Patricia Dawn Severenuk

Chief Curriculum Coordinator

Hello! My name is Dawn, and I'm an English-language teaching professional who helps keep communication and processes on the move. Over the past fifteen years, I've worked with hundreds of students and companies to help them improve their communication and make their dreams come true. I've got extensive job experience working in various sectors in Canada and Europe, and I've been told by my clients that I am efficient, friendly, and I'm able to cut through the "extra stuff" to identify problems and give people the solutions that they really need.


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Greetings, Maite! 

Most students like you, who have studied English for a long time, usually feel pretty confident when they speak English, but their study skills and language organization could use a little help. This is especially true for people who are working in English and need the First - how does a person organize the English they have with the English they need for First and for work?

This course is designed to help people who are like you: people who know that their language skills are strong enough to pass the First Certificate, but they might have two or three specific problems (listening and vocabulary, or writing with grammar). Perhaps they used to speak really good English at one point in time, but don't feel confident now, and think that a goal could help them. Or maybe it's just that having that certificate that says, "Cambridge First" will help open more doors professionally.


In this course, we'll go over how to:

  • use different techniques to learn, practice and use the new words and expressions you learn
  • apply the grammar and vocabulary you've already learned to business and real-life situations, so you can "use it like a native". 
  • think about how to adapt your language to specific people and specific situations. Remember: In English, you can say just about anything to anybody...IF you know how to do it!
  • manage phrasal verbs and other "chunks" of language (and not just rely on individual pieces!)
  • think about information as IDEAS, not just as words - so that Use of English and Writing are easier (and more useful in real life.)


Your course will include:

  • Class notes - everything you need to complete the course will be available online. (No need to buy any books!)
  • Online support - all of your questions answered in 24 hours or less!
  • YouTube videos which review the most important points in each module
  • A student-supported Wiki

It's worth noting that, even though the reading part of the Cambridge First is not a mandatory part, students who have done the reading have found that their reading and vocabulary skills have improved a lot. This year, we've got a GREAT book - one of my personal favourites: The Perfect Storm, by Sebastian Junger. (I know - the movie wasn't particularly good, but the book is much better because it gives a lot more detail into the lives of all the people's not just about a big, dangerous storm.) If you want to improve your reading and vocabulary skills, I'd strongly suggest trying the book! It's available at the Casa del Libro on Gran Vía for about €7.


  1. Don't forget to read and do the Terms and Conditions document (which explains things like payment and cancellation policies), if you haven't done so already. Every student must read and complete this form before starting class.
  2. PLAN: Think ahead to where you want to be, six months from now. It's not possible to speak "perfect" English in six months (what does that mean, anyway??). You will feel more relaxed and more satisfied if you set yourself realistic goals that you can achieve with regular practice. 
  3. PREPARE: Learning is easier if you use CREAM strategies - if you are creative, reflective, organized, active and motivated. What does all that mean? This presentation will help explain how to incorporate this into your learning.
  4. PURGE:  Go through your notebooks from your old English classes, your old textbooks, any extra paper that you've got - and throw out anything that you're not using. Get rid of it. If you haven't used it up until now, you'll probably never use it.
  5. Think about the ways that have helped you learn English in the past (or things that have NOT been helpful. What has worked? What hasn't worked? What are the things that you really enjoy when you learn and what are the topics (such as grammar or writing) that really need more attention? .

The class does not have any formal assessment criteria, although we can do pop quizzes and review materials, if you like.


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