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Heads up 1 A2-B1


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I came kicking and screaming to an ELT job in Italy, more than 30 years ago. I had little intention of making a long term career of it, and considered it as little more than a stop gap while I decided what I really wanted to do in life. I had graduated in Modern Languages and European Studies so my first step was to do a Celta course, mainly because it would give me the chance to travel, the teaching was to be able to pay for it. Yet, I gradually fell in love with the opportunities ELT work gave me over the years, in both Italy and France, from courses with children, teenagers and adults in schools and universities, to teacher training in those institutions. Work in multinational companies has always been a regular feature of my timetable. Who can boast as much variety as ours when we're able to work and coach professionals in business associations and enterprises, and give and take from such a wide scope of life? My work as a Speaking Examiner for Cambridge English Main Suite and Business Exams as well as that of an IELTS Writing and Speaking Examiner based at Milan's British Council has been both rewarding and challenging. Through the Council I've had the chance to further my qualifications: Delta, York Associates "Developing People Internationally". While undoubtedly appreciating the improvements ELT materials have made over the years, my urge to adapt materials to my students' needs is a constant in every course I teach. Awareness and sensitivity, increasing motivation and creating a sense of fun in my classes is what gives me a buzz. The opportunity to collaborate with two great colleagues in writing these books for Delta has made me realize that the love affair still goes on. I managed to sandwich a degree in English Literature and History in Southampton between various travelling adventures around the world in the early and mid 90s. This was followed by different jobs in the London area including a 5 year stint as an IT Consultant. A fear of housing prices and a hatred of rain drove my wife and I to do CELTAs and head for sunnier climes. The result was years spent teaching in Indonesia, Mexico and Taiwan where I managed to teach most levels, flavours and varieties of ELT. Suddenly I have found myself in Northern Italy for 10 years - specializing in Business English and ESOL Exams (IELTS and Cambridge) - working both independently and with the British Council as well as teaching at the University of Bocconi in Milan. Having co-authored Heads Up with the wonderful Mark Tulip and Louise Green, an MA TESOL in progress, further teaching experiences and two growing kids I find myself pleasantly surprised with life and a rewarding and genuinely fulfilling career in ELT. After my experience as a comprehensive school teacher in East Sussex in the 1970s I decided to follow up on the IH preparatory course I'd completed in the summer holidays and escape to Andalucia and the relative calm of IH Cordoba. A B.Phil Ed. TEFL from Birmingham University quickly followed and for the next thirty years or so English language teaching has taken me to Denmark, Slovenia, Oman and Italy as well as the occasional summer at the ELC in Hove. Soon after arriving in Italy I learned to drive and noticed that in the course of the lessons I rapidly went from A1 to B1 in the language in order to achieve the task and avoid life-threatening situations. An enthusiasm for Task Based Learning was further developed during several years of responsibility for English language training in a multinational in Milan where I started writing ELT materials. The latest of these: Heads Up - Spoken English for Business has strong elements of TBL, student centred learning and a recognition of Dogme ELT which I believe can offer a lot to company courses in the right doses. I've also taught English in universities abroad and faced the daunting task of helping large classes improve their spoken English with assigned communicative methodology texts. Colleagues and I are currently working on how the new technologies can help us best approach these classes.

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