How long have we known each other?
Erm...good question! I..I can't remember now.
'cos (because) we started at the same time here, didn't we?
Yeah...It must have been about..er..15 years ago, then, I suppose.
'97, was it?
September '97...so yeah, we've know each other about 16 years...
16 years...quite a long time, no?
It has been a long time.
Time has flown by, hasn't it?
It certainly has. What's the...er....what's the best thing about
being a teacher?
The best thing about being a teacher? Good question. Erm...I think...well,
for me the best thing about being a teacher is being able to work with
people, and being able to work with interesting people who want to learn
about our culture, and..erm..and...erm...being able to help them with
their learning. That's er...
Do you think we should include culture as we're...as we're teaching,
or..or just teach the language?
Erm..no, obviously..erm..language and culture are...are intrinsic, if
that's the right word, and...erm...they come...they go together. So..erm..I
think culture's very import...a very important part of language teaching
and language learning.
It's...erm..it's..it's being with nice people...and...and helping them
learn. I mean, I...I used to love learning myself, and I still do. And
so it's nice to be able to help other people do the same.
We've both been teaching for years, do you still get the satisfaction
that you did at the beginning when you teach something that works and
the students...erm...you can see at the end of the lesson that the
students have learned something. Do you get that...that sense of
achievement? I still do, when...on the rare occasions that my lessons
work! Do you get that, or over the years has it...?
No, I think teaching never becomes boring, as long as you evolve and
keep trying out new things, then...erm...then that same sense of
satisfaction continues all the time. And...erm...and I do try and evolve
and try and do new things, so...
I think that's important.
What advice would you give Spanish speakers who are trying to learn
Erm...well, they have to...obviously just studying in the class isn't
enough, erm...a lot of...a large part of learning a language is what you
do out of the class.
That's exactly what Martin said!
And..erm... I always say one...and..erm..obviously watching videos is
fantastic, watching the television in..in English is fantastic, and..erm....but
a lot of people think that that's enough and then they fo..and then they...they
think that...and then they don't do enough reading, for example. And I
think..erm..reading newspapers or magazines on the internet is very
important, but also very important is to...erm..read novels, I think...erm..graded
novels if you're...if you're, y'know a lower level, or up to inter..upper
intermediate to First Certificate level. And..erm..reading novels on a
very regular basis, so you're having a pleasurable experience with
reading. Erm...I think is essential.
Do you think we're fighting a losing battle in some respects, because
with the video age and instant..erm..access to multi-media...Do you
think reading is something that we...that students aren't doing as much
and we have to push that more?
It is something that students aren't doing as much, but I don't think
we're fighting a losing battle. I think the more...erm..technology that
we are surrounded by all the time, the more people tend to reject that
technology as well, and...and...and look for other things to do that are
not related to technology. And so...erm...reading fo.....books is one of
those things that people can do. Obviously, now with the...with the...with
the iBook and the Kindle..erm..you might say that that's technology
related, but...it is, but it's still reading. So, no I don't think we're
fighting a losing battle, I think, y'know, reading has its place and
will always have its place.
I..I'm pleased to hear you say that. That's very encouraging.
Erm...do you have any favourite apps that you use on your phone, on your
iPad that you want to share?
Well, erm...I...I when I first got my phone I downloaded a lot of apps
and...but then now I've had my phone for two years now and...and now I
hardly use any of them at all...I find...
....I find most of them are boring and..and have a very short kind of
lifespan. Erm...one...one app which I continue to use and have used
about a year now is...is..er..Scrabble...well not Scrabble, it's called
Word Feud where you can play Scrabble with other friends, and...and I
continue to use that all the time.
Do you play Scrabble, the board game, still or has this replaced what
you used to do with...
Well I...I never played Scrabble really, so I wouldn't say it's replaced.
It's just added an extra dimension to my life, I suppose...if you could
say that. It's...Itr's a nice thing to do, you can do it anywhere...you
can do it when you're sitting on the bus, or if you're waiting for
something to happen you can take your phone out and...and make a word.
Do you think it's...it's a way to improve vocabulary? Should students
be looking at that?
Well, absolutely. I think...erm...students could..erm...they could...theycould
set up a game with each other and...and play in English, and then that's
a good way of practicing English, definitely, yes.
That's a good tip. How's...how's technology affected the way you
teach? There seems to be this constant push of..., we have to use more
technology in the classroom...How do you think it's affected the way we
do our jobs?
