Our team of business English trainers is a group of native-English speakers hailing from all parts of the Anglophonic world, bringing with them a wealth of professional experience and teaching expertise.
They deliver The Language Grid’s practical, results-driven approach to English training with passion, and in every lesson you benefit from insights from their native culture.
To summarize – they’re awesome! So now we’re interviewing them on our blog so you can learn more about who you could be collaborating with to improve your English.
REBECCA SHAW, SENIOR TRAINER, MILAN
- From Sheffield, England
- 9 years teaching experience
- Former professional experience in Finance & Insurance
- BA in Film and Literature, IELTS certificate
- Teaching mantra: “if you really want to do something, you'll find a way. If you don't, you'll find an excuse.”
1. What’s your educational and professional background?
I studied to be a journalist, taking a BA in Film and Literature. Once I had finished my degree, I was offered two paths, working as a marketing manager for the cinema I worked at during my studies or working on an independent project for the British Government. I never regret having decided on the latter. Since then I have worked for many well known international companies around the world such as Capita (UK), Aviva (UK) and Luxottica (Australia), primarily in the field of Finance and Insurance.
My teaching career started by accident in 2010, whilst living in Canada and Australia. I was offered the opportunity to teach ESL students and quickly realized it was something I enjoyed and had an aptitude for – so I decided to pursue it as a career option wholeheartedly. To begin, I qualified in teaching IELTS and Cambridge English exam preparation.
2. What made you choose The Language Grid?
Before choosing which additional teaching qualifications I wanted to take, I contacted The Language Grid for advice. As a result, I specialized in business English training and when I eventually moved to Milan, I decided I wanted to work for a professional company with a methodology that I believed in. I have worked for other companies prior to this and let’s just say, most of them don’t invest in their trainers or focus specifically on business teaching. One thing that really made The Language Grid stand out is their unique platform and constant drive for improvement and change.
3. In your opinion, what makes business English training for the finance and business world different from academic English study?
Having worked in both areas I can say there is definitely a huge difference – academic English study is mainly about ticking boxes. But with English training you’re helping the student work towards a completely different skill set, such as confidence, contextual fluency and the understanding of how to use the English language to their advantage. The Language Grid courses are fast paced, adaptable to suit each individual's needs and as a trainer, you need to be able to up the ante.
4. What TLG platform features do your students find most valuable?
Each student has a particular favorite, but I would say the Vocabulary Builder. It’s a mini miracle that is accessible at any time. It consists of the most important work-related phrasal verbs with their meaning and examples given. Some students have told me that it has helped them to decode emails and also helped them become more efficient in email writing.
5. What discussion on the TLG social network, The Grid, have you found most interesting?
One of my favorites was about personality types in the workplace, this actually became the subject of one of our lessons as it proved so insightful and popular. I’m a big advocate of The Grid, it can be used in so many ways to support practice of different skills. I tend to use it for verbal debating, note taking tasks and writing challenges.
6. What student achievement are you proudest of?
Last year I worked with a student that struggled with basic English comprehension (which is unusual at TLG because most of our students join the program with a solid level of English). At the beginning, building a simple phrase was a milestone but by the end of the year he was able to speak freely on a wide range of topics. He also improved a whole CEF level. It taught me a lot about myself as a trainer and also how rewarding my job is, because it can impact an individual's personal life and career in a meaningful way.
7. What English book, film or TV show would you recommend students watch?
For mid-level students, I pretty much recommend any period drama produced by the BBC, as the actors use RP (received pronunciation). It’s a standard form of English with a historic accent from southern England, typically spoken with grammatical accuracy and without slang. RP is very clear and easy to follow, and the BBC produces award winning series. (Check out this article for more recommendations)