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Embassy Teachers 26 August 2015 - by Jess Ward

Tips to practise your spoken English: John Morrison


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.

Meet the Teacher - Tips to improve your spoken English

“Every single day is different. I love that I help to influence students’ lives.”

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

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”.

What did you study at University?

English and Media Studies at the University of Brighton.

Have you always been an English teacher?

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.

What do you enjoy about teaching English?

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.

How do Interactive whiteboards help students improve?

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!

Can you describe an Embassy English class?

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.

Can you tell me about “Bringing English to Life” activities?

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.

Any tips for students to improve their spoken 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.

How else can students make 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.

What are you 3 favourite places in Brighton?

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.

Finally, what’s your favourite word in the English language?

Dinner! I’m really greedy.


What John’s students say about him:

“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.”


Would you like to improve your English and be able to speak clearly and with confidence? Find out how our English Language Courses at Brighton can help you improve.

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