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Time to explore language learning from a new angle: the tutor’s perspective! To learn effectively, you need support, and tutors are your best guides towards your SLE test. Discover how Aimee’s efforts at LRDG help you succeed!

Aimee is an Anglophone from Nova Scotia and she lives in the western area of the province. She has been working for LRDG for over 2 years now. In her free time, she likes to do yoga and knit.

Did you work as an English teacher before working at LRDG? If so, where?

After I finished university I went to South Korea to teach English as a Second Language for about 4 years. Before being hired with LRDG I taught ESL to military members and their families in Manitoba.

How did you hear about LRDG?

I heard about LRDG through a virtual career fair done by the Military Spousal Employment Network.

Could you tell us how many students you have and how do you organize your time?

Right now I have 11 students and I also work as an evaluator. I am trained to administer 5 different types of evaluation.

Sometimes I happen to have time during the day when I can plan for my lessons or I do it in the evening but it doesn’t usually take too long. Preparation could even be just watching the news so that I can be up-to-date on current events! The LRDG learning materials make it easy to come up with subjects to talk about and notions to practice with the learners.

In your opinion, what are the advantages of online courses compared to a traditional class?

In my opinion, there are many advantages to taking online courses compared to traditional methods of learning!

  • Students can complete the online materials at their own pace so there might be less pressure.
  • Lessons can be scheduled to fit their schedule and since they do not have to travel anywhere for them it is even more convenient.
  • The options of working one-on-one with a tutor or in a small group are both available so learners can receive more personalized instruction and feedback.
  • Learners who might feel intimidated to speak in a regular classroom can flourish and rapidly improve in an online environment.

Although taking classes face-to-face provides a different type of social interaction and would allow for a more hands-on or dynamic experience, virtual groups still develop into cohesive and collaborative learning communities which make amazing progress together.

What do you prefer about being a tutor?

I enjoy talking to a variety of people and learning about different cultures, workplaces, and professions. I have also had the opportunity to work with speakers of many different languages living across Canada or the world. Working remotely as a tutor for LRDG is also convenient because I can make my own schedule. Additionally, as a military spouse, I like the security of having a job I could take with me if we have to move rather than having to start from scratch in a new province.

What are the challenges of your job?

Adult learners in particular often have fossilized errors or language issues that developed early in their learning of the language and persist today which can be hard to break. Sometimes it’s challenging to understand different accents as well.

What do you like about the relationship with the learner?

Since I began with LRDG I have had the opportunity to work with learners consistently for long periods taking them from one level to another. It is very rewarding to know that you have helped them achieve a certain language profile that will benefit them professionally or that you’ve just made their day-to-day life easier to navigate in Canada if they are newcomers.

Something you enjoy teaching and something you don’t like to teach but you have to?

I enjoy teaching SLE preparation because these students are advanced and need to learn to converse on a more abstract level and be persuasive. It’s possible to have really interesting conversations and appreciate different perspectives!

Although useful and life-changing for some, I don’t always enjoy teaching lower-level notions such as basic verbs and nouns since I have taught these repetitively.

Do you have a funny anecdote with a learner?

I once had a learner who thought a fuse box/electrical panel was called a juice box and we had a good laugh!

Advanced learners also tend to take more risks and play with words, unfortunately, what they come up with are not always in fact in the dictionary although they sound similar to real words. Take for example plannification and strategetition!