Well, obviously in this school we have...erm...technology has been kind
of pushed on us to a certain extent with computers and the electronic
white board, and...erm...I don't think it's been particularly negative.
People can choose how much or how little to use it. And...erm...So,
in...on the whole I think..erm..it...it's helped us..erm..for example,...erm...in
teaching, one of the main things, probably one of the main differences
is..erm..for example listenings. Before we had to use a tape recorder,
You had to cue it up....
....you had to cue it up before the lesson and find...and find the right
place, and then...and then when it got to the end you had to rewind it
exactly to the same place again, and that would take time.
....and hope the tape hadn't got stretched!
...exactly, yeah. Whereas, now yo...you press a button and...and it
plays and you can repeat again, and it almost seems too easy!
It does! And you can slow it down if they have problems understanding
the normal speed of it.
That's right, and another thing which I...which I use a lot now is
Google images, for example, and...erm...
What do you use those for?
Well, if a piece of vocabulary comes up in the class that's difficult to
explain, then you can often type it in to Google images and...and
suddenly you have a lot of images. For example, somebody asked me the
other day..er...what is 'household goods'? And..erm..I didn't really
know how to explain it properly, so I typed it into Google images and
Oh that's a good....that's a good idea.
...and then we had lots of that...so that's...
I use Google sometimes, there might be a preposition they ask me about,
a dependant preposition, and they say is it 'for' or is it 'to', is it....?
So, I type the word...erm...the two possibilities or three possibilities
in Google and you see how...number...the number of hits that come up for
it...the most popular preposition will be the one that's most used.
Ok, that's a good idea.
I use that quite a lot, especially for prepositions.
Ok. So you use it as a kind of corpus?
Exactly, exactly. Written English, of course, it wouldn't be spoken.
How has technology affected the way students learn?
Well, I mean...ok..in...erm...the teaching process, for example, as you
were saying...the...erm...students can bring their iPads into the
classroom, and that's great, as notebooks. And also I as a teacher, I
use an iPad to take notes about my students, as well.
Do you do that in the classroom?
During the lesson?
Yes, and I...and I find it...it's far more efficient and more
comfortable than...erm...using a pen and paper.
But that doesn't go up on the IWB, though?
It could do. I have...I have done it with Dropbox, I have uploaded the
file to Dropbox and then showed the file on....
In real time in the classroom?
Yes. And...erm...but also if I just have a few lines which I've written
down, like for example if I'm listening to students teaching, then...erm...I
will take notes on the iPad and then just use that as a..and then copy
what I've written onto the IWB. And it's just more comfortable and
easier to read...and....and also I have that information for the next
time I want, y'know, if I want to recap on something at a later date.
Wh...what note-taking app do you use? Do you use the iPad note-book?
It's called iWrite, iWriter. It's a very simple program but it's very
What do you like.....Do you like it's simplicity?
Yeah, and the typewriter has..erm..different things, for example you
can...you don't have to use the magnifying glass t..to...to put the
cursor in different places, you have arrows to move the cursor around.
And it's the only app on the iPad which does that.
How is it different to iWord? iWord's a word processing...
Well, you have to...the curs....it's just very, very simple...
...and it's designed for writing, it's got no gimmicks, and it's...erm...and
it's exactly what you need for note-taking.
I shall try it.
Ok. good. And...erm..the other thing, of course, for students...erm...How
has technology helped students learn? Well,..erm...to start with they've
got...erm..now they, if they want listening...have listening practice,
they can just go to the BBC website and...and there's thousands of
videos they can listen to, and...erm...which is a fantastic resource for
practising their English, and...and just the huge amount of stuff that's
on the Internet, all written in English, with visuals and sound...erm...and
also a lot of actually the language learning related websites as well,
which...where they can practise their vocabulary and their grammar and
things like that.
And...and also with their little smart phones they can use apps, like
flashcard apps, and..erm...to learn vocabulary. Erm...I have one called
Mental Case, which is a little bit expensive but very good.
Jonathan, if you had 6,000 euros to spend on yourself, what would you
Erm...ok, what would I buy?..erm..it depends, if it was 6,000 euros..erm...the
first thing that came into my mind was a roof for my van. A lift-up roof
so that...erm...I could drive my van....
For your camper-van....
Yeah, my camper van so I could...erm...so that I could go camping and I
wouldn't have to pitch a tent every time I go to a campsite. could just
push the roof up and...and sleep upstairs.
Ok. thank you very much.