LOI English Teachers: Alexa Whinery
Taking English classes through Skype can be stressful. After all, there are many myths about this type of learning. So, in order to make people that are learning or intend to learn English online more comfortable with this method, I decided to talk with several LOI English teachers to let you know more about them. This time I spoke with Alexa Whinery.
Born in the United States, Alexa has lived all over the country. Depending on which state she is in, the origin of her students changes, but it is common for her to have students from Russia, Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador.
One of the things on her bio that intrigued me was the fact that she is familiar with many US accents – Californian, Midwest, Northern, Eastern Seaboard and Southern Appalachian.
According to Alexa, there is no standard accent, all of them are valid. That is why she does not force her students to learn a specific accent. If her students want to improve the way they speak with a specific accent, she helps them to do it. However, since, as she says, the English language is spoken by people from all over the world, there is no need to use a specific accent to be understood. The only thing that matters is that the pronunciation is as accurate as possible.
Speaking about pronunciation, this is one of the most common issues for people who are trying to learn English. Alexa does not like to generalize, but she says that learning how to think in English is a way to avoid mistakes and learning pronunciation rather than an accent is very important.
One of the techniques that Alexa uses to teach her students how to think in English is the reading of movie dialogues and synopsis. This can help not only the learning of vocabulary, but also help students learn how to sound more natural when speaking in English. According to her, this exposure to modern English is one of the most effective ways for a non-native to learn how to speak naturally.
Besides that, the exposure to cultural issues also helps in the learning process. There are many ways to express the same thing according to the region you are from, that is why Alexa believes that knowing more about culture is essential to a better understanding of the language.
My conversation with Alexa flowed naturally and one of the things I noticed was that she does not like generalizations. To Alexa, treating each student individually is sacred. Therefore, she seems to be a great teacher for those who are tired of being treated as just another student and want more personalized tutoring.