Cafetalk Featured Tutor Interview

Jeffrey Flew

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Jeffrey Flew Tutor Interview

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Q. Hi Jeffrey Flew! Why don’t we start out by having you briefly introduce yourself?

A. Hello everyone in the Cafetalk Community. It's been a real pleasure teaching many of you during my time at Cafetalk and I look forward to meeting many more of you and helping you learn and improve your English language skills. Let me tell you a bit about myself. I was born and grew up on the northern beachers of Sydney Australia. In my early 20s, after finishing my Bachelor of Business degree I became interested in the Japanese language and began studying it in my spare time. I soon realized the best way to learn Japanese was to be in Japan, so I decided to go there on a working holiday visa. I spent over a year there in both Tokyo and Kamaishi City in Iwate Ken, teaching English and also working in the hotel industry.

After returning to Australia I started working for Qantas, the Australian national airline. But I was still interested in Japan, and a few years later I returned, this time on a working visa and stayed for almost 10 years. I worked in a few different fields including English teaching and also in the Finance and IT industries, working for foreign firms who were looking for staff who could communicate well in both English and Japanese. I was working for the Investment bank Lehman Brothers when it famously went bankrupt in 2008 triggering the global financial crisis. I left Japan in 2013 and after travelling for a while I met a wonderful girl in Cebu City Philippines who would later become my wife. These days I spend most of my time in Cebu, but my wife and I are planning to relocate to Sydney Australia in the near future.

Q. According to your profile, you are originally from Sydney. What was it like growing up there?

A. I grew up in a suburb called Manly on the northern beaches of Sydney. It’s a truly beautiful place occupying a peninsula with world famous Sydney harbour on one side and a glorious white sand surfing beach on the other. I feel very fortunate growing up in such an idyllic location and a large part of my childhood was spent at the beach or by the harbour shore. To this day I love being near the sand and the sea and enjoy all types of water sports.

Q. You have also spent 10 years in Japan! What were some of the highlights of your time here?

A. Japan is an amazing country with a rich culture and some beautiful sites and natural scenery, but I'd say the highlight for me was the people. I was struck by how courteous, friendly and welcoming the people were and I was also impressed with how hard working the were and the pride they took in their job, whatever it might be.

Q. Right now, you live in the Philippines! How are you enjoying your life in Cebu?

A. With my love of sand and sea I feel at home in the Philippines which is home to some beautiful islands, beaches and waterways where you can enjoy swimming, diving and snorkelling. I've explored many such places already and look forward to seeing many more. Cebu is the second largest city in the Philippines and has most of the modern conveniences you would expect in a big city including many nice Japanese restaurants.

Q. What are you usually up to when you’re not teaching on Cafetalk? What are your hobbies and interests?

A. I have a passion for travel, having been to over 20 countries and I'm always looking for any excuse to hop on a plane and go somewhere new. As mentioned before, I love the sea and all types of water sports including swimming, surfing, snorkelling and diving. I play some guitar and like to listen to music especially 80s rock and pop music. I also like to watch movies and when I'm back in Australia you'll often find me on a golf course.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit more about your professional background? What got you into teaching, and what motivated you to keep pursuing this career?

A. I have quite a mixed work background. Although I am a TEFL certified teacher and have a lot of experience teaching English I have worked in a variety of industries such as finance, IT and hospitality. I find this mix of work experience is quite helpful to my teaching, especially for students focused on Business English, as I can share my real-life experience and knowledge chairing meetings and doing presentations at global investment banks and other diverse multinational companies. As far as motivation goes, I need look no further than my students who always keep me motivated and interested in helping them improve their skills and reach their goals in English language learning.

Q. Having spent over a decade in Japan, what do you think are some useful study methods for Japanese or other East Asian students?

A. I find a lot of Japanese and East Asian students have a solid background and fundamental knowledge of the English language, having often spent years studying it at school. However, this doesn't always translate into having confidence or skill in speaking or English conversation. A key is to build their confidence by creating a relaxed and supportive environment during lessons so that they can feel comfortable expressing themselves and most importantly comfortable making mistakes. It is from making mistakes that we really learn so students should not be fearful or worried about their mistakes, but look to learn from them and focus on building confidence and communicating their message as the most important part of communicating in English or any other language.

Q. A lot of students are probably curious about the atmosphere in your lessons. What can a student imagine a lesson with you to be like? What’s your teaching style?

A. I have a very patient, friendly and encouraging approach and teaching style. Students can expect a relaxed and supportive environment in my lessons as I believe this is the best way for them to learn and develop their language skills. In a relaxed and supportive environment, students can feel comfortable expressing themselves in English and this in turn builds their confidence in speaking and applying what they've learnt in lessons.

Q. Since you offer a variety of lessons, is there any lesson you can recommend in particular? Or can you give a quick overview of which lesson might be good for which type of student?

A. My All-In-One Lesson is my most popular one, which aims to give students practice and exposure to a variety of skills in the one lesson including listening, reading, speaking and learning new vocabulary. For more advanced students I would recommend my Listening Comprehension and Vocabulary Builder lesson. In this lesson I will send a YouTube video clip to the student in advance and ask them to listen to it. During the lesson we will study key vocabulary and I will ask questions about the video to test their listening comprehension skills. We finish the lesson with some discussion about the topic, allowing speaking and additional listening practice for the student. Finally, there is my Do-It-Yourself Fully customizable lesson in which I tailor the lesson content to the individual needs and interests of the student.

Q. Finally, would you like to leave a message for your current and future students?

A. It’s always a privilege and a pleasure giving lessons on Cafetalk. I’ve met some wonderful students and I thank them sincerely for taking my lessons and allowing me to help them learn and develop their language skills. And I look forward to meeting and speaking with many more students in the future and helping them achieve their goals and dreams in English language learning. I offer a free introductory consultation lesson to all new students so I encourage you to get in touch so we can discuss your individual needs and interests and how I can best help you achieve your goals and improve your English language skills.

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Jeffrey Flew


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