Our TESOL is designed to be as practical and relevant as possible

Ian Forth, Education lecturer TESOL & TEAL

Ian Forth co-ordinates the Masters programmes in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and Teaching English as an Additional Languageas well as the provision of language training for international students across the university.

Ian has carried out consultancies and teacher development assignments overseas for the British Council, the Department for International Development (DFID), as well as other Universities in the UK and abroad.  

I have worked in English Language education and Teacher Training internationally since the early eighties, combining academic interests with a commitment to classroom realties in various overseas contexts.  

With a degree in Linguistics and after a wet and windy stint at grape-picking in Bordeaux, I started language teaching in France and since then have been fortunate to work in Cyprus, Portugal, Syria, Algeria, and Peru among other countries.    

I have always had a continuing interest in the creative teaching of grammar (a contradiction to some!) and am currently interested in the design of effective language teaching materials and inter-cultural communication. 

I think the best thing about the TESOL profession is being able to combine a love of languages and communication with the opportunity to meet and work with people from all over the world.  

It is a profession that has loads of variety and diversity and rarely gets dull or predictable.   

I also think the people who teach modern languages are usually highly specialised individuals and very professional. It is always interesting to discover how and why they got into language teaching. 

With our TESOL programme, we have really tried to ensure that it is designed to be as practical and as relevant as possible to each individual. So, by focusing on course and materials design, we hope our programme will allow students to solve problems and questions that are relevant to their current contexts of work and which they want to ask. We want to ensure that all the modules will have a lasting professional relevance.  

Of course, we look at theories of language teaching but we also try to question how useful they are. We build into the programme lots of opportunities for individualised choices: what areas to tackle for assignments, what areas to research, what practical competencies to develop.  

We provide opportunities for practical teaching and trying out of ideas with learners, as well as the chance to observe language classes in the University and in schools and colleges in the area.