Meet Our NY Teachers
Brad Nield's dedication to the field of English as a Second Language is sometimes a seven-day-a-week commitment.
During the week he can be found in his classroom on the 16th floor of Rennert's New York school, teaching Level 2 in the morning and Intermediate Conversation in the afternoons. In the evenings and weekends he often leads group activities to destinations all over New York City, from kayaking in the East River to touring historical Staten Island.
Brad spends a lot of time listening to the students talk about their interests. He is always looking for ways of connecting students to New York City. On Sundays during the summer, he takes students kayaking (for free) on the Hudson River. Other tours Brad leads may include the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, one of the largest bird sanctuaries in the United States; Sakura Matsuri, the springtime cherry blossom festival at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden; historic Richmond Town in Staten Island, or Fort Tilden, a quiet little beach with a view of the Manhattan skyline. Brad also coordinates special economics courses for students at the Henry George School for Social Science and organizes "Focus on Film," a weekly film night at the school.
"Language is learned in context and the classroom is a limited context," Brad says. "Once you're out of the classroom you are learning language in a broader context."
Brad adds: "Students select the activities they want to participate in, so presumably they're learning the English language by doing things they are interested in."
Brad is a former restaurant owner with years of teaching experience in the U.S. and Honduras. He received his ESL teaching certificate from the New School and has taught immigrants ESL at a program at Riverside Church, as well as at a variety of other language schools. Brad has been at Rennert more than a decade. Over time, he has honed both his theories and his methods for teaching English. This makes him a very interesting person to talk to about language acquisition.
"Language is based on systems of sound," he says. "People need to incorporate the English sound system in order to be able to first understand it and then to reproduce it. From the word go I spend time helping students to develop that understanding. From there, the more complicated systems of language, for example grammatical, syntactical, can develop."
Brad is dedicated to helping every one of his students absorb as much understanding of the English language as possible.
"Every day I get up and go to work knowing that I will be in the company of an interesting, vital group of people -- students -- who have a lot in common and an achievable goal -- to learn English," he says. "It's hard work but it's very rewarding."