Kaplan Teacher Spotlight: Daniel Ward
We’ve spent a lot of time over the years examining the many ways in which students benefit from their experiences studying abroad, but this week we want to take a closer look at how teaching English as a foreign language has enriched the lives of our instructors. For Daniel Ward, a TOEFL© and Business English teacher at our San Francisco English school, working in ESL has allowed him first-hand experience of different cultures and a deeper understanding of the world.
“Without my exposure to international students, I believe a whole dimension to my personality would be lost and my life until now would have been much less interesting. My experiences with Kaplan students have inspired me to be more adventurous, ambitious and open. The doors to the world are wide open to me now. I’m even more dedicated to being a life-long learner who not only wants to see the world but also wants to understand all the people in it.”
Finding inspiration from his students
Each year, 50,000 students from 150 countries study with Kaplan at our schools around the world. This allows both students and teachers the opportunity to discover a wide range of cultures and create lasting friendships that span across international borders.
“Teaching international students has dramatically changed my life. Growing up in a small town, I was not exposed to so many different cultures. While I have taught my students English, they have also taught me about their traditions, values and ambitions. Many of them have inspired me through their lust for life and travel. Influenced by my experiences at Kaplan, I have now lived abroad, learned to speak French and completed the Paris Marathon.”
Exploring the culture of international students
For Daniel, his time as an ESL teacher not only broadened his understanding of different cultures, but also inspired him to experience more of the world himself. Acting as an ambassador for Kaplan, Daniel was offered the chance to spend a month travelling across Asia, providing potential students with a taste of what studying with Kaplan would entail.
“I got to travel with Kaplan to Thailand, South Korea, and China. It was so exciting to meet prospective students. Of course, it was incredible to see these amazing countries for the first time and to eat so much delicious food.”
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Through this experience, Daniel was about to promote the interactive style of teaching that students experience when studying English with Kaplan, conducting the same sorts of assignments he would back in his classroom.
“I have a lot more empathy with students after seeing the experience that they have. I think that seeing the cities that many of our students come from and their lifestyle means I can be a lot more sensitive to our students’ needs and also have a deeper cultural understanding.”
A comfortable learning environment
An important aspect of teaching both TOEFL© Preparation and Business English is ensuring that students develop the necessary skills for success, whether that is practical Business terminology or stronger speaking and listening skills.
“We discuss controversies on a variety of subjects. The goal is that after our classes, students will have the facility to communicate effectively on virtually any topic. It also gives them a chance to form their own opinions and to hear the opinions of people from other sides of the world. We make TOEFL© practice fun—if you can believe that. I take the mystery and anxiety out of TOEFL© and motivate students to keep going.”
This not only builds confidence in students, but also allows them to put what they learn to use. Through this, the teachers can measure their development and pinpoint key strengths and weaknesses in each student to ensure they are constantly developing practical English skills.
“The energy, dedication and positivity in the classroom are always uplifting. I feel so satisfied to hear when a student gets their target score or is later accepted to their university of choice.”
Have studied with Daniel in San Francisco? Or maybe you have another teacher you’d like to highlight from your own #KaplanExperience. Share your stories with us on our Facebook page or in the comment section below.