Back in 2001, when I first started teaching French & Spanish, there was not a single book that I truly liked. The grammar was either poorly explained or too detailed. Vocabulary was outdated and all the most useful idiomatic expressions were simply absent from all books. Too many books even contained mistakes that teachers blindly reproduced. Traditional language programs don’t put much emphasis on pronunciation, which is crucial in languages such as French & Spanish. There are many big differences in French between the way native speakers read a sentence, and the way they would pronounce it in a conversation. Words are blended together to form new sounds. Other words or syllables are skipped. In a nutshell, the way people learn languages in most schools or methods is about the same as teaching Shakespearian English to a German kid who wants to come live in the United States: obsolete.
This is why I created my own French method: a one-of-a-kind method with very different explanations from what you will see in any textbook. Most explanations are too vague if not inaccurate. All my lessons include many examples that illustrate the use of each new concept in as many ways as possible, using pictures, colors and different fonts so that the different parts of a sentence stand out clearly, making it easy to understand. After teaching adults on Skype for a few years, I finally switched to Electa, a fantastic virtual classroom that has allowed me to adapt my method to online classes.
This approach, which has been working for all my students in French, has been reproduced in Spanish. Our team of outstanding linguists has put together an incredible method along with other learning tools which are made available to students through Moodle, a very convenient learning platform where teachers can give the links to the students’ recorded webinars, add more learning material (written, video & audio), give assignments, and share documents, thoughts & ideas. We are excited to have more new students join our school every year, and we look forward to helping you speak a new language.
Alexandre de Chambure, founder and director of Language City
How are our teachers selected?
I believe this is a key question that deserves an explanation. Students should know that all teachers are not equal. I believe there are three types of language teachers:
- Below-average teachers: they are not real teachers. They are mostly native speakers who don’t know English and don’t know how their native language works. They can’t explain anything. They can sometimes be native English speakers who don’t know enough about the language they teach.
- Average teachers: It is their job. They don’t have a particular talent for languages. Their explanations are all exactly the same: vague theories. They repeat what they see in books. Some like their job, some don’t. They stick to their book and don’t really learn anything new.
- The very best teachers: They represent less than 1% of the total. They are a completely different breed of language teachers. They live, eat and breathe languages all day. They are talented, they have studied their art for a long time, and they have figured out things that others don’t know. Their passion for languages pushed them to be the very best at what they do. Accuracy is a key word for them. They love what they do and are eager to share their knowledge with their students.
Those are the teachers we hire at Language City: teachers who have the knowledge and the skills to make you fluent.
Students only have one class (or two) a week. We want them to get the most out of it. No time is wasted reading poems or repeating ever-lasting short dialogues.
Alexandre de Chambure was born and raised in Paris, France. After obtaining a Master’s degree in French & English, he moved to California to teach French at UC Irvine for a year. He then moved from Irvine to Los Angeles to teach French at Le Lycee Francais de Los Angeles for two years. Alexandre spent the following year in Paris to teach English to the daughter and grandson of French President Chirac. Upon his return to Los Angeles, he translated The Agassi Story into French and started a small tutoring business, teaching French, Spanish and ESL. After creating his own French & Spanish methods, he started tutoring more and more adults throughout the US, Europe and Asia. His private lessons turned into group lessons, which is how he was led to use Electa and create Language City. Alexandre does not see himself as a mere teacher but as a linguist whose passion has allowed him to find secrets to languages that others are still looking for.
Ana Gonzalez was born and raised in Spain. She became fascinated by English at an early age, and devoured every single English book she could lay her hands on. Ana quickly became perfectly bilingual, mastering all aspects of both Spanish and English: grammar, pronunciation and the most useful idiomatic expressions that only native speakers manage to master. In 2007, she obtained a Masters degree in Spanish Linguistics and taught at San Diego State University for two years. Ana went on to teach Spanish at Georgetown University for another three years before moving back to Spain to obtain a second Masters Degree in Teaching Spanish as a Second Language. After teaching Spanish in a Spanish school located in the Netherlands for over a year, she decided to teach Spanish online. She has been teaching adults all around the world ever since. Ana is not a Spanish teacher like any other. She has largely contributed to the creation of our Spanish method, and I do believe it is a privilege to learn Spanish with her.
Emily Roig was born and raised Nashville, Tennessee. She has earned a Masters degree in Spanish and is also certified as a TEFL teacher. Emily is a talented linguist who managed to beat all native speakers as her mastery of both English and Spanish is magnificent. Her passion for Spanish and the Spanish-speaking has led her to spend time in Salamanca, Spain as well as in the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica to teach English. Her knowledge of various kinds of Spanish makes her one of the very best Spanish teachers you will find.
