Home / Correcting English language mistakes

Mistakes Polish students make with English


I’ve been back living and working in Poland as an ESL teacher for just under 3 months now. Originally, I completed a 360 hours TEFL qualification from the Institute of Ireland in 2016 and +200 hour observed teacher training. Since then I have successfully worked primarily in Eastern Europe, Poland: Krakow, Poznan and Katowice. For me Poland is like a home from home. Teaching English as a foreign language to Polish students is a natural process and it’s no exception when my students are children.


The characteristics that build upon the Montessori Method of Education enable me to make observations during each school day. As a result, I have noticed that Polish young learners have similarities when it comes to mistakes. For example, the pronunciation of the letter ‘E’ in English ‘EEE’ and ‘I’ in English ‘EYE’ is one that I have corrected with activities involving spelling out new vocabulary orally in order to break down the sound of each letter.

  1. PASSIVE VOICE – Irregular verbs such as ‘WAS’ and ‘WERE’ should be clear for Polish students because it is the past tense of the verb to be.
  2. English ARTICLES – The rule for ‘A’, ‘AN’ and ‘THE’.
  3. A big grammar topic is TENSES – There are x5 tenses: x2 past, x1 present and x2 future.
  4. SINCE / FOR – mixed up by Polish students because they only have one word for it.
  5. Pronunciation error ‘TH’ – In the Polish language they don’t have it. My 15 minute one-to-one conversations with young learners is a great teaching tool for picking out pronunciation errors.


Solo art exhibition

In other news, I recently had a solo exhibition of a new project of observational pen and ink drawings I made on location, winter 2018/2019 in the province of Upper Silesia, Poland. It was at the Silesia Bazaar festival as part of the congress 4 Design Days in Katowice, MCK and Spodek, January 2019. This provided me with a lot of exposure for my work while acting as a great incentive and inspiration for workshop activities which I have hosted for students on the theme of architecture, drawing and photography. I am influenced by the industrial heritage and interwar modernist architecture as I go through neighbouring cities. Being inspired in the past and today. Living in Katowice I encounter many more examples of the very strong regional identity, language and culture which I continue to document and appreciate.

Read a great article about Common Mistakes TEFL teachers make here.

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