To teach... and to coach

This is a talk for teachers who want successful students, not just successful lessons.

Do you find it strange that so much of the focus in our profession is on teaching techniques and classroom activities, and so little attention is paid to learning techniques and out-of-class English practice? After all, learners spend only a small proportion of their lives in English class, while away from us they now have more opportunities and resources than ever before to meet with English in their everyday lives in ways that are meaningful, practical, and varied. So shouldn’t we be spending more time thinking about how students can learn better when we aren’t around?

As teachers we rarely cross the bridge between what our learners do in their own time and what they do with us. But as coaches we can begin to explore the learning potential in their everyday lives. We can guide them in using the resources to hand. We can get them organised as learners. We can monitor their motivation and support them when motivation flags. We can do these things so that they practise more. As teachers we can make our learners’ English language lessons a success. As coaches we can make their English language lives a success. I hope I can convince you to cross that bridge.


About the lecturer

When Daniel Barber saw an advertisement for a job in Mexico in 1993, he never dreamed it would lead him to a career in English language teaching. Back then the romance of travel, not professional advancement, lead him from Windsor in Britain to the city of Puebla. But he enjoyed teaching, got on with his students, and became interested in the mystery of learning. Twenty-three years on, having taught people from all over the world, both young children and old adults, English for business and pleasure, and he’s still teaching.

He is also a teacher trainer on the Trinity Diploma in TESOL, participates in teacher development events such as this one and writes materials for a number of publishers, including Macmillan, Cengage and Richmond Publishers. He lives in Cádiz in the south of Spain, where, away from the classroom, he spends time with his family (two children, one dog), and sometimes goes running on the beach. His interest in what people do to learn English led him to start a blog with a friend, Duncan Foord: They wrote a book about it, too, called From English Teacher to Learner Coach.