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NATIVE was opened by two Americans, brothers Geoffrey and Jason Blank, who hail from New York. By the will of fate they found themselves in Belarus in 2008, and now NATIVE is a little piece of New York culture right in the center of Minsk. With the help of the Brothers Blank you will learn the way English is really spoken in the streets and homes of America. This is the only school in Minsk where you can improve your conversational English.

NATIVE has been running in Minsk since 2013. Since that time, Geoffrey and Jason have taught English to hundreds of Belarusians, including IT specialists from EPAM, IBA, ITRANSITION, ITECHART, SOFTEQ, WARGAMING, and others, as well as freelancers, graphic artists, businessmen, bankers, logistics specialists, economists, accountants, doctors, dentists, lawyers, representatives of foreign companies, television hosts, pilots, professional athletes, musicians, engineers, teachers, college and high school students, and many others. Having gained a lot of experience teaching Russian-speakers, Geoffrey and Jason more or less know all the basic mistakes Belarusians make when speaking English.

Whatever goal you have set for yourself: 1) travel: 2) talk with foreigners; 3) get a high-paying job that requires knowledge of English; 4) negotiate with foreign partners; 5) talk with American clients; 6) attract American clients — NATIVE will help you.

If you work in IT, where the lion’s share of companies are in America, then, besides having an excellent knowledge of English, you really need to understand American culture in order to find a common language with your American partners. And although there exists the stereotype that Americans are always joking and smiling, in actuality, American culture is a lot more complicated. NATIVE is the only school in Minsk where you not only learn correct English, but also the mentality of Americans and English-speakers.

Teachers at NATIVE

Geoffrey Randolph Blank

Geoffrey Randolph Blank

Geoffrey finished his master’s in sociology at the City University of New York (CUNY) in 2007, after which he taught sociology at Brooklyn College for four years.

Geoffrey has been teaching English in Minsk since 2013. He works with intermediate, upper-intermediate, and advanced students. Geoffrey teaches those who really need to speak English well: be it a professional awaiting an assignment abroad, or a banker in charge of attracting foreign investment. His class is also ideal for a high school student who is preparing to study abroad.

Geoffrey has a passion for teaching. You will notice this as soon as you walk into his classroom and start participating in a lesson. Spending all his life in New York and holding various jobs, including motorman for the New York City subway, ocean lifeguard, paramedic on an ambulance, high school teacher, and college instructor, Geoffrey is ready to share his rich life experience with his students. Geoffrey is an interesting interlocutor and knowledgeable person, and he will challenge you to think and talk about controversial issues in English. Geoffrey teaches his students to speak naturally, and one of his most important tasks is to correct his students when they translate directly from Russian, use Russian turns of speech and constructions. It goes without saying that Geoffrey pays a lot of attention to correct pronunciation and intonation.

One of his passions is “Old English,” which was spoken in England before 1100 ad. In his free time he studies Old English, and according to Geoffrey, in order to really know modern English, one must study Old English. During his lessons, Geoffrey pays attention to the roots of words and the meanings of the roots. He encourages his students not simply to memorize the meanings of words, but to understand the words by their roots.

In addition to grammar and basic sentence-building, Geoffrey devotes a lot of time and attention to idioms and sayings used in everyday speech in America and English-speaking countries. In order to understand idioms and sayings, he always starts with the literal meaning before considering the cultural nuances.

Geoffrey will be glad to help anyone wishing to reach the “next level” start speaking like a native speaker and even thinking in English.

Jason Nathaniel Blank

Jason Nathaniel Blank

Jason finished his master’s in pedagogy at SUNY-Binghamton (State University of New York at Binghamton) in 2003, after which he taught mathematics for nine years at two colleges: New York City College of Technology and Borough of Manhattan Community College.

Jason has been teaching English in Minsk since 2013. He works with students at the “upper-beginner” and pre-intermediate level. Many of his students have studied English in the past without results. They have developed a language barrier as a result of an authoritarian, monotonous approach to teaching English in Belarusian high schools, and even in private schools. Sometimes these students come to their first class afraid to speak.

Jason creates a relaxed environment in his classroom in which students that have doubts about their language ability feel comfortable and are not afraid to make mistakes. It is, after all, impossible to learn a foreign language if you are afraid to speak. You can rest assured that in class you will be learning real and correct English from a native speaker who will draw you into the class discussion. You will notice that Jason makes you speak and participate, as if he were your language coach. Here you will not sit in the back of the classroom and be silent.

Unlike the typical English class, Jason chooses light and lively topics that are interesting to you. His method of teaching, which he calls “’LLL” (Learning Language through Laughter), underscores that English is not only necessary for serious business meetings and job interviews, but also no less important informal gatherings such as meetings with friends and parties. You are really speaking English when you can joke in English.

Jason points out that English is more than just grammar and rules. It is the way of thinking, the worldview, the mentality, the point of view, and the culture of a person who has been speaking English since birth. Every conversation with Jason reinforces this point, and after each class you will come away with knowledge that is no less important than basic grammar but necessary for gaining a good command of English.

Jason does not just teach a foreign language; he studies one himself. He is a student of Russian. After his first visit to Minsk in 2008, his appreciation for Russian became even greater, hearing real Russian on the streets of Minsk, and not the Russian you come across in Brighton Beach, New York. Back then he had a “crazy” idea to make a small contribution to the great Russian literature. In 2014, he achieved his goal: collaborating with his brother Geoffrey he wrote a book in Russian called “The Kingdom of Brotherhood.” You can buy “The Kingdom of Brotherhood” by the Brothers Blank at the bookstore “Svetoch,” which is located at 11 Pobediteley Prospect.

Jason sees himself as a bridge between Russian and English. He is a native speaker of English who knows Russian and Russian culture quite well. He will help you reach your goal! Study with Jason and start speaking English!

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