I have presented on various topics at a number of international conferences and events. Below are a selection of the talks and workshops I have given.
If you would like me to give a presentation at an event you are organising, please contact me.
Designing the life you want may involve major decisions such as moving to a new country, changing your career direction and seeking out new and meaningful relationships with others. Although these are some of the steps I've taken to achieve the life I want, it's important to ensure that each person's decisions balance and fit with the life they want.
In this talk, I show how the decisions I made in various stages of my life helped me to craft the lifestyle I desired, and I identify three key lessons I've learned about being the architect of your own life.
How is teaching one-to-one different from teaching groups? What is it that makes one-to-one teaching effective? How can you ensure that your needs analysis provides you with the right kind of information to enable you to design a coherent course? Where can you get your teaching materials? Which teaching techniques work best in one-to-one teaching scenarios? What methods of delivery are available? And how can you effectively give feedback to your one-to-one students?
Whether you are new to one-to-one teaching or you are a seasoned expert looking for inspiration, this workshop will give you answers to these questions.
The skills that business people need in the modern workplace are becoming ever more demanding. A knowledge of English is no longer sufficient to be able to function effectively on the global business stage; people also need good business skills, soft skills and intercultural skills. But how do we accurately identify which skills to work on and how do we provide opportunities for our learners to develop them?
In this talk I present an approach for making sense of the complexity of skills which learners need to develop and give tips on how to integrate several skills into one task.
- How many different techniques do you use for giving feedback to your students?
- Are you the one primarily giving the feedback or do you encourage fellow students to do it?
- If fellow students do it, do they tend to limit their feedback to general comments?
In this talk, I present a non-threatening student-centred technique which encourages higher level, constructive feedback on students’ performance from their peers. This technique helps to reduce the load for the teacher, increase the quality of feedback to the students and ultimately reinforce the feeling of mutual respect in the classroom.
As a keen advocate of equality in ELT, I have had articles published on this topic both online and in print and I also gave an interview for TEFL Equity Advocates in 2015.
In my print article, Native speaker teachers only, a head-to-head debate in the March-April 2016 issue of Business Spotlight magazine, I argue in favour of private language schools adopting a more flexible approach towards the employment of non-native English speaking teachers (NNESTs).
In my talk, I give six key reasons why employing a diverse range of teachers is good business practice for language schools. My talk is, however, not only aimed at language school owners. I hope to reach out to both NNESTs and NESTs to highlight the unfair (and illegal) discrimination that is going on in the ELT industry today, with the hope that they will be motivated to do something about it in their own local teaching contexts.
Recently, I coached a manager of a large German company through his leadership of a global virtual team. In being invited to take part in my client's regular online meetings, I was fortunate enough to be able to experience first hand some of the challenges he faced and was therefore better equipped to help him deal with them. Since the meetings were recorded, I was also able to collect and analyse a databank of language used by non-native speakers of English doing business in real time.
In this talk, I share some of the techniques I used in coaching my client and also highlight some of the language and strategies used by L2 speakers in today's virtual workplace.
Images are particularly useful for presenting and practising vocabulary when teaching English for Specific Purposes. In this workshop I demonstrate how I've effectively used images to help students learn lexis for their work in the automotive industry, the consumer retail industry and for general vocabulary-building.
Are you a technophobe or a technophile?
Whatever your relationship with technology, there's no denying that it plays an important role in both business and business training today. In the modern workplace, virtual communication platforms are commonplace, and in business training, blended learning models are becoming more popular, since they can incorporate video, audio and interactive exercises, while enabling course participants to learn in a more flexible manner.
In this workshop, I look at some of the technologies which business English trainers can use to provide their clients with a more modern approach to training. I also consider what it means to be “digitally literate” in the 21st century and examine some of the pitfalls to avoid when implementing technology in our training.
In this workshop, I share 10 practical, useful and relatively easy-to-prepare activities that business English trainers can immediately use with their learners. The activities are suitable for both one-to-one and group courses, for pre- and in-service learners and for a range of levels.
The activities practise the four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing, the business skills of presenting, negotiating, socialising and summarising and the language development skills of building vocabulary and reinforcing structures.
Workshop participants have the opportunity to discuss the effectiveness of the activities and can also share their own favourite activities if they wish.
How many different techniques do you use for giving feedback on your students’ presentations?
Are you the one primarily giving the feedback or do you encourage fellow students to do it?
If fellow students do it, do they tend to limit their feedback to comments such as “I thought it was good” or “He looked very nervous”?
In this workshop, we look at some non-threatening student-centred techniques which encourage higher level, constructive feedback on students’ presentations from their peers. These techniques help to:
- reduce the load for the trainer
- increase the quality of feedback to the students and
- reinforce the feeling of mutual respect in the training room.
In this talk I demonstrate how to use small, lightweight video cameras to develop students’ speaking skills. Taking examples from my own teaching, I show how simple it is to make videoing students part of a teacher’s toolkit. This talk is also of interest to teacher trainers wishing to highlight aspects of trainee teaching practice.
How do you differentiate yourself from other business English trainers in your region? How much thought have you given to the product you are selling? What is your long-term strategy for your training career?
In this talk I give pointers to help business English trainers find the answers to these and similar questions. I discuss how freelance trainers can apply corporate principles to their “business”, drawing parallels between terminology from the business world (marketing, strategy, PR, R&D, etc.) and the “business” of being a freelance trainer. I demonstrate how trainers can develop their brand in order to differentiate themselves from the competition, thus enabling them to charge premium training fees.
I have used the social media platform Ning with both my corporate clients and my university classes. In this talk I show and explain how I used Ning to complement the delivery of these courses. The talk looks at the pedagogical and organizational aspects of incorporating such a platform into business English groups.
I show how I used this social media platform to promote learner autonomy and student self-reflection by demonstrating how I used the platform to do the following:
- extend discussions out of class
- give feedback
- upload videos (including student videos)
- link to resources
- upload course documentation and handouts
- store vocabulary and grammar
- develop collegiality among students
This talk is aimed at freelance and self-employed trainers who wish to expand their customer base through their website. I explain why I think it is necessary from a marketing perspective to have your own website; how to go about setting one up, including some do’s and don’ts of website design; and finally (and perhaps most crucially) how to make Google like your site, which in turn allows potential customers to find you.
I also touch on other things you can do with your website, for example incorporating a blog into it. Having a website does much to increase your professional image as a trainer and you don’t have to be a technophile to be able to get one set up.