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About the Blogger

I’ve been involved in English Language Teaching since 1993, and have worked in Mongolia, Romania, Czech Republic, Hungary, South Africa, Malaysia and the UK. I’ve been a teacher, a director of studies, a teacher trainer, and a few other things as well. I spent about 15 years teaching and managing ESOL programmes in the Scottish Further Education sector before moving into Higher Education, as a lecturer in English Language and TESOL at the University of the West of Scotland.

I completed a Doctorate in Education (EdD) at the University of Glasgow. My current research interests relate to ESOL policy and migrant inclusion, ELT as a source of emancipation, and critical-emancipatory approaches to teacher education.

Any views I express on this blog are my own and don’t necessarily represent the views of my employers or other organisations I am associated with.

  1. Margaret Wilson permalink

    Hi Steve,

    Very interesting Blog on
    Changing Faces: Developments in ESOL in the West of Scotland since 2002

    Your blog hit home after reading “My previous experience had mostly been limited to teaching affluent, well-educated monolingual groups” I too can say the same after working in North Africa. I also had to agree with your statement “Funding cuts are also affecting community learning organisations, who are still working hard to improve the qualifications of their ESOL tutors. We have provided TESOL courses for a number of local councils, but it is increasingly difficult for them to be able to offer these opportunities to their staff”.

    This is particularly true in our organisation. I currently work at the Lodging House Mission in Glasgow; we run a service for mostly homeless and marginalized people in society. I started an ESOL program at the end of 2011 as we were seeing an increase in rough sleepers and asylum seekers coming to the mission. Over the past year I have been trying very hard to accommodate all different levels of learners as well as their diverse circumstances.

    Most of my students are waiting for college placements; however we have many that have intentions of seeking employment. We can only run two classes here at LHM as my job involves other forms of education development therefore this limits how much time can put into developing the ESOL programme. In addition to teaching the classes I am also offering other forms of support to the service users in areas such as housing, job seeking, health and other matters

    We have no funding for the classes and in addition have no funding for training although I am MA (TESOL) qualified we cannot offer SQA courses as we are not an accredited center. We would love the support from an FE college or other sources but there just doesn’t seem to be any? My students come and go throughout the year as they are only waiting until they can move on to better things, which is our goal. We mainly offer, help support, education and a place for students “be” until they can move on. However this can create many problems with course design and consistency.

    Any advice would be much appreciated as I am now trying to find my feet in the ESOL world of Scotland.


    Lodging House Mission

    • Hi Margaret,
      Thanks for your comment, and for explaining the difficult situation you’re currently working in.
      It’s certainly true that funding is tight all round and this is having a negative impact on ESOL provision across all sectors. There may be some scope for us to be a bit creative and work together though. Why don’t you contact me on my work email address – We currently have a few places on accredited ESOL courses, and we could perhaps look at further partnership working in the future.

  2. Amin permalink

    I’m glad to have found your blog here Steve. It is also nice to learn from you online, too 😉
    I still remember the Mongolian lesson we had.
    CELTA Class Jan 2012, KL

    • Hi Amin,
      Great to hear from you again – I hope all is well with you. Are you still in KL? It would be good to hear your news – contact me on Twitter if you like – @sbrowntweets .

      • Amin permalink

        Yes Steve. I am still in KL, teaching in a language centre.
        I will follow you on Twitter ^_^

  3. Amanda permalink

    Hi Steve, I love all the academic theorising but could you direct me to the *answers* – the things that work, teaching-wise, as I’d be MOST interested in that. I know that sounds sarcastic but, as a busy teacher, there’s a limit to how much I can read around the subject (and the same things come up time and again).

    The only things I’ve learned so far are to teach students using their interests and passions, to retain their attention, to have an amazing memory that knows what each student struggles with and what we’ve covered this term, so I can remind them, eliciting it from them, and repeating, repeating, repeating. For me, it’s all about teaching the individual. And in larger groups, I’m totally lost. And, no, I still don’t know why the perfect course structure hasn’t been produced yet!

    What works for you?

  4. dancingprincesses permalink

    Just emailed you Steve, hope of interest. Joel

    • Hi Joel,

      Thanks for this – I would very much like to be involved and I have sent you a reply.
      Best wishes,

  5. Patricia Millán permalink

    Hi Steve, my name is Patricia Millan from British Council Mexico. I would like to send you an invitation but I would like to ask your email account so we can send you the formal invitation letter.


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