You can learn English for free with PEDAL, which stands for Practical English for Daily Living. The program offers free English classes for adult English language learners anywhere in the world. All you need is an internet connection and a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

The next PEDAL session begins on January 25, 2023.

Register Now!

PEDAL welcomes adult English language learners of all proficiency levels to join our twice-weekly Zoom classes, at no cost. Classes meet for 1.5 hours every Wednesday and Friday, and there are four different class levels to choose from:

  • Level 1 – Beginner (A1-A2)
  • Level 2 – Intermediate (B1-B2)
  • Level 3 – Advanced (B2-C1)
  • Level 4 – High Advanced (C2+)

Register Now!

Your PEDAL teachers are talented graduate students working on their master’s degrees in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at the Penn Graduate School of Education. You want to improve your English skills, and they want to improve their teaching skills — it’s a win-win.

About Us

Practical English for Daily Living — known as PEDAL — was established in August 2012 to foster community engagement through education and to provide our talented teachers-in-training with authentic contexts to develop their teaching skills.

Originally for friends and family members of Penn students, faculty, and staff, PEDAL expanded to the Free Library of Philadelphia in 2014 to allow any adult English language learners in Philadelphia to join and improve their English for free. Since March 2020, we have been able to expand even further and we now invite adult English language learners from all over the world to join our free virtual classes.

PEDAL lessons focus on the types of communication that English learners encounter when navigating daily life in and around Philadelphia and/or in online spaces with other English speakers.

Class Levels

The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for languages can be found here in 22 different languages.

Level 1 / Beginner — watch a lesson

Try Level 1 if you…

  • Can talk about familiar topics (weather, family, friends, self) in English
  • Use mostly basic words or short phrases to communicate in English
  • Find it difficult to speak English with and be understood by English speakers
  • Identify with the A1-A2 range of the CEFR

Level 2 — watch a lesson

Try Level 2 if you…

  • Feel comfortable having short conversations in English about familiar topics
  • Feel somewhat comfortable having short conversations in English about unfamiliar topics
  • Use full sentences and ask questions to start and continue conversations in English
  • Understand and use common vocabulary for general topics, like work, school, or daily life
  • Sometimes find it difficult to speak English with and be understood by other English speakers
  • Identify with the B1-B2 range of the CEFR.

Level 3 — watch a lesson

Try Level 3 if you…

  • Feel comfortable having longer conversations on new and familiar concrete topics, like those related to your social life, education, work, and interests) with other proficient English speakers
  • Understand and use a wide range of vocabulary for general and specialized topics
  • Usually understand and are understood by other proficient English speakers without great effort
  • Identify with the B2-C1 range of the CEFR.

Level 4 — watch a lesson

Try Level 4 if you…

  • Feel very comfortable and confident communicating in English about a wide range of abstract and concrete topics
  • Participate in spontaneous discussions and have strategies for negotiating meaning with others
  • Understand and use a very broad range of vocabulary for general and specialized topics
  • Understand and are understood by other proficient English speakers most of the time
  • Identify with the C2 range of the CEFR.

PEDAL Teachers (second year M.S. Ed. TESOL students at Penn GSE)

Level 1

Hsin-Jung (Cindy) Lin

Hsin-Jung (Cindy) Lin co-teaches the Level 1 Class at PEDAL with Zhiheng (Hilary) Wang. Before coming to Penn GSE, Cindy studied Communication and Leadership at Auburn University. She dreamed of becoming an English teacher since she was young. With her experience as an ESL learner and teacher, Cindy recognizes challenges for ESL/EFL learners, such as fear of speaking up, taking risks, or making mistakes. She would like to help those learners work through their difficulties step by step and build up confidence. In her free time, Cindy likes to watch Netflix, travel to different places, and spend time with her family and friends.

Zhiheng (Hilary) Wang

Zhiheng (Hilary) Wang co-teaches the Level 1 Class with Hsin-Jung (Cindy) Lin. Before coming to Penn GSE, Hilary studied economics, industrial relations, and human resources at the University of Toronto. As an ESL student, Hilary knows how difficult and challenging it might be for newcomers to learn the English language and adapt to western culture. Therefore, she is thrilled to help newcomers like her conquer the challenges they encounter along the way. In her free time, Hilary loves learning new sports and traveling around the world with family and friends.

