Professional English Class: Alexandra helps her students communicate professionally and confidently

Alexandra Covell teaches MLC’s Professional English Class online. She enjoys seeing students develop their communication skills and self-confidence significantly throughout each session. 

MLC instructor, Alexandra Covell

The Professional English course consists of five sessions, each focusing on cross-cultural communication, speaking up with confidence, delivering presentations, navigating difficult conversations, and developing digital skills. A variety of countries are represented in the class, including Japan, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Germany, Ukraine, Libya, Saudi Arabia, India, China, and South Korea. The students also come from a diverse range of professional backgrounds.

“There is something wonderful about this class: it has a great dynamic! The students are always engaged and learn a lot from each other. They love sharing success stories in class, such as giving negative feedback, disagreeing in meetings, or simply making small talk at work. It’s rewarding to see how students apply learning to their professional lives. I can see how confident students are now that they have learned different communication styles across cultures and how they can put them into practice,“ Alexandra said.

Even students who already have a high level of English proficiency find the Professional English class content and experience very valuable. (1) (2) (3) (4)
“Despite their high level of English proficiency, many of them find it difficult to communicate professionally because of their different communication styles. It took them some time to realize how much impact understanding the differences between high context and low context cultures can have on their professional communication. Most of them said they were unaware of it or had never thought about it until they took the class.”

  1. Interview with Professional English Class student EZ, a business professional
  2. Interview with Professional English Class student Yoshi, a psychologist
  3. Interview with Professional English Class student Alex, an architect
  4. Interview with Professional English Class student Rafael, a physician
Alexandra, the front right, at a Professional English Class student’s farewell party.

Alexandra has also noticed how students’ mindsets have changed. “They used to think that they couldn’t be understood because of their accent. But now they know that having a clear pronunciation is important. Through the Color Vowel Chart, Flipgrid recording, and some apps, we practice prosody — things like intonation, rhythm, and stress patterns. Also, they learned that communication is all about understanding your audience. When you’re presenting, participating in work meetings, or writing an email, think about your audience — where are they from? What’s their culture and background? Do they understand the jargon or idiom you use? Being culturally aware is key to effective communication.”

Students benefit from learning about cultural awareness, according to Alexandra. “To effectively communicate, you must understand and adapt to the nuances of different cultures.”

As an experienced instructor, Alexandra has her own philosophy about communication. “Communication is more than just sending messages to another person. It is more complex. Communication is like a sport because everyone has their own style. Some people communicate like bowlers, waiting for their turn to speak, while others “steal” the ball like in a basketball game and jump into a conversation. You need to be self-aware and understand cross-cultural aspects if you want to communicate confidently as a professional.”

MLC offers Professional English Class Online every session. Please click here for more information about the class.

To read more stories from our Professional English students, please click here.

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