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Meet Teresa Nguyen of ESL Garage

Today we’d like to introduce you to Teresa Nguyen.

Teresa, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I became interested in language development due to my firsthand experiences as a child immigrant from Vietnam, an ESL student, and then as an English instructor in three different countries. These experiences have given me an understanding of how lives can be transformed through learning English.

Through the years, I have found that teaching a wide range of learners in a variety of subjects has allowed me to explore different perspectives on teaching as well. I taught specialized English to immigrant adults, in corporate America (2008) and to Vietnamese programmers in corporate Vietnam (2010). I taught elementary (2009), high school (2012), undergraduate, graduate (2014), and re-entry (2013) students from over 25 different countries academic English to further their education at an English-speaking institution.

It has been an explorative, exciting journey! I have shared these experiences with colleagues at a variety of professional educational conference including CATESOL and TESOL, placing a great emphasis on apps in relation to language learning/acquisition (e.g. Newsmart, Penzu).

During my journey, I have also been a member of the faculties at California State University, Fullerton and now, at Golden West College and Irvine Valley College.

Last year, I published my first oral language textbook – Compelling Conversations – Vietnam: Speaking Exercises for Vietnamese Learners of English (Chimayo Press, 2016). The primary audience is Vietnamese Americans, unlike other EFL books limited to Vietnamese living in Vietnam. I also included Quizlet and Kahoot! in each chapter to provide additional opportunities for students to be autonomous learners.

This positive experience as an ESL material writer helped me turn another dream into reality – In November 2016, I started a bilingual (English-Vietnamese) YouTube channel to teach English to those that don’t have the resources or time for formal English language learning.

The intention was to create low risk, high return positive language learning experience via computer. As I develop the channel, I can imagine helping not only English language learners in the U.S. but across the globe. Lessons – sometimes all in English and sometimes in both English and Vietnamese – include the Academic Word List and conversational guidance. Currently I have over 12k subscribers from all over the world.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Anyone who has ever started any kind of entrepreneurial venture knows that it is tremendous work but oh-so-worth-it! ESL Garage is still a baby. It’s now only about a year old. To this point it has been completely self-financed. When I started this project, it was my donation to the community – to anyone and everyone that wanted to learn English from anywhere and everywhere. After this initial self-financed phase, I am now hoping to attract other investors and this has been a challenge.

But, ESL Garage wouldn’t be where it is today without the wonderful people that have helped me along the way. I would like to specifically thank my camera man: John Montoya, and my editors: Keyon Nguyen and B.GIO Creative Studio, – and of course, all my wonderful volunteers in filming and subtitling!

So, as you know, we’re impressed with ESL Garage – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
There are many English teaching YouTube Channels out there. However, the material that I create and curate are very based upon my life and experiences and of course, my individual personality. The format is based on learner outcomes with a lot of the focus on instructional delivery and assessment/evaluation. I additionally try to incorporate authentic materials into the lessons such as music videos and conversations/speeches of Americans. There are four strands of English learning that the student can focus on: Everyday Vocabulary (for my beginners), Academic Vocabulary (for those that want to enter university), Accent Reduction, American Culture, and free audio to Compelling Conversations – Vietnam.

Yet I also have a distinctive niche. It’s a bilingual channel. All the videos are in English and Vietnamese. Being Vietnamese-American, I’m fortunate to have grown up understanding and appreciating two very distinct cultures. And the benefits are many. Cultural sensitivity is the most important factor in sharing information. Given the times we live in, I feel fortunate to be able to share my love of learning languages and knowledge of the English language.

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Image Credit:
Ekin Photography

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