Ian Barnes - English Coach & Trainer
Marktstraße 8
6230 Brixlegg

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A practical skill

Mastering a language is about learning and developing a practical ability.  Of the different skills required, speaking is the hardest but also usually the most important, because people normally want to be able to talk to each other.  Spoken ability is also the most accurate indication of level.  So I predominantly coach using a conversational approach.  The steps required to master the language build one on top of the other, and through my experience I have developed a clear concept of the progression needed.  It makes little sense to learn about higher steps when the lower-order skills have not been achieved.  The theory can be understood, perhaps, but the practical ability will simply not be there. 


So, I will listen to how a person speaks and analyse their ability from my experience and knowledge.  I will test them to find out what they can and can't do.  From that informal, continuous assessment, I will decide what the most important thing for them to work on is - and then we will work on it.  Ability can vary from day to day, depending on energy levels for example, and so I need to be responsive to this.  Above all, the person needs to be able to do something in practice - to use it in spoken conversation - before I know that they have 'learned' it.  Critically, I use my judgement as a professional trainer to determine what comes next, and not a pre-prescribed coursebook or course plan.  Some people develop their ability faster than others, but it is what they can do in practice that counts, not what the theory says should be done next.



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