how much time and money does it
       take to achieve the level you aim.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Learning with Joy

A great teacher

Learn a new language!

We all remember the time we spent at school and I am convinced that we all have a favorite teacher in our hearts. A long time ago, as a young, eager student, we might all have said that a great teacher is someone who provides entertainment in the classroom and does very little homework. After many years of experience as a primary school teacher and hundreds of hours of language teaching for adults, I can say that my perspective has changed. And my current position gives me the opportunity to convey what I have learned with current and future teachers about what it means to be a great teacher.
Teaching is hard work and some teachers never grow to be anything better than mediocre. They do the bare minimum required and very little more. The great teachers, however, work tirelessly to create a challenging, nurturing environment for their students. Great teaching seems to have less to do with our knowledge and skills than with our attitude toward our students, our subject, and our work. Although this list is certainly not all-inclusive, I have narrowed down the many characteristics of a great teacher to those I have found to be the most essential, regardless of the age of the learner:

1. A great teacher respects students. In a great teacher’s classroom, each person’s ideas and opinions are valued. Students feel safe to express their feelings and learn to respect and listen to others. This teacher creates a welcoming learning environment for all students.

2. A great teacher creates a sense of community and belonging in the classroom. The mutual respect in this teacher’s classroom provides a supportive, collaborative environment. In this small community, there are rules to follow and jobs to be done and each student is aware that he or she is an important, integral part of the group. A great teacher lets students know that they can depend not only on her, but also on the entire class. This teacher shows that teamwork is very important and faster than doing everything alone. Plus when the students have learned the concept of teamwork, there will most likely be no bullying.

3. A great teacher is warm, accessible, enthusiastic and caring. This person is approachable, not only to students, but to everyone on campus. This is the teacher to whom students know they can go with any problems or concerns or even to share a funny story. He tries to be a person who you can trust, he knows every single student as an individual. Great teachers possess good listening skills and take time out of their way-too-busy schedules for anyone who needs them. If this teacher is having a bad day, no one ever knows—the teacher leaves personal baggage outside the school doors.

4. A great teacher sets high expectations for all students. This teacher realizes that the expectations she has for her students greatly affect their achievement; she knows that students generally give to teachers as much or as little as is expected of them. In classes with these kind of teachers, there are no students that are no students that are either under challenged or overwhelmed.

5. A great teacher has his own love of learning and inspires students with his passion for education and for the course material. He constantly renews himself as a professional on his quest to provide students with the highest quality of education possible. This teacher has no fear of learning new teaching strategies or incorporating new technologies into lessons, and always seems to be the one who is willing to share what he’s learned with colleagues.

6. A great teacher is a skilled leader. Different from administrative leaders, effective teachers focus on shared decision-making and teamwork, as well as on community building. This great teacher conveys this sense of leadership to students by providing opportunities for each of them to assume leadership roles. And if the teacher is the leader, everybody respects and obeys him, so there will not be any students that don't listen to him and do whatever they like.

7. A great teacher can “shift-gears” and is flexible when a lesson isn’t working. This teacher assesses his teaching throughout the lessons and finds new ways to present material to make sure that every student understands the key concepts. Also when the class sees very different perspectives of the same thing, you will find it more interesting.

8. A great teacher collaborates with colleagues on an ongoing basis. Rather than thinking of herself as weak because she asks for suggestions or help, this teacher views collaboration as a way to learn from a fellow professional. A great teacher uses constructive criticism and advice as an opportunity to grow as an educator. He always does the best, he can.

9. A great teacher maintains professionalism in all areas
—from personal appearance to organizational skills and preparedness for each day. Her communication skills are exemplary, whether she is speaking with an administrator, one of her students or a colleague. The respect that the great teacher receives because of her professional manner is obvious to those around her.

While teaching is a gift that comes quite naturally for some, others have to work overtime to achieve great teacher status. Yet the pay-off is enormous — for both you and your students. Imagine students thinking of you when they remember that great teacher they had!

This strikes me as a list of necessary but not sufficient conditions for being a great teacher. What makes a teacher great is reaching to present difficult content, ideas, debates, issues in a lucid, compelling way, time after time. A great teacher works hard to prepare, to think freshly about the material he's teaching, and to find current examples that will grab her students' interest. A great teacher makes the classroom magic happen, regularly. She or he elicits her students' best efforts and engages their minds, so that they leave class still alive with ideas and comments, and they talk about what went on in class with their friends, room-mates, family when they get home too.

A teacher is human and one of the best role modelling strategies we can impart on our students is to learn from our mistakes. If you, as a great teacher, are wrong - 'fess up and fix it! We expect nothing less from our students. I think this is a subset of high expectations and accountability, yes? And nobody is perfect, so we can always get better by learning from our mistakes.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

It's never too late to learn a new language

When is it too late to learn a new language?

