System & Device Check
About the Class
Dr. Nellie Deutsch in conversation with Iain McInally
Dr. Nellie Deutsch
About Iain McInally
“I imagine everyone tends to teach in the way they would like to be taught and I think the trick is to try to be able to transfer yourself into as many other pairs of shoes as possible, rather than to get everyone else to fit into yours.”
When Iain McInally took up his first teaching job after graduating in 1979, he imagined that it would be just a short chapter in his experience. As it turned out, it ended up being most of the book. Curiosity about the wide spectrum that encompasses so many differing approaches and methods in language teaching, led Iain to delve deeper and wider into this field. "One thing that surprised me was the degree of ideological or emotional attachment to ways of teaching among proponents -- lots of rights and wrongs and goods and bads. Maybe it happens in other fields too - maybe some Pilates instructors go around feeling offended by aerobics or aqua-gym and try to discredit them: I don't know.”
Having taught in Rome and London, Iain went to Verona, Italy with his partner Monica, where they still live with their two teenage sons. “I was teaching privately but the number of students kept growing, so at a certain point, we said well- why not?”
The change from teacher to school-founder pushed his interest in teaching a few steps further. "It had always been important to me to do as well as I could in each lesson, but with the greater responsibility of running a school I needed to have a wider perspective -- it was more than just about lessons or courses, it was about people investing possibly years of their time and effort in something that, whether they liked it or not, was something that could significantly affect their lives - of course one priority was to try and make sure that they did like it. But at the same time I’ve always been guided by the notion of effectiveness. ‘Results’ – not so simple to define, of course – can be more of a priority for learners than for teachers.” And so started what later became SpeakYourMind.
After the best part of 20 years of ongoing development with schools in Italy, Spain and Japan, Iain's work is now reaching a wider audience. "As more schools in different countries started adopting SpeakYourMind it's given us a wider pool for trial and feedback and we’re at a stage now where we really can say that the programme has stood the test and we can move things forward in a more proactive way. There's been a very long incubation period, that's for sure.
SpeakYourMind is now used at independent language schools in 9 countries – a number due to increase very shortly.
Get in touch with Iain
About Dr. Nellie Deutsch
Nellie holds a Doctor of Education (Ed.D) in educational leadership specializing in curriculum & instruction and is an E-Learning Professional Development Specialist.
She is the founder of Integrating Technology for Active Lifelong Learning (IT4ALL), an online informal network of volunteers that provides free and low-cost professional development workshops for educators around the world. The hands-on workshops help teachers learn to integrate technology into blended and fully online classes for private and public courses.
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