We are fortunate to have a hugely talented pool of teachers, and consider the standard of the teaching on offer to be fantastic. All of our teachers are experienced, enthusiastic and either native speakers of the language they teach, or of native speaker level. To give you an idea of the kind of skills and qualifications they have, we spoke to Spanish teacher Enrique Gonzales (pictured), Brazilian Portuguese teacher Alice Ishii and French teacher Christelle Durandy.
Enrique is originally from Trujillo, Peru and has been living in the United States since 2006, first in San Francisco and now in New York.
He has been a foreign language learner since the age of 7 and started teaching English in Trujillo in 1999. He later worked as a private tutor in English, French, and Spanish to foreigners living in Peru. He has a degree in Mass Communications and several years of classroom experience.
Enrique has been working with Cactus since 2007 and is currently teaching group and private Spanish classes in all levels. He always tries to get his students to expose themselves to the language as much as possible and New York is a great environment for Spanish learners – they can easily find people to listen to, talk with and plenty of cultural and artistic manifestations to experience a variety of accents.
Alice is one of our Vancouver-based Portuguese teachers. Alice was born in São Paulo, Brazil, and graduated from USP -University of São Paulo with a major in Portuguese Language and Literature and minor in English as a Second Language. She gained her certified teaching degree in British Columbia at SFU – Simon Fraser University in 2000 and also taught ESL for 10 years in a public school first in British Columbia and 5 years in Wisconsin, at the Technical College. She has been teaching in Vancouver for Cactus since 2008.
The reason she has a passion for teaching, especially adults, is that she can really interact with them, exchanging experiences and learning about different cultures, customs and connecting with a wide range of people.
At the end of each year when she sees her students’ improvement her enthusiasm rises and as a result she wants to learn more. Therefore, she’s always in constant learning process, doing research, experimenting, questioning and adjusting lessons plans to her students’ needs.
Alice’s top tips for successful language learning are:
1. Organise your schedule: manage your time and material
2. Review each class : 15 minutes each day
3. Practice/Use the target language at home, with your friends, family
4. Listen carefully to tapes, podcasts and watch films, clips, songs in the target language as many as you can
Christelle has lived in the US for five years, although originally comes from France. She currently teaches for Cactus in New York –normally two or three sessions a week.
She’s been teaching for 10 years, and is a graduate of the University of Rennes. She also has a GRETA (certification) – GRETA (GRoupements d’ETAblissements) is a national network of public and adult education centres in France.
When asked about what she most enjoys about teaching she said the interaction; finding personalized ways and keys to make the students understand, and their happiness when they do.
Cactus offers 5 and 10-week evening language courses in New York, Boston, San Diego, San Francisco, Vancouver and Toronto. Languages offered include French, Spanish, German, Italian, Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese and Russian. Please visit the Cactus Language Courses website for full course listings, to test your level, or to book.