Getting to know you: Elena Merino, Pearson Teacher Trainer

Elena Merino Teacher Trainer ELTThis week let’s get to know a person who has recently started working in our Teacher Training team for Spain and Portugal. Her name is Elena Merino and she joined Pearson 2 months ago. Read on to find out more!

Interview with Elena Merino, Teacher Training

1. How long have you been teaching English?

I’ve taught English for 12 years in very different contexts and for varied learning profiles. My main focus is teenagers and adults but I’ve also worked with children.

2. What do you like most about teaching?

There’s a lot I like about teaching. For instance, when I see my students’ outcomes (yes, they’ve learned something from me!). But most importantly, when the students themselves realize that they have learned something. I tell you, they will be grateful for ever. And last but not least, what I get out of my students, which is a lot!

3. And least?

Grading! Although I still do it and I think it is important, I think we need to change our way of using and sharing corrections with the students. Corrections are supposed to help learning and the way we sometimes do it does not really help the students.

4. What do you like about the English language?

Well, when I went to college, we had to learn grammar and everything surrounding the English language (history, literature, culture, etc.). That’s what a like about any language: the language itself and its “surroundings”.

5. Who’s your favourite English language author?

Although I like many contemporary writers, my favourite English author will always be W. Shakespeare. I love his plays and I’ve seen all the movies based on his books. A little bit more recent, I’d say C. Bukowski. His way of satirizing the world is really witty.

6. Which English-speaking place would you particularly recommend for a holiday?

I’m in love with the American culture, so I’d say, take a month off, go to the West Coast of the US, rent a car and start road tripping (don’t forget to stop in the national parks, such as Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Bryce, Death Valley, etc.)

7. And a particular dish or drink?

My favourites would be a pitcher of strawberry frozen Margarita and Hot Chicken Wings.

8. Who was your favourite English teacher?

I had terrible English teachers during my school time (teachers who did not speak the language or did not even have a degree in English). So I had to wait a few years in order to meet my favourite English teacher; when I did my masters in TESOL in West Virginia. Her classes were about teaching methodology and we had a very hands-on approach to things. We had to study and work really hard but she helped us understand things through practical examples.

9. Tell us an interesting website you would recommend to students of English.

For advanced learners, I’d recommend http://www.thisamericanlife.org/ where you can listen to radio programs with a variety of stories and topics. You can listen to the stories online or download them.

10. You’ve had to learn a foreign language yourself. What language learning tip would you give to people reading this?

First, get as much input as you can (movies, music, people), don’t be shy and start speaking! I remember I was always afraid of making mistakes so I used to remain silent in class. After, I moved abroad. I realized nobody was making fun of me and that the only way of learning the language was by using it!

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