Get to Know: Joanna Watson

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‘NEVER be afraid to ask! In my mind there are NO stupid questions’

Could you tell us something about your early career in the language teaching sector?

I started my career as a primary school teacher before travelling to Kuwait with my husband, where I taught in a private primary school. I needed a challenge so I did my Prep Cert TEFLA at the British Council in Kuwait. I then returned to UK and spent 3 years working as a manager in community education with responsibility for ESOL. I joined my husband in Bahrain in 1993 and worked for the British Council, A couple of years later I moved to the Emirates, still working for the British Council; and later for Emirates Bank Group, where I developed a Business English programme.

I left Emirates in 2003 and came back to the UK where I worked for IH Newcastle, a Senior trainer with Northumbria Police then a Manager of the ESOL team Newcastle all between 2003 and 2007;. In 2007 went to work for IH Zurich for 3 years and on my return to the UK I went freelance.

I became an inspector for Eaquals in 2001, was a member of the Accreditation panel, became Director of Accreditations and hen was elected onto the board as an Eaquals Trustee. At the same time I also became an IH visitor and CELTA tutor. Purely on the language side I have been a volunteer tutor for ESOL and Literacy, a part-time English language teacher, a full time English language teacher. a senior teacher, an ADoS, a DoS and an Academic Director/Principal and loved every minute!

What big changes have you noticed in the language teaching field since you started?

The introduction of technology, the drive to improve teaching through provision of CPD

Why did you choose to get involved with an organisation like Eaquals?

I chose to get involved with Eaquals when I was working on the Business English programme for Emirates Bank Group as the programme was so successful my boss decided to go public with the courses. In order to do this we needed a quality mark for the product. We had ISO for all the training courses we offered but nothing specifically for language. I found out about Eaquals from one of my BC bosses and contacted them in 2000. We were inspected the same year and were successful. It was suggested that I should become an inspector which my boss agreed to and the rest is history. I have learned a lot and grown in confidence due to my work with Eaquals.

What new development in the field of language teaching interests/excites you the most?

As far as new developments go I am particularly interested in the increased awareness of differentiation in the classroom and the recognition of the value of CPD. I am becoming more aware of and interested in where technology is going to take us in the future. I am particularly interested in the growth of online courses and blended learning so I have taken an e-moderating curse with IH London and now I am doing an online tutor course with NILE

What advice would you give to a new teacher/trainer starting out in the language teaching sector?

My advice would be to take every development opportunity that arises; learn to share ideas and seek out ways to develop as a teacher and as a person and NEVER be afraid to ask! In my mind there are NO stupid questions.

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