Harmony Waldron was born in China, has a Bachelor’s degree in English, and a Master’s degree in Chinese Language and Culture. She has been teaching Mandarin Chinese for over 20 years, and has unmatched skills in her field. Her passion and talent for languages make her the very best Mandarin teacher you will find. She has designed her own Mandarin method specifically for online classes. She has taught in schools and colleges and has taught adults throughout her career. She is also a certified Chinese teacher in the state of New Jersey.
I grew up with foreign languages being an absolute passion since the tender age of 10. I could not get my nose out of those books. Every single day, I had to learn more. Every single day, I learned pages of vocabulary and did as many grammar exercises as I could.
At the age of 18, I had finally managed to be fluent in English, and I understood what I had needed to do to achieve that feat. I had finally passed the final stage that so many people feel stuck in: you know the grammar, you have some vocabulary, you can communicate your thoughts but… you can barely understand a word people say and stumble upon many words. I know many of you know the feeling. Well, because I thought about it day in and day out, I figured out what I needed to do. What I was missing was: a lot of vocabulary, many idiomatic expressions no one had every taught me at school, and many tricks to understand how people blend words together and create new sounds. For instance, the question “Do you know how to get there?” will often be pronounced “Djoo know how to get there?”. “Do you” and “Djoo” sound very different in the ears of a non-English speaker.
The same goes with “Je suis” that the French pronounce “Ch’ui” or “¡Vamonos!” that many Spanish speakers would pronounce “¡Amono!” So over a long period of time, I put together a method in which I gathered all the little idiomatic phrases & expressions we use everyday, but that no one ever teaches, and that you would have learned over a long period of time in immersion. I gathered all these idiomatic expressions and put them all together in my French & Spanish methods. Ultimately, you will learn as much as someone who spent a year abroad.
After college, I went to several job interviews where various language schools, high schools and colleges where looking for ESL, French or Spanish teachers. I had noticed they never once asked me a relevant question that would reveal whether I was a good teacher or not. They asked me if I had a Master’s degree. Well yes I did, but according to me, it doesn’t mean much. I had graduated from college with many students who couldn’t speak English even though it was their major. The same thing was true in the US: those who had majored in French could barely have a conversation.
I once went to an interview at a private school where the man interviewing me talked for a good 15 minutes about the school, the students, and plenty of things that had nothing to do with teaching French or Spanish. He confessed he didn’t know anything about French or Spanish. When he was done, he asked me if I had questions upon which I replied: “You will probably meet about 100 people over the next few weeks. Why would you choose me?” He seemed to be taken aback and somewhat puzzled. He looked at me and said: “I don’t know. You tell me!” I knew I was about to come off as arrogant, but it was ok. I told him I was most likely the very best French teacher he would ever meet. He may not have understood what made me think that, but I will tell you.
I have been teaching French, Spanish & ESL since 2000. I have seen many textbooks and seen the work of many teachers. I have even met and talked to many teachers from all across America and France. I have seen more mistakes at all levels than you could imagine. Everyone teaches exactly the same thing, with the same explanations, and the very same way, as if everyone had learned from the very same book. I will give you a few examples. Many people think that the difference between “connaitre/conocer” and “savoir/saber” is that one is used for acquaintances and the latter for things you know by heart while the true (and easier) explanation has absolutely nothing to do with it. You will hear that the imperfect is for past habits and things that “last in time”. There is a much clearer explanation. Many very important things are absolutely never mentioned in any language schools.
This is why I decided to create Language City. I realized that this would be the very best place to learn a foreign language. I wanted to offer high quality language classes, to make sure students would be able to learn and speak a language, not just vague theories.
This is why Language City hires nothing but the very best teachers. When I interview a prospective teacher, I check that he or she knows the language that he or she teaches. Being a native speaker is not enough, and having a degree is not enough either. For a language that I don’t know, I work with a specialist from outside Language City to help me determine who the best teachers are.
Now you know everything, or almost. Welcome to Language City, and we look forward to bringing you the joy of speaking a new language.
Language City is the one destination to learn a foreign language with a simple, engaging & useful approach.
Access the French course of your choice from anywhere in the world, and on any device.
Why Choose Us
- Learn a language in a fun and easy way.
- What you learn is relevant; lessons are made simple and are more accurate than anywhere else.
- All self-study courses are available 24/7 on smart phones, tablets, laptops & desktops.
- Learn from the very best teachers in the nation.
- Get plenty of practice & exercises to memorize what you have learned.