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Now With COVID-19 Online Learning Is More Important Than Ever

Online learning has grown in popularity over the years. Ninety per cent of my lessons are conducted online via Skype and FaceTime. Apps such as Google Classroom and Docs have also made online learning more efficient, reliable and organised. And now with COVID-19, there’s no better time than ever to have online lessons.

Over the country, and over the world, universities, colleges and schools are beginning to close their doors for fear of COVID-19 contagion. As it stands the virus has infected approx. 337, 042 people worldwide, with 14, 641 deaths. As of the 22nd March 2020, there have been 1,098 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia. The lockdowns are believed to be the only way to contain the spread of the virus.

“We’re in this because public health experts believe social distancing is the best way to prevent a truly horrific crisis.” — Brian Resnick, Vox

How long will this last? Nobody knows. There are talks that this lockdown may last anywhere from several months to a year. It’s a horrible state of affairs. However, as the world begins to close its doors, it’s important to remember that there are certain non-negotiables that need to continue, no matter how long we are in this for. Education is one of those non-negotiables, and while it may seem like a luxury at times (learning for learning sakes) it isn’t far behind your basic necessities: food, water, sleep, shelter. But it’s surely not that important, right?

The problem is, when a student’s learning ceases for a period of time, that student risks falling behind when exams pick back up. And they will pick back up; life will eventually resume to normal and this virus will not last — they are already testing the first human clinical trials for a COVID-19 vaccine. However, National Institutes of Health experts have indicated that it may take at least a year to 18 months “to determine whether a vaccine for the novel coronavirus is safe and effective.”

“The main message that isn’t getting across to a lot of people is just how long we might be in this for.” — Adam Kucharski, author of The Rules of Contagion

During this lockdown stage, it’s important for parents and students to encourage and continue online lessons, as to not allow students to fall behind. I’ve already witnessed amazing support from fellow teachers and lecturers at Swinburne University, and local schools are also supplying parents with online curriculum advice, including ongoing tuition with professional tutors.

Therefore, rather than stopping your studies, or ceasing your child’s learning, consider online learning as a way of bridging the gap during this societal lockdown. As for my own online teaching approach, I have been tutoring for many years online using several methods – Skype, Google Classroom and Google Docs, and Zoom for group lessons. So rather than hitting the panic button, remember that there is online educational support, and I am one of many professional, experienced tutors offering online lessons.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me today about online lessons. I tutor school students in VCE and General English, and adult professionals in Pronunciation, Writing and Grammar, including IELTS and PTE preparation.

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Jon's Blog

There are No Short Cuts … but You Can Succeed in Learning English

student struggling

For many years now I’ve been delivering lesson plans to hundreds of students; sometimes in a classroom situation and sometimes one-on-one private tutoring. However, no matter what nationality or background the student, or how long they have been learning English, I always find a repeating problem: a lack of practice.

It seems obvious doesn’t it? The more you practice anything, the better you become at it? If only it were that easy right? Well, over the many years of teaching, I have discovered that this lack of self-motivation really depends on the individual and their own study ethics and level of self-discipline. Let’s face it, learning a new language is HARD. Nobody wants to spend their free time with their head in an English book, after spending an entire week trying to make the rent in a part-time job. It’s exhausting.

However, what separates the successful student from others, is a willingness to … dare I say … enjoy the process of learning English. “What!?” I hear you say … “is he serious?”

I am.

I’ve taught all kinds of students; with all sorts of different challenges. But no matter the student, over time one thing has stood out to me: the students who find a way to enjoy English, begin to excel. I recall a student who was not an avid reader when he arrived at Australian Pacific College, yet within only a few months he was reading entire novels.

So how is this possible?

The answer is two-fold, and lies in the self-motivation of the student and the approach of the teacher. If a person learns how to enjoy reading, then once they have found their reason (be that: the story, plot or characters) then that self-motivation becomes a natural process, rather than a forced obligation. Learners need to find something they first enjoy about English, to then commit to further study and practice. Now I know what you’re thinking: I NEVER enjoyed English. I’m an Engineer and have a mathematics brain. I don’t even like reading. I’ve heard this argument a LOT, and if we consider how some people are more left-brain thinkers, while others are more right-brain thinkers, then it seems like a reasonable rebuttal. But I believe it’s more about our own attitudes towards learning, rather than our seemingly inherent incapacity to grasp a skill. The question a student should consider when struggling to learn English, is … What have I got to lose? After all, English is the lingua franca of business, travel and international relations throughout the world. The relative ease with which English can be learned (compared with other languages, such as Chinese) and its persuasive cultural significance, means that English will continue to dominate the world stage for many years to come. And for many, English is synonymous with greater social, academic and job opportunities and a better lifestyle. And it’s not surprising when you consider that English is the third most spoken language in the world, with approx. 360 million native English speakers, and around a half a billion people who speak English as a second language.

