English for Speakers
of Other Languages

One area of English teaching
I really enjoy is ESOL.

Part of the reason may be that
since leaving Chesterfield
to go to university,
I myself have been in a
similar situation many times.

I don't like to go to another
country and feel lost for words.

I don't like not being able to read
road signs or shop names
or advertising hoardings
or billboards.

My experience as a language learner

When I got to Saudi Arabia,
I was driven around Riyadh
in the school bus,
along with the other new teachers.
I was absolutely fascinated
by the exotic Arabic script.
It was everywhere I looked -
on the front of buildings,
on street signs,
on huge neon billboards.

I immediately wanted to start
learning to read Arabic
(even if I didn't always
know what it said).

(Actually, the first word
I deciphered was "Sony".
No prizes for guessing
how that came about!)

The same thing happened
when I went to Thailand,
and I even got hold of a
Linguaphone course
and started learning Thai.

Even though I lived there
for only 16 months in 1995-6,
I can still remember
quite a bit of the script
(very useful sometimes
for reading menus
and occasionally
shampoo bottles).

It happened again, when I
went to teach
in Myanmar (Burma).
The fascinating script
caught my imagination -
all those little circles
bumping into one another -
and I went on to design
some Burmese TrueType fonts
(the ICMyanmar family).
Originally they were only
for my own use,
but eventually they were
adopted by the local
British Council,
as well as by hundreds
of my private students.

To cut a long story short,
I can really empathise
with non-native users of English,
and that gives me a great insight
into what is hard for them.
It also helps me to find ways
of making their learning
more effective - and often more fun.

I can work with individuals
or with groups -
contact me for more details.

Another website

I also have a website for foreign students
who want to improve their English for exam purposes.
Particularly useful for IELTS
(the International English Language Testing System)
and Cambridge exams such as FCE, CAE and CPE,
click here to go to the I.C.Excellence English teaching website.