Many of my readers write that they are afraid being too old to learn a new language. And I can understand this fear, at some point everything has become routine and you do not have the habit of learning anything anymore.
The first good news: learning can be learned.
And here are some more things I've noticed over the years :

There is not the perfect age to learn a new language

Adults and language learning fits

At worst, language education at school looks like this:
Overcrowded classrooms, many written exercises, sometimes mechanical conversational drills, little or badly educated teacher with little to no experience, courses once a week, which is far too little to be efficient ...
Nevertheless, some students may still be able to pack their "language suitcases" full of grammar, important verbs and vocabulary under these circumstances.
The other students will often say that they have always been bad at languages anyway, until the end of their lives. What a pity!
Although there may be one or the other more appropriate time to learn languages, one thing is true:
There is no age limit to learn a new language! That means: It is never too late.
So if you're wondering you may be too old to learn Luxembourgish, German or French, the answer is: NO, you're never too old to learn Luxembourgish, German or French as your new language!
If you are ready to learn Luxembourgish, German or French, or any other new language then nothing stands in your way!
There is not THE perfect age to learn a new language.
It is very often wrongly believed that learning a foreign language has to be done at a young age so that you can speak fluently and without accentuation.
That is not quite true. Nothing prevents adults from learning new foreign languages - provided they use the right methods.

Practical tips to learn a language as an adult

When you learn a foreign language from early age, the brain distinguishes the mother tongue and the second language right from the beginning. Distinguishing languages one from the other does not change the fact that both languages can be spoken fluently!
Unfortunately, simply memorizing lists strengthen word power or conjugation tables will not take you one step further if you want to be ready to eventually speak fluent Luxembourgish, German or French as your new language.
To speak and to use a language it is absolutely indispensable to use it. Nothing works without language practice, as well as you may know by heart the irregular verbs or any other grammar rule.
Because otherwise it takes much longer to really speak Luxembourgish or French.
But it does not always have to be dry grammar. You can read books that are on your level of skills in that language, and you can watch TV-shows with the subtitles or where they speak the language you're learning. You definitely should assure that the Material fits your respective level. But really make sure that you do it on your level, you could otherwise get very fustrated or annoyed.
However, every once in a while a little "homework" has to be, in order to consolidate the corresponding automatism in grammar and conjugation.
Finally, you should work on your accent, so that more and more disappears.

In any case, it has nothing to do with your age, 
whether you speak successfully Luxembourgish or French, 
but rather with your motivation and your personal commitment.

Monday, 8 October 2018

How to properly choose your language course

The 10 steps of choosing your language course

You always wanted to learn a new language? Searched the Internet for offers and looked through leaflets. You may have already have attended a beginner's course and now you want to take the next step to finally develop your competences in Luxembourgish, German or French. This all takes a lot of time and sometimes feels overhelming. So take a deep breath, you are not alone.  
A lot of people have been there and done that. And so am I. To help you go further, here are 10 steps of choosing the language course fitting your needs best.


    Make sure that you can communicate with your new language school in your new language school in your mother tongue, or at least in a language that allows you to clearly express your wishes and needs. Optimal preparation is an important step in reaching the best-possible result.


    You already possess some language skills or basic vocabulary, that you wish to improve? Then the first step should be an assessment of your language skills. Make sure that this will be done with the necessary care. The assessment test should include a written and an oral part. This is your guarantee for a great start to learning or improving your language
Sustainable Learning

Two things are certain: there is no perfect method of learning, and learning a new language takes both time and patience. The school you choose should be using a specific pedagogical method, that is continually adapted to the client's needs.
Trust your gut feeling: How is the initial contact? Is it right? Are your individual wishes considered? Don't rush into a course you are not sure about.


The smaller the groups, the faster you will reach your educational goals and the more your effort will be rewarded. It is also an advantage to learn the new language with other students from the same linguistic background.
To find the right group, you could ask the following questions: how big is the group? Who are my fellow students? Will other students be joining the group later on? What happens if the group does not develop gradually?
And if you don't have any doubts, you found the group that suits you the best.

The road map

    Make sure that you receive a clear description of the competences that will be reached in your course. Since 2001, language courses are determined by the Common European Frame of Reference. This document, published by the European Council, describes the skills and competences of a foreign language in six levels – A1/A2/B1/B2/C1/C2 – and is your reference when learning a foreign language.

The Compass

    In order to always find your way and be able to practice at home as well as in the course, you should have a range of learning material at your disposal. You should be able to keep the contact to your new language even on holiday or on a business trip. If you don't go to the course for over 2 weeks without your own practice, you will forget a lot of things and have difficulties going back again.


Constantly changing teachers are not the best prerequisite for long-lasting and successful learning. If the same teacher supports you for as long as possible, nothing will stand in the way of your success.

Evaluations along the way

    At the end of each course module, you will receive a detailed description of the competences you have attained. This way, you will always know which level you are at, and can continually develop and adapt your language skills. It is very important to speak the language your learning, so find a group that will let you do that. Otherwise you will need to do that on your own. 

