Here comes summer

March 26, 2009

Hello again,

According to Language Travel Magazine, summer-course organizers are not fearful of being hit by the recession: “Summer vacation courses are vital to our industry and underpin the year-round activity of most private EFL schools,” affirms Tony Evans...

And what to lose in 2009

December 31, 2008

Hello again,
Surely we all hate clichés, but if this is true why do they seem to have such a long shelf life? Sorry but once you start thinking this way, the clichés...

What happened in 2008 (2)

Hello again,

The last day of the year once more. And the general air of gloom and doom is hard to escape. It occurred to me that the way the Internet allows people from all parts of the globe to connect with each other means that the suffering of regions, no matter...

What happened in 2008 (1)

December 30, 2008

Hello again,
With many countries facing economic instability, the mobility of international students is showing some signs of ...

Surviving recession

October 10, 2008

Hello again,

English language teaching is unlikely to escape unscathed from global recession. Schools will be worrying...

English language students beware

September 30, 2008

Hello again,

The international banking sector is in turmoil. That can’t affect you or me, surely. Think again. In the intricate world of global business, nobody is...

Career prospects in ELT

August 31, 2008

Hello again,

The perennial question concerning career prospects in ELT has been raised yet again in a forum. To answer the question, I think we need to take...

When government intervenes

January 30, 2008

Hello again,

In the UK the ESOL debacle continues. First we had an ESOL syllabus and courses offered free to qualifying students who needed to pass specific tests in English in ...

Issues and challenges: competition

September 14, 2007

Hello again,

I raised concerns about teacher training earlier this week. Now I want to consider the competition among Anglophone countries to attract students for English...

Issues and challenges: teacher training

September 11, 2007

Hello again,
I thought I would try to spark off a debate about some of what I feel are key issues and challenges for the future of English language teaching. I want to start with teacher training ...

Agents, schools and the future of language tourism

September 07, 2007

Hello again.

This week in London the annual Study World agents workshop took place in London. Such fairs are a regular feature...

Politicizing ESOL

September 03, 2007

Hello again,

ESOL in the UK is in a pretty pickle. It has become a political issue that is being handled in the most incompetent manner. First came ...

The impact of exams

August 10, 2007

Hello again,

Most schools run exam classes; students looking to enter universities or proving their competence to employers are keen to pass ...

Them and Us

July 10, 2007

Hello again,

I have been wondering how to make high-quality English language teaching available to more...

Accelerated learning

June 30, 2007

Hello again,

Do you think it is a trendy fad or a serious approach?...

Is online teaching a threat to schools?

April 09, 2007

Hello again,

In theory the Internet frees teachers to set up as independents and have the world at large as a market. I certainly know...

Language learning theories

October 12, 2006

Do we need new learning theories for English as a lingua franca?

Hello again,
Is it just my imagination or do teachers today spend less time weighing the relative advantages of language learning theories, preferring to rely on their own intuition for what works best with their learners? I raise this question because...

Catching them young

June 16, 2006

At what age can childen start learning a second language?

Hello again,
In recent years there has been a meteoric rise in teaching English to young learners. One report reveals that in Japan some parents expose their children to some form of English from the age of eighteen months. While it might be advantageous to children to start learning foreign languages...

Welcome Brenda to ESL School!

February 24, 2006

Greetings ESL experts,

Allow me to say thanks to Jake for his introduction of me and for giving me the honor or presenting to you the newest member of the ESLemployment team, Brenda Townsend Hall, PhD.

For those of you who might be unfamiliar with her work, Dr. Townsend Hall is a communications consultant trainer and course designer. Now, she’ll be blogging for ESL School and writing for the ESL Expert newsletter. She offers face-to-face and distance training in the fields of interpersonal communications, business English, written communications and cross-cultural awareness. She also has runs a distance-learning training course, Teach Business English, for teachers wishing to enter the field of business English . . .

Is English Language Teaching a Real Career?

January 17, 2006

Recently I was talking about careers to a group of university students. For most of them English language teaching was perceived as a short-term means of seeing the world before coming back to find a “real career”.

I started thinking about my own life in English language teaching and have to admit that at first I did just fall into it rather than make a conscious career choice. I needed to be in a certain place at a certain time and it was the work that was available and for which I had the right background . . .

Ring out the Old, Ring in the New

December 29, 2005

Here we are at the end of 2005. As usual, the year seems to have flown by; it doesn’t seem as if already we are six years into the new millennium!

The ESL Industry: Them and Us

November 24, 2005

It seems counterproductive to me for employers and teachers to see each other as sitting on opposite sides of the fence.


Of course there are bad employers and there are bad teachers. The one needs to be able to recognize and jettison the other: teachers should not stay with bad employers and schools should not keep bad teachers on. But then we do not live in an ideal world and most employers, and most teachers, have strengths and weaknesses . . .

The Future of ESL Is . . .

October 20, 2005

I am still thinking about the importance of looking ahead and planning for students' future needs.

Planning For ESL's Future

October 18, 2005

I wonder how schools teaching English today plan for the future. Indeed how far ahead can we realistically look when thinking of the demand for English teaching?

The Internet for ESL Schools

October 13, 2005

I have been wondering how schools use the Internet now that it has become such a fundamental feature of our lives.

Globalization and ELT

September 27, 2005

I'd be interested to hear what readers think are the main reasons for students learning English nowadays. Of course, English has been seen for many decades as an asset when it comes to finding a job. This was especially true for nationals of countries that had a thriving tourist industry. But the increasing globalization of business seems to me have changed the way we use English in workplaces.

An acronym by any other name

June 04, 2005

Hello again. I don't know about you but I loathe acronyms. Yes, I know they have a convenience factor but they also seem to me to be potentially sinister, redolent of George Orwell's Newspeak. Our field has its fair share of them and woe betide anyone who uses one wrongly. Never, for example, say ESL or TESL when you mean ESOL or TESOL. Why? because you might unwittingly insult a learner by referring to ESL (English as a second language) when the learner might be a speaker of several languages with English some way down the pecking order: it is politically more correct to refer to English for speakers of other languages (ESOL). So important has this distinction become that the heavy hand of officialdom in the UK now requires people seeking British citizenship to demonstrate that they have at least ESOL Entry Level 3 from the national "skills for life" curriculum (strange distinction, after all we hardly need "skills for death"). Exam boards now dutifully provide ESOL qualifications that seem to have eclipsed the old EFL certificates, making English as a foreign language somehow less relevant.

What is the content of your lessons?

May 19, 2005

Hello again. I am interested in knowing what guidance schools give their teachers about the content of their lessons. As English language teaching gains ground globally, I think students know why they want to learn the language (it gives them a distinct advantage in educational and employment fields) and teachers know why they want to teach it (opportunity to travel, see the world, meet many different people, the reward of being effective in the classroom, etc.) But do students and teachers know what content they want lessons to have?

What will students want?

April 10, 2005

Sometimes we get so caught up in the day-to-day issues of running a school that we forget to think ahead. Does that happen to you? In today's dynamic world, though, I think we really have to keep an eye on trends to ensure continued success. I came across this interesting report recently that gives some clues about how we should be organizing for the future.

English Teaching Professional magazine has published results of a survey of teachers in over 110 countries on their opinions on the future of English language teaching. Sixty-six percent of teachers thought there would be an increase in the importance of English as a global language over the next ten years and over 80 percent thought that the numbers of students would increase accordingly.