Ying Shen

Ying Shen co-teaches the Level 1 Class with Zhongze (Miranda) Xia. Before coming to Penn GSE, Ying studied Journalism at Zhejiang Wanli University and Communication at Northern Illinois University. After studying on different exchanges in New Zealand, the Czech Republic, and the United States, Ying came to view English as a lingua franca and wanted to devote herself to English education in the hope of helping more people use the language as a bridge between cultures. Ying loves PEDAL's multicultural learning atmosphere and is looking forward to continuing teaching English in the spring of 2023. In her free time, Ying enjoys traveling and photography, and is learning the ukulele.

Zhongze (Miranda) Xia

Zhongze (Miranda) Xia co-teaches the Level 1 Class with Ying Shen. Before coming to Penn GSE, Miranda studied English Language and Literature at Nanjing University. Miranda understands how challenging learning a new language is and wishes to make it more effective, engaging, and enjoyable. She previously worked as a K-12 English instructor and an English teacher trainer at educational institutions in China and continues to participate various English tutoring projects. Miranda enjoys the diversity, possibility, and PEDAL classroom community, especially how every PEDAL student brings their linguistic and cultural repertoires into full play. In her free time, she likes to listen to music, play mobile games, and read romantic novels.

Level 2

Haoyu (Michelle) Zhang

Haoyu (Michelle) Zhang co-teaches the Level 2 Class with Wenhan (Jake) Zou. Before coming to Penn GSE, Michelle studied Communication Sciences and Disorders at Pennsylvania State University. She realizes that a great number of immigrants need to learn English, and she is passionate about language teaching. She previously worked as an assistant language teacher in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania for preschool kids and worked as an ESL teacher in an international high school in Shanghai for a semester. Michelle enjoys singing, dancing, and playing various musical instruments such as the piano and Erhu.

Wenhan (Jake) Zou

Wenhan (Jake) Zou co-teaches the Level 2 Class with Haoyu (Michelle) Zhang. Before coming to Penn GSE, Jake studied English Education at Guangzhou College, South China University of Technology. He understands that language provides access to both figurative and material resources, and language education makes social equity and mobility possible. He worked as an ESL tutor for elementary school kids in Guangzhou, and as a TOEFL instructor for six months in Shenzhen, China. In his free time, you can find Jake curled up home reading novels or waiting in line for BOBA.

Xiru Jian

Xiru Jian co-teaches the Level 2 Class with Jiangnan (Tiger) Wang. Before coming to Penn GSE, Xiru studied Education and Economics at University of Washington (Go Huskies!). Xiru is attracted to the field of education because she believes it’s a combination of creativity and integrity. She also aspires to help others through education. Previously, Xiru served as a volunteer teacher for a local Philadelphia community center. When she isn’t teaching, you can find her in theaters watching or helping to produce a show, at restaurants around the city, or in her bed binge-watching YouTube.

Jiangnan (Tiger) Wang

Jiangnan (Tiger) Wang co-teaches the Level 2 class with Xiru Jian. Tiger studied history, education studies, and TESOL at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While completing his bachelor’s degree in Madison, Tiger taught English at various language institutes and non-profit organizations to adult learners from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. He believes that each learner is a unique individual who brings into the classroom their stories and knowledge and actively co-constructs the learning discourse with the teacher. In his free time, Tiger likes doing workouts, listening to music, and playing video games.

Level 3

Qifan Wang

Qifan Wang co-teachers the Level 3 Class with Tianyi (William) Xia. Before coming to Penn GSE, Qifan studied Psychology, Linguistics, and Italian Studies at Emory University. He believes that learning is what makes us human, and language is one of the best ways to learn from different cultures. He was a volunteer teacher for refugees and immigrants to the US from diverse backgrounds. When Qifan isn’t teaching, he enjoys practicing xiao (a traditional Chinese flute), doing sitting mediation, and watching anime.

Tianyi (William) Xia

Tianyi (William) Xia co-teaches the Level 3 Class with Qifan Wang. William studied History, Chinese Literature, and Economics at University of California, Davis and Interdisciplinary Studies at New York University. He believes that language is the key to how an individual views the world. William once served as a volunteer teacher in History and Geography in a small town partially destroyed by the Great Sichuan Earthquake. He also tutored Mandarin Chinese at UC Davis. In his free time, William enjoys taking road -trips, reading historical archives, watching Woody Allen films and Japanese anime, and playing piano.

