A brief introduction to Dave Cook. He explains a little about himself and what he likes about teaching English.
Where are you from?
I'm from near Birmingham in the UK.
How long have you been in Mexico?
I’ve been living in Querétaro since April 2017.
How long have you been teaching English?
I have been teaching English on and off for 5 years.
How long have you been with UE?
I started working at United English part-time in November 2017. In August 2018, I began working full-time and took on additional responsibilities such as redesigning the website and developing resources.
Have you taught anywhere else?
I began teaching while I was studying at university. I found a job teaching at a university in Barranquilla, Colombia as I wanted to live in a Spanish-speaking country to learn the language. When I finished university, I went to Kagoshima, Japan, where I taught for two years.
After a break from teaching, while I worked in the international offices of UK universities, I began studying a master’s degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages at the University of Birmingham. Once I had finished my studies, I came to Mexico to get back into the classroom. In Mexico I have given classes in a number of private companies and individuals, as well as working in a prestigious private high school.
What do you like about teaching at United English?
The students are very motivated and come to United English to become more effective in their jobs as many work in international companies. I like knowing that what we study in class can be put to use immediately. Since a good command of English is highly sought after in Mexico, it gives me great pleasure to know that I can help people to become more effective, impress their bosses and maybe even get promotions.
I also enjoy the syllabus that we teach. Since we are a large team and students work with many different teachers, the materials are standardised in order to make sure that everything is coherent (although we each add our own personality to the classes). I find that the materials include a good mix of technical explanations and communicative activities, with a focus on linguistic elements such as collocations and chunks, which is often missing from language courses - we also play a lot of games in class, which is fun!
What advice can you offer to language learners?
In my own language study, I’ve found that using technology to support my studies has given great results over a very short period of time. I highly recommend apps such as Anki, Memrise and Duolingo. If you add any new word that you encounter to your Anki or Memrise list and practice for a few minutes a day, you will be amazed at how quickly you improve! This technique helped me to learn Japanese in 1 year.
Also, it’s important to remember that you must study outside of class. People are very busy and it’s difficult to find the time but there are many ways to integrate study into your usual activities.