Speak! Teachers: Artisan Educators
At Speak! we understand that language teaching is a true craft mastered only after years of experience with a variety of different students, in a variety of different settings, using a variety of different techniques, methods and technologies. Good teachers are primarily good listeners, able to sense an individual’s strengths and weaknesses, their enthusiasms and insecurities, their realistic goals and often wonderfully ambitious dreams. Before even selecting a single exercise, book, video clip or conversation topic, our teachers carefully assess their student’s level as well as their language learning style, needs and goals. Instead of trying to use a one-size-fits all, mass-market curriculum, like artisans our teachers skillfully create a custom course for each Speak! student, one that will best fit his or her needs – be it an emphasis on conversation and vocabulary in a specific professional field, a refresher of advanced grammar, some confidence or memory building games, even guided reading and writing practice. Custom and small group courses are treated with the same care. And like a good artisan, our teachers are always ready to re-shape their course as needed, responding to the student’s changing needs over time.
Speak! teachers radiate positive energy and enthusiasm. They love language and culture! They teach because it’s FUN for them. They love watching and especially listening to students as they learn to speak a new language. All Speak! instructors are native or near-native speakers of the target language and they understand the unique challenges (and previously frustrated experiences) of adult language learners.
Interested in joining the Speak! Team? We invite experienced instructors of any foreign language as well as ESL to submit an e-mail of interest along with an updated resume’ to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Speak! Team
Christina Ball, Ph.D.
Owner/Director and Italianist
Christina picked up a Ph.D in Italian Language and Literature at Yale University in 1998 and has been teaching all aspects of Italian — language, literature, culture, film — at Yale, Wake Forest and the University of Virginia for the past 15 years. An educational entrepreneur, she created Speak! Language Center (first as Ecco Italy in 2004) in order to inspire and empower people through language, culture and community.
As the Owner/Director of Speak!, Christina designs and coordinates language programs with a team of enthusiastic and experienced instructors, works with local and national businesses and organizations in-need of language services and nurtures just about any language-culture request that comes her way.
Christina has lived the ‘sweet life’ in Rome, Bologna, Cortona, and Florence doing everything from researching the moon in Italian literature on a Fulbright grant to searching for the perfect gelato to creating an edition of handmade books in a chilly palazzo courtyard. Christina lives in Charlottesville and travels frequently to a second home in Tuscany with her husband, Italian professor Enrico Cesaretti and their 13-year-old daughter, Mila.
see ESL Faculty page