That’s all fine and well, but the popularity of English isn’t helping you learn it, right? Right. Nevertheless, those numbers give me hope – because, if so many people are learning to speak English then it means they have all faced the difficult challenges associated with English and have persevered. And notice that I said: difficult challenges, and just like any personal challenge (exercise, diet, understanding technology, relationships, etc), it takes a lot of hard work and endurance. I believe one of the main reasons students become disillusioned during the learning stage is a fear of failure. We all react to failure differently; some take a breath in and knuckle down, whilst others hang their heads in defeat. No matter your English level or ability, it’s important to remember an important rule: don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Perhaps you can take a black pen now and write that in huge capital letters across your notebook, because it’s the one thing I would like you to remember. It seems obvious, but fear is the biggest killer of motivation. For those of you who are terrified of failing, you must do everything in your power to face and conquer your fear of failure – because this will hold you back: the more you fail, the less you will attempt to learn. We avoid things that cause us pain or humiliation. It’s natural to recoil from things we struggle with, but the problem with our comfort zones (you know … Netflix, YouTube, Facebook, etc) is that they are a distraction from what we should really be doing, they slow us down, and we avoid our responsibilities. So, it’s OK to be afraid, but it’s not OK to give up.

I have often come across students who see English as some fearsome creature with sharp claws and fire pouring from its mouth—but English is nothing to be frightened of. Like any language it has its rules and devices, structures and ambiguities. I’ve even heard English refereed to as an organism: something constantly evolving and changing. This is true. It is also something to embrace and experiment with; for words are but grains of sand in an ocean of language; ready for the word-smith to build his or her castle from. Learning a language takes patience, self-discipline and a drive to conquer your fears and excuses. I always tell my students: “Procrastinate later!” Don’t put something off that can be done today, because the faster you face those fears, the quicker you will find yourself finishing your exams, gaining your academic grades and expanding your spoken English – new skills to take you to the next stage in your life.

Ask yourself: What are my passions? Decide if you can incorporate English into the things you love. If you don’t feel ready to write essays, how about writing a handwritten letter to a friend overseas, or a postcard? If you’re an Architect, perhaps you can start to read about design in the 21st century, and its theories and methods. If your passion is football, can you write an article about your sports hero? If you dig deep enough you will find that English language relates to all interests; simply because it is the way we can communicate our ideas, dreams, values and interests. And remember … man never made it to the moon in one giant leap, he took small steps, just as you will take small steps, daily, always striving forward with your eyes on the horizon. Do this and you will reach your destination – I can promise you.

– Jonathan Byron

 

 

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Welcome

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  • Do you need to improve your General or Academic English?
  • Prepare for an important exam, such as IELTS or PTE?
  • Do you have an academic paper, thesis or essay that needs proof reading or editing?
  • Would you like to improve your English pronunciation, listening & communication skills?
  • Are you a VCE student and preparing for your units?

I’m a passionate and qualified English Tutor, specialising in IELTS (General and Academic English) and curriculum-based English subjects. I have over 10 years experience developing effective oral, written communication, pronunciation and reading skills, including EAL students in Australia, Europe and the UK. I have also have taught in mixed classroom environments for several reputable language schools in Melbourne; including group Business English classes for a variety of corporate organisations.

I take great pride in my teaching abilities, and enjoy helping all kinds of students achieve their academic goals. I am well organised and driven, with the ability to create engaging, comprehensive lessons, while focusing on the individual needs of the student.

When I am not teaching English, I am a writer – therefore, English is my main focus and is an integral part of my daily life.

Learning-English

KEY STRENGTHS

Some of my key-strengths include: enduring patience, tailored lesson plans, the ability to quickly discern my students’ needs, strong focus, diverse range of teaching methodologies, years of experience and excellent listening skills.

Some of the greatest obstacles for students to overcome is a lack of self-confidence and motivation. Quite often, students can feel overwhelmed and uninspired – wondering, how on earth can they finish their assignments or achieve their word count in time. I believe my role as a tutor is to also inspire my students, and remind them: English is liberating, and an art form unto itself. And therefore, a person’s English ability can not be fabricated; it takes a degree of hard work and motivation for both the student and the teacher. It is an academic relationship built on trust, knowledge and insight.

To quote Kofi Annan …“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.” 

EXPERIENCE

  • IELTS preparation for both General and Academic
  • Primary and Secondary students (VCE exam prep and general study)
  • Professional pronunciation training, including: listening, speaking, articulation, intonation and accent reduction
  • Business & Cambridge English for corporate environments (one-on-one and group)
  • ESL / EAL training in comprehension, grammar, reading and writing
  • Essay writing, report writing, academic writing, persuasive & analysis writing
  • Proof reading and editing of thesis and academic papers
  • Narrative structure and creative writing
  • Structured homework assignments and lesson plans to meet individual students needs
  • Contract lesson plans with individuals and classes
  • Tutoring ESL for international exchange students

TEACHING METHODS

I believe in intensive, supportive and needs-focused lesson plans to encourage confidence, structure and rapid improvement. It takes a degree of inspiration to learn something new, and so I create tailored and inclusive lesson plans, that are both enjoyable and of high curriculum standards. I enjoy watching the progress of my students develop over our lessons together, and I’m a firm believer in structured homework with weekly reviews – whilst incorporating TESOL teaching methods. I teach one-on-one and online lessons, and I am also available to teach group classes.

Contact me for a quote and start improving your English today!