Elisa Polese is an Italian polyglot known for teaching multiple languages at once (up to ten languages at a time!), including Arabic, Catalan, Dutch, Italian, English, Esperanto, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. In addition to her focus on multilingual learning, Elisa is also a big proponent of speaking from day one and getting over the fear of making mistakes. I had the privilege of witnessing her impressive multilingual teaching skills firsthand at the 2019 Polyglot Gathering in Bratislava, and it was exhilarating to see so many languages flying around in the room at once!
Every so often, I stumble across claims on the interwebs so outrageous that they immediately send me to the keyboard to write a blog post. As they say, the best way to complain is to create. One such example is the following statement I read on an education blog: “Anything students need to know has to be taught, not caught.” This sound bite seems logical to those who subscribe to traditional “sage on the stage” models of teaching, but it underpins a major misconception about language acquisition: the notion that languages can be taught at all.
Paulino Brener is educator, performer, social media manager, and one of the few people I know who has managed to successfully blend all of his passions (foreign languages, teaching, crafts, social media, and performance arts) into one. And get paid to do so! In our interview, he discusses creative ways to harness one’s passions in foreign language learning, whether as teacher or learner.
In my interview with Jason West, the creator of English Out There, we discuss the weaknesses of traditional English schools, methodologies, and materials, and how his approach aims to overcome them. I especially enjoyed his effective, no-nonsense approach to language learning, his efforts to bridge the gap between traditional classroom-based learning and independent study, and his willingness to share before-and-after speech samples of his students.
In his own words, Dr. Orlando Kelm is “a lucky guy” professionally. Not only does he get to spend his time with two languages (Spanish and Portuguese), but he also the Associate Director of Business Language Education for the UT CIBER (Center for International Business Education and Research, a part of the McCombs School of Business. In our interview, Dr. Kelm shares what he believes to be the 6 most important factors in effective language learning.