There are many different mobile apps for English language learners on the market, some are free and some are fairly expensive, but one common theme is that they are usually basic dictionaries or vocabulary lists. This is something that Nadia Bentoua noticed and decided to make an app of her own.
Nadia has been teaching English as a second language for over seven years in countries all around the world. “Teaching English must be in my blood. My grandmother did some teaching, mum has been teaching for over 30 years, my brother and then me.” Having learned a second language herself she recognized while spending time in Spain that learners really want to learn language they can use with in everyday life with native speakers.
“I was very excited when I first arrived in Madrid but I soon found myself disappointed as I was unable to understand so much of what was being said. The Spanish I had learnt was very formal and wasn’t really used in everyday conversation, especially with younger people”.
After seeing her students frustrated by a lack of up-to-date and contemporary English material, she used her years of teaching and own language learning experiences to create a book called ‘Learn How the Locals Speak’. The book aims to help English learners connect with the local people of English speaking countries in a new way. To follow on from the book, eventually Nadia decided that she wanted to develop an app, but did not have any technical or programming skills. Initially she thought that she may have to partner with someone or outsource the development of the app, but fortunately a close friend with programming skills was able to help her out.
One of the parts of English which Nadia regards as the most essential is phrasal verbs. Phrasal verbs are expressions like ‘make up’ or ‘stand in’ which native speakers use hundreds of time a day, often appearing in proficiency tests such as IELTS. ‘Dynamic English Lessons’ is an app that teaches 75 of the most commonly used phrasal verbs through two matching games. The game records your score as you play and saves the phrasal verbs into a dictionary to view later. “I made sure that the game was fun, included a hidden level and some hilarious noises so English learners are studying and enjoying it at the same time. I find that is one of the best ways to learn.”
In response to asking if there were plans for other apps in the future, “Absolutely! I think smartphone and tablet apps are a great way to assist students in their learning.” Plans are already in the pipeline for her next app which will be based around learning prepositions, another aspect of English which learners find very difficult. Nadia claims that her passion is to provide students with the language that they really need to learn. “The world is changing, the way we learn is changing and I ensure my material changes with it.”
You can visit her homepage at http://dynamicenglishlessons.com/.