‘…once you have built up some experience and confidence, stay curious – keep experimenting in the classroom, be proactive and ask for and explore CPD opportunities, stay in touch with the latest thinking, and get connected to your profession, through associations like Eaquals and Iatefl.’
Josh Round has 20 years of professional experience in ELT as a teacher, a teacher trainer, and academic manager. He is Chair of LONDOSA, the DOS Association in London, and a member of the IATEFL LAM SIG Committee.
As Director of Studies at St Giles International London Central, he enjoys the process of quality management, and the challenge to continuously improve the teaching team, and develop himself.
He blogs from time to time on aspects of academic management at www.BetheDoS.wordpress.com
Could you tell us something about your early career in the language teaching sector?
I was speaking at an event recently to students on BA & MA TESOL degree courses, and I had to confess to them, that, unlike their well-chosen and carefully thought-out study direction, I was someone who started with a different dream and kind of fell into teaching! I actually started in a school which you could safely describe as dodgy – good material for advising these students on how to look out for establishments which should get their alarm bells ringing when job-hunting. Thankfully, I did end up in a proper school eventually – St George International in London – where I gained some great experience and where I was fortunate enough to be sponsored on their Trinity TESOL Diploma programme. I rose through the ranks at St Georges, becoming a teacher trainer on their Trinity TESOL courses, and going on to become the Director of Studies.
What big changes have you noticed in the language teaching field since you started?
I now work at St Giles International in central London and we take students on rolling enrolment ‘intensive’ courses. There haven’t really been that many big changes in this context over the last ten years or so; we still get a fantastic mix of nationalities, students who want to come here for both short and long-stay courses, with academic, work-related, and ‘experience-London’ goals. I think that what we have got better at over the years is how well we measure student progress, how effectively we cater to individual learning needs, and the provision we offer for learners with special learning differences.
Why did you choose to get involved with an organisation like Eaquals?
We felt that the Eaquals accreditation scheme poses more interesting challenges on the academic side of things, and this would give us an opportunity to measure how we are doing as well as to develop in this area. It also offers very good opportunities to get to know and collaborate with other quality language teaching organisations.
What new development in the field of language teaching interests/excites you the most?
I’m really interested in the potential for education research to have a growing impact on what we do, now that technology can capture and analyse massive amounts of data. We now have evidence for what works and what doesn’t work in the classroom, and I’m keen to see how I can use that to have a positive influence on the approaches and procedures we use at St Giles.
What advice would you give to a new teacher/trainer starting out in the language teaching sector?
Be a developing teacher. In other words, once you have built up some experience and confidence, stay curious – keep experimenting in the classroom, be proactive and ask for and explore CPD opportunities, stay in touch with the latest thinking, and get connected to your profession, through associations like Eaquals and Iatefl.