John Morrison helps students improve their spoken and written English at Embassy’s English school in Brighton. He plays a key part in “Bringing English to Life” activities designed to help students practise spoken English outside the classroom. We caught up with John to find out more about his life as an English language teacher and to get his top tips on how to improve your spoken English.
Firstly, a professional football player, then a journalist and finally, of course, a teacher. There are lots of teachers in my family, so “it’s in my blood”.
English and Media Studies at the University of Brighton.
No, I started my career in journalism and publishing. Previously, I had taught English to Italian students at University and remembered how “alive” teaching made me feel, so decided to change.
It’s the best job I’ve ever done. Every single day is different. I love that I help to influence students’ lives. There are just so many positives that make me feel good about this job.
The English Language course book is loaded onto the whiteboard system, so any exercises have the ability to be completely interactive. You can write on the board, watch videos, use TED talks and material from BBC iPlayer. I also use interactive apps for mobiles. My students absolutely love this – as they are learning with their phones!
Each week we focus on a particular topic – this could be anything from travel, to careers to politics. We then use this topic to focus on exercises that help improve speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. We focus on helping students improve their spoken English as much as possible.
Yes, these activities really help students speak English outside the classroom. For example, I recently set an assignment to interview local people in Brighton about the ghost stories of the area. Students recorded the interviews on their phones, then transcribed and summarised them. It’s fun, but it’s also a great way to learn and analyse your own voice speaking English.
Make friends with people from different nationalities! If I see a Korean and Turkish student become friends, I know there’s a good chance they’ll make progress. It’s important to speak English outside the classroom; if you only spend time with people from your own country, you won’t make as much progress.
Read free newspapers, watch TV, and listen to the radio and podcasts. If you’re staying with a host family, ask them 5 new questions each day to practise speaking. You could also join a gym. One of my students takes a Thai boxing class with native British speakers and he’s making great progress.
Coffee@33, (a great little coffee shop), the beach near Hove Lawns (because it’s a bit quieter) and a new restaurant in the South Lanes called 64 degrees.
Dinner! I’m really greedy.
“I really like John, my teacher. He is respectful, capable, and also a nice and dynamic person. He always tried to bring new things for us, to make the class more interesting, and was always available to answer our questions. The material we used I also enjoyed. I couldn’t ask for a better class.”
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