The Price is right

    Be sure that the course fee does not contain any hidden costs. Nothing is more aggravating than realizing too late that the course is more expensive than initially planned. But beware: a cheap language course can cost you a lot. Currently there are many courses at very low prices on the market. You may find yourself in classes with 20 to 25 other learners supervised by an inexperienced teacher. It is clear that under such conditions it will be very difficult for you to build the lasting and solid foundations of your new language. What you seem to be saving from the attractive entry price you may pay in time as it will take you longer to reach your educational goal. Also, you will save money by finding a class close to your home.


Friday, 5 October 2018

Reasons to learn a new language

  Seven Reasons to start learning a new language

I am often asked about how I came to learn each of the 4 languages I speak fluently and the 2 more I am an intermediate/ beginner at. And I am sure you can imagine that language learning and speaking has had a huge impact on my life. 

Like everybody going to school in Luxembourg I learned Luxembourgish, German and French. And I learned English in High School. As my fathers' origin I learned Italian in addition, in the top of that I am learning Russian as an adult. 

Although digital platforms can enhance the language learning process in a certain limited way, learning in a classroom together with mates still has advantages. 

Whether you decide on one option or the other, here are seven main reasons for learning a new language.

1) To get that dream job … or the same job somewhere else

Speaking more than one language can improve your job prospects even if you don’t work in the areas of teaching and training, translating and interpreting, or proofreading and editing.

For every highly specialized language expert, there are hundreds of non-experts using a second language on a daily basis at work. While the ability to express oneself is certainly desirable, there’s room to improve one’s language skills on the job when grammatical and lexical exactitude isn’t a necessity.

This means you can do the same old 9-to-5, but in the infinitely more stimulating environment of a foreign workplace. 
Furthermore, the acquisition of a foreign language makes you a more rounded and employable candidate wherever in the world you end up planting roots.

2) Learning a language is fun — and enormously fulfilling

Fun was the first reason I ever learned a language. I started learning Italian at the age of six. What reason does a six-year-old have for doing anything?
I figure it either comes down to fun or obligation, and one normally cancels out the other.

I decided to learn Italian on the beach during the holiday with my sister. Learning together with her and people’s joyous reactions to our attempts were all we needed to convince me it was fun.

And the rest is history!

3) To get more out of that next vacation

The realization that one can get so much more out of vacations has been a huge motivator for me ever since. I remember buying, together with my sister, ice cream on the beach in Italy.

Yes, you’re less likely to miss the ferry or end up paying to much for souvenirs, the most striking difference, however, is you’ll recognize that you feel comfortable in new environments. Everything may seem unfamiliar, but you’ll be able to find your way around with help from the best guide there is — human interaction.

Language learners will have wonderful experiences when they are abroad.

You’ll be met with appreciation by locals, as well as varying levels of surprise depending on the obscurity of your language combination: you’re English and learning French? Wow! Have a tea on the house! Packing a few words of the native language in your suitcase before setting off on a trip always pays off.
That is the reason why there is student exchange.

4) To discover a new side of yourself

Multilingual people often report feeling different — even to the point of having distinct personalities — in different languages.
This can even happen when you come to a language later in life.

Let’s take the example of humour, which can surely be considered a pillar of personality (especially for Brits!).

Humour is one of the hardest things to convey when you’re not fluent in a language. Language acquisition constitutes a genuine journey of self-discovery.

5) To understand the world around you better

The languages we speak shape the way that we see the world.

Not only does a new language bestow new perspectives, but it also enables you to reflect on your own language and understand how it works. Some languages have the same origine, so they may share the same grammar rules or the same words.

This is one of the things that makes acquiring further languages significantly easier.

6) To stay sharp and lead a lifetime of learning

Even if you now have your dream job in a foreign country surrounded by palm trees and happiness, it doesn’t necessarily mean you want to stop learning. 
Even people who have accomplished their goals and feel confident in their jobs feel the need to keep challenging their minds. Language learning is a common way to do this. Why?

Besides the obvious utility, it can provide those all-important mini-motivations to keep you hurtling towards new goals: for example the first time you correctly conjugate a verb in French without thinking.

Also people will admire you and your language skills.

7) To be groovy

During his stand-up performance Dress To Kill the British comedian Eddie Izzard delivered one of my favourite justifications for learning a language — to be groovy! 

Since that performance, Eddie learned German from scratch and gave a performance in German every evening for six weeks in Berlin. Given his surreal brand of comedy, many of his sentences had likely never before been said in German. He now plans to do shows in Spanish, Russian and Arabic. Now that’s groovy. You can find his show on YouTube! So, do yourself a favour and have a look at it.

Asked why he was learning languages, he answered “because it is a lot of fun.”  Reasons to learn a new language.