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I was Teaching Resources Manager at the English Language Centre, Hove, from January 1991 to November 1996, when a fast-moving car jumped a STOP sign, knocking me off my moped and finishing my career.

The post involved general English Language teaching, maintaining the materials on the main intensive course, building up the self-access centre and supervising daily self-study sessions open to all our students.


The English Language Centre in Brighton & Hove first opened its doors in 1962 and I first taught at the school in summer 1978. From January 1991, in addition to general class teaching, I managed the ELC's first self-access centre open to all the school's students after their formal classes.

Rapid developments in educational technology meant that I had to procure new equipment for both the students and for resources management. Within a few years, schools exchanged machines such as the 64 K BBC Microcomputer for IBM-compatible PCs offering audio capabilities extending beyond the production of short bleeps.

My first English language teaching appointment was in 1973 in a boys' secondary school located in Tiaret, Algeria - a gateway to the Sahara Desert. I was recruited by Voluntary Service Overseas under the auspices of the British Council to work for the Algerian Ministry of Education, which had an ambitious plan to promote English to take the place of French as the principal European language for educational development.

The post in Tiaret was an interesting one, because many of my Algerian pupils were barely literate in any language and depended on spoken Arabic (Berber) dialect for their communication needs. There was little scope for writing on the blackboard or use of translation, since basic literacy teaching would have been impossible with so many pupils and we did not share a common language in which to translate. These limitations necessitated "a direct method approach" i.e. teaching oral English through oral English alone.

The 1970s saw significant developments in language teaching methodology. The training of teachers and curriculum developers gave added emphasis to the role of applied linguistics in language learning and teaching. Required reading now extended beyond phonetics, transformational grammar and grading and sequencing items for structurally-based language syllabuses to areas such as stylistic analysis, discourse function and semantics.

Speech Act theory was about to be popularized and applied to language teaching and course books adopting what came to be termed the Notional Functional approach were about to appear [see The Teacher's Book for Building Strategies, Brian Abbs and Ingrid Freebairn, Longman 1979].

The real advance in the 1980s and 1990s, was neither in the shambles that has come to be known as CLT [Communicative Language Teaching] nor in the fashion to dress up every piece of learning as a behavioural objective or task to be analysed ad infinitum.

By the time my teaching career came to an end in 1996, learner independence had really taken off and the advent of the Internet meant that a growing population of learners with home computers, based all around the world, could access reading and listening comprehension materials (e.g. newspapers and BBC radio broadcasts) from their homes. I was interested to discover that many teachers were producing special web sites to provide English language learners with new distance learning opportunities. Some sites (e.g. The Internel TESL Journal) maintain lists of resources, linking learners to web sites covering more aspects of English language learning than most teachers know!

I started my own site while recuperating in my parents' home from the collision which nearly cost me my life. During this four-year attempt to gain sufficient independence to return to my own home, it was important for my own self-respect that all the training and experience of previous years did not go to waste. Following a 4-week residential pain management course in 1998 at Unsted Park Hospital Godalming Surrey, where participants were encouraged to set themselves targets, I managed to teach myself sufficient HTML to design basic web pages. I received encouragement from the editor of the Internet TESL Journal, who invited me to submit quizzes and suggested ways I could improve the design of my web pages.

I already had fairly recent material to upload to my site since I had written First Time In England [ my graded reader for beginners ] and Prepare for Discussion [ a suite of materials for higher-level learners including themed crosswords ] during 1997. The need to reduce the clutter I had hoarded since the early 1970s gave new urgency to the task of reviewing all the materials I had collected as both learner and teacher. This offered scope for web pages on Teacher Training & TEFL methodology.


Education and employment

Sep.69-Jul.72

London University External

B.A. Eng, Econ & Fr.

Sep.72-Jul.73

Berkshire College of Education

PGCE Junior/Middle Distinction

Sep.73-Jul.74

Lycée Polyvalent, Tiaret, ALGERIA (14-19 age range)

EFL Teacher recruited by Voluntary Service Overseas

Sep.74-Jul.75

Oxford College of Further Education

Lecturer in English & Mathematics to Pre-nurses

Sep.75-Jul.77

Mayfield Middle School, Walton-on-T.

Head of French

Jun.78-Sep.80

The English Language Centre, Hove

TEFL for varying periods

Sep.80-Jul.82

Fagersta AB Steelworks, Fagersta, SWEDEN

TEFL/ESP and Cambridge courses Dip RSA TEFL

Sep.83-Sep.86

ELC, Hove

TEFL

 

Swedish Folk High School

Varying periods on Pensioners' Courses.

Sep.84-Jul.86

London University Birkbeck College

M.A. in Second Lang. Learning and Teaching

Jan.87-Jun.87

INISEL Group (Electronics Company) Madrid, SPAIN

TEFL/ESP

Jun.87-Dec.91

ELC, Hove

TEFL

Jan.91-Nov.96

ELC, Hove

Teaching Resources Manager (Main Intensive Course)

Ted Power August 2017


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