born and educated in England, I studied, trained and taught in secondary schools in London before getting itchy feet. Travelling around the world in the late twentieth century I began to realise how privileged I was to be able to communicate in English. I would always make an effort to learn some basic phrases of the local language out of respect for the country I was travelling in and for my own personal satisfaction. But it was obvious that English, even if not spoken well, was a tremendous tool for making life a bit easier.
What makes me qualified to give advice about language learning?
You will come to your own conclusions about which of the following are the most relevant, perhaps it’s the combination of everything that gives me the experience necessary to advise people. My own late language learning experience and having tri-lingual children has very much shaped my ideas.
Some reasons why I have become an expert in teaching people how to acquire (I don’t like “learn” or “study”) language.
– I have a good university degree in Geography and History
– I have a post graduate certificate in Education
– I have several years experience in secondary school teaching
– I have taught new immigrant children from Bangladesh, Vietnam etc
– I have 25 years experience teaching English as a foreign language
– I have learnt two other languages to a competent level after the age of 30, almost without “studying”.
– I have seen how my own children have been brought up tri-lingual
– And I have seen, unfortunately, hundreds of people start to learn English, often on many occasions, but not reach an adequate level that allows communication
– I have seen very young children learn another language that is not their own native language
Better communication will help us improve this wonderful world a little bit more every day. There are an estimated one billion (1 000 000 000) people around the world who use English as a second language (ESL) or who are trying to learn English as a foreign language (EFL)