Shanruo (Sherry) Zhang

Shanruo (Sherry) Zhang co-teaches the Level 3 Class with Jing Xue. Before coming to Penn GSE, Sherry studied Early Childhood Education at Boston University. She believes that languages are keys to the world, and language teachers are the ones who bring life-changing opportunities to their learners. As an undergraduate, Sherry worked with young children from newly immigrated families, which inspired her to pursue a career in English language teaching. In her free time, Sherry loves traveling (especially road trips) and trying out food from different places.

Jing Xue

Jing Xue co-teaches the Level 3 Class with Shanruo (Sherry) Zhang. Jing studied English Language and Literature and Japanese at Central South University in China. Jing previously instructed Chinese junior high students in critical reading and writing and taught first-year English majors in China. At Penn GSE, Jing co-taught community ESL classes to adult learners. These teaching practices prompted her to think about how she can be sensitive to learning needs that emerge from different learning groups and contexts. She wants to create an environment favorable for effective learning to take place. In her free time, Jing likes reading, cooking, and taking long walks alone.

Level 4

Hannah Lukow

Hannah Lukow teaches the Level 4 class at PEDAL. After studying English and French at Davidson College, Hannah became a language teacher in central Japan, first at a French-English bilingual kindergarten, and later in a public elementary and junior high school. At Penn GSE, Hannah has worked with adult learners new to Philadelphia. Viewing knowledge as power, Hannah views English class as an opportunity to try on new ways of communicating and relating to others. Hannah’s classes are driven by students’ goals, interests, dreams, and experiences. Outside the classroom, Hannah enjoys identifying new birds, playing the cello, and cooking for friends.

PEDAL Leadership Team

Iryna Kozlova

Dr. Iryna Kozlova is a Lecturer of Educational Practice at Penn GSE in the Educational Linguistics Division and serves as the Faculty Advisor for PEDAL. You can read more about Dr. Kozlova’s research here.

Hannah Brenneman

Hannah Brenneman is the Associate Director of Fieldwork & Service Learning for the Penn GSE Educational Linguistics Division and is the PEDAL Program Coordinator. Brenneman is a 2015 alumna of the Penn GSE M.S. Ed. TESOL program. She began teaching for PEDAL in 2013. Brenneman helps manage all aspects of the PEDAL program, from marketing and student registration to teacher hiring and training.

Our Community Partners

Penn GSE Educational Linguistics Division

The Philadelphia Office of Children and Families

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English learning resources [link to external Canvas page, Scholarly Commons, or other hosting site]

Teacher-training resources [link to external Canvas page, Scholarly Commons, or other hosting site]



What is PEDAL?

  • An English language program developed for all adult English language learners to find community and improve their everyday English skills. See our About section for more information.

Who are these classes for?

  • Any adult English language learner (17 years or older) who has access to Wi-Fi, a smartphone, tablet, or computer, and a Zoom account.
  • Classes are designed for novice, intermediate, advanced, and high-advanced speakers of English. Visit the Class Levels page for more information about each level.

*Penn students, scholars, or faculty are not eligible to attend PEDAL and PEDAL does not provide visa sponsorship.

How much do these classes cost?

  • All classes are offered for free.

How many classes can a student attend?

  • Students can attend two classes per week for one level (one Wednesday, one Friday).
  • Students who attend the 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. class section cannot also attend the 8:00 p.m. -9:30 p.m. class section.
  • Students cannot attend different levels each week. For example, you cannot attend the Level 3 class on Wednesdays and the Level 4 class on Fridays.

Who are the teachers?

  • PEDAL teachers are experienced instructors of English who are currently students in the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) M.S.Ed. program at the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education. The program is supervised by a Penn GSE faculty member and the PEDAL Program Coordinator. Visit The PEDAL Team for more information about the PEDAL Team. 

How do I register?

  • Register online here: [insert registration link]

When are classes held?

  • Levels 1-4 are held on Mondays & Wednesdays from 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. ET
  • Levels 1-3 have an additional evening section on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:00 p.m. -9:30 p.m. This class section is reserved for students learning from faraway time zones (e.g., the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Oceania)

*Note that the United States observes the end of Daylight Saving Time on Sunday, November 6, 2022. Check for time change. 

Where are classes held?

  • All classes are held on Zoom until further notice

Contact Us

Hannah Brenneman
Associate Director of Fieldwork and Service Learning
Penn GSE Educational Linguistics Division

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