English and Portuguese

Languages I teach and Methodology used


I am a qualified EFL teacher (Cambridge DELTA) with a Masters in Online teaching and learning methodolgies. I owned my own school for many years in Ireland where we taught different languages as well as running teacher training programmes. I enjoyed teaching English at Aljezur International School when I came back to the Algarve in 2018. I now teach privately individuals and groups, mostly online.


I have been teaching Portuguese for over ten years having lived in Portugal (10 years) and Macao (2 years) Classes are a mix of language and culture, are fun, with a focus on conversation and pronunciation. New classes start each Spring and Winter.

Vocabulary Building

So how do you learn and memorise vocabulary so that you can access it easily and quickly? How about having a dedicated Vocabulary Notebook - get a nice one that you are proud of and can carry around in your bag to add words to when they crop up. Then create a list of topics (brainstorm on a separate page first before writing in your notembook) and then start your lists (like your own personal dictionary). Try not to translate words but put a symbol or design to remind you. Topic lists are personal but to help you talk about yourself firstly in the target language, they could include:
Family, Work, Food, Hobbies, Fashion, Food, Then at the next level you could build on that and have mini dialogues as a related section:
1. Family / Introductions
2. Work / Greetings & Say what you do
3. Food  / Restaurant expressions
4. Hobbies / Talk about likes/dislikes
5. Fashion / Clothes Shopping dialogues
6. Food / Restaurant Dialogue 7. Drinks / Bar dialogue
8. Transport / Filling station dialogue
9. Doctor / Make an appointment
10.House / Service dialogues
11.Garden / Shopping dialogue
12.Animals / Feed shop dialogue
What do you think? Why not start it and let me know!

Teaching Methodology

I believe as teachers our role has changed to that of facilitator, guiding students on their path of language learning. My weekly class is just part of the individual's learning process and I encourage all students to take responsibility for their own learning and become independent learners. I teach all skills i.e. listening, speaking, reading and writing - as well as focus on grammar, vocabulary and phonetic concepts through practice. Course levels are linked to the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages), and students are encouraged to keep a journal of progression including 'can-do statements', finishing one level and moving to the next after their 10 week course. The 6 levels are as follows:

A1-Beginner Understands everyday words and expressions related to simple needs and tasks.
A2-Elementary Understands sentences and frequently used expressions in predictable situations.

B1-Intermediate (Threshold) Understands clear standard input on situations at work, school or leisure.
B2-Upper Intermediate (Vantage) Understands main ideas of complex text and speech, including technical discussions.

C1-Advanced (Autonomy) Understands a wide range of demanding texts and speeches, and recognizes implicit or nuanced meanings.
C2-Proficient (Mastery) Understands with ease almost every form of written texts and spoken language, including broadcasts at native speed.


Email me what level you think you are, starting each sentence with 'I can .....'

At the end of Beginner Level (A1):
You can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type
You can introduce yourself and others
You can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where you live, what you do, people you know and things you have
You can ask and give directions
You can order food and drink
You can make very basic travel and accommodation arrangements
You can have a basic conversation, provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.

At the end of Elementary Level (A2):
You can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas including basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography and employment
You can communicate in simple and routine tasks, requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters
You can describe, in simple terms, aspects of your background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need You can comfortably ‘get by’ when visiting the country, albeit with some difficulty.

At the end of Intermediate Level(B1):
You can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
You can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken
You can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest
You can describe experiences and events
You can talk about dreams, hopes and ambitions
You can briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans
You could consider working in the country using the language (e.g. bar/counter work, waiting service in cafes or basic office work).

At the end of Upper Intermediate Level (B2):
You can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in your field of specialisation.
You can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible, without strain for either party.
You can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue, giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
You can do business with speakers of the language in most run-of-the-mill situations.

At the end of Advanced Level (C1):
You can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning
You can express yourself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions
You can use the language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes
You can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, logical flow of text, and clear awareness of the audience.

At the end of Proficieny Level (C2):
You can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read
You can summarise information from different spoken and written sources
You can reconstruct arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation
You can express yourself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely
You can differentiate finer shades of meaning, even in the most complex situations.

Testimonial for online classes

I am from Germany and I was applying for a doctorate program in neuroscience. Therefore I had to reach a high level in English, because the Institute required a GRE and a TOEFL Test. Alison helped me to reach the best score in a very short time and it was very productive. As well as that my working hours are often unpredictable and Alison was very flexible and available.
All in all, our classes were interesting, enjoyable and effective. After our class, Alison sent me follow up email/text messages pointing out where I could improve with links to helpful exercises. It was the best decision to contact Alison to help me with my English. I was in good hands and I would make the same decision again.

Charlotte Schmitt, Germany December 2018
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Current or past member of Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, BNI, Women’s Business Network

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© Alison Boardman