I developed an interest in language and linguistics early in life. Even as a child, I found the idea of communicating with sounds and written words fascinating, especially when I heard people speaking other languages.
Early in my career as an English as a second language (ESL) instructor, I was very fortunate to work as instructional and materials director at a private language school in Brazil. They gave me a great deal of creative freedom to guide teachers and create the instructional materials lacking in textbooks.
I was also a student of languages early on. I have lived in Belgium and Germany for a year, where I attended college courses in Dutch and German. Learning these languages was humbling because I experienced firsthand what my ESL students went through. I realized that acquiring a new language requires more than just a textbook and an instructor. To truly understand and use a language, you use it in different social contexts. And that takes a great deal of motivation, time, and effort.
After college, I wanted to understand more about language acquisition and learning. I earned a doctoral degree in human development (developmental psychology). My dissertation explored syntactical and phonological cues in stereotyped perceptions of Spanish-accented speakers.
I worked at a large public school system for over a decade researching and evaluating mostly reading programs and bilingual programs. Thanks to my graduate training, I have also taught statistics and research methodology.
I have been teaching college-level English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) for 20 years or so (reading, writing, and listening and speaking). I have also taught developmental writing to non-ESOL students. Serving students from very distinct walks of life, backgrounds, and proficiency levels teaches me something new every day.
I am also a content creator. Initially, I started the Snap Language channel on YouTube to post videos for my students. The channel very quickly evolved into a channel about language and linguistics serving a broader demographic.
After Snap Language became a rather popular channel, I created Snap Language Learner to target English-language learners exclusively.
I also maintain the Snap Language website. The idea is to integrate lessons, videos, and practice materials. This way, you can watch a video on YouTube and follow up with more information on the website before you forget what you learned. Similarly, you can learn a lesson on the website and watch the accompanying video, which is hosted on YouTube.