Reactions to the Crimean referendum

Unsurprisingly, the Crimean referendum resulted in a landslide victory for those wishing to leave Ukraine and join Russia. The incredibly high turnout reflects the fact that this wasn’t just a vote for another politician who probably isn’t going to make any real difference. Instead, it is a vote for the future of the region, and … Continue reading Reactions to the Crimean referendum

Crimea, from a Brit who lives there

When I arrived in Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula, my friends and family didn’t really know where it was. Now, everyone does. Over the past two weeks it has become the focus of intense media attention as troops have surrounded key strategic sites, ships have blockaded Sevastopol Bay, and politicians in Europe, America and Russia … Continue reading Crimea, from a Brit who lives there

Adding movement to online lessons (guest post)

My friend Olga Stolbova posted these suggestions on facebook a couple of days ago, and agreed to share them on my blog. Thanks Olga! Some simple tips on how to add more movement to your online classes. These are some of the things I do and they work for kids and adults. 1. What do … Continue reading Adding movement to online lessons (guest post)

11 things (again)

1. Acknowledge the nominating bloggers/2. Share 11 facts about yourself Clare Fielder recently nominated me to take part in the ’11 things’ blog challenge which she wants to revive. I originally shared my facts in December 2013 but I liked Clare’s questions so have decided to answer them here. I’ve also nominated a few more people to answer … Continue reading 11 things (again)

Making the most of blogs (Innovate ELT 2016)

On 6th and 7th May 2016 I attended the Innovate ELT conference in Barcelona, jointly organised by ELTjam and OxfordTEFL. The conference started with three short plenary sessions, and in a change from the traditional conference format, anybody could apply to be a plenary speaker, in much the same way as you would for a workshop, rather … Continue reading Making the most of blogs (Innovate ELT 2016)

Rethinking the visual, again

Last summer I had the immense pleasure of meeting and working with M, a nine year old from St. Petersburg who spends her summers in Sevastopol. I decided to blog about her classes because I found it very difficult to find information about how to teach a 121 class with a young learner who was … Continue reading Rethinking the visual, again

Reflections on a year of CELTA training

For the last year I’ve been CELTA training around the world. Here is a collection of random thoughts about what the CELTA does and doesn’t do, and what being a trainer has taught me. What the CELTA does Improves the confidence of trainees Even those who are particularly shy at the beginning of the course are … Continue reading Reflections on a year of CELTA training

Life-changing sentences

Have you thought about going to Durham? The place: The careers department of my school, which was also where all the university prospectuses were kept The person: Mr. Scotto, the careers advisor The background: When I was trying to choose a university, I didn’t even know that Durham had one. My knowledge of the north-east pretty much stopped … Continue reading Life-changing sentences

Four CELTAs (OR Excuses for not blogging)

The last five months have been pretty busy. Here’s what I’ve been doing. (You can click on any of the collages to see larger images.) 28th July-19th August Train to be a CELTA tutor The place: Sevastopol, Crimea The trainees: 9 Russian native speakers; 8 women, 1 man; early 20s-mid 30s The tutors: two Russians … Continue reading Four CELTAs (OR Excuses for not blogging)

I wish I had time to write on my blog at the moment…

…but I don’t! Things I want to write about… the 6 month anniversary of the Crimean referendum (yesterday) the many many many many things I’ve learnt in the last year (I arrived in Sevastopol on 20th September 2013) the process of training to become a CELTA tutor being a CELTA tutor (it’s day 3 of … Continue reading I wish I had time to write on my blog at the moment…

Rethinking the visual: week six

This is part of a series of blogposts about my lessons with M, a very enthusiastic nine-year-old girl. She is a pleasure to speak to, and knows a lot of English. She’s also almost completely blind. Each lesson is one hour, one-to-one, at her house. On Monday M’s mum phoned the school and asked if I could … Continue reading Rethinking the visual: week six

How I’m learning Russian (part two)

At the start of May I wrote about my Russian lessons and what I was and wasn’t doing at home to further my learning. To finish the post, I made a commitment to study Russian for ten minutes every day and gave a list of activities I would try. So what happened? Planning and recording About … Continue reading How I’m learning Russian (part two)

Conversations this week

What we’ve talked about in class this week, in no particular order: Blackadder The Norman Conquest Time Team Tony Robinson Castles Victory Day Crimea, Russia and Ukraine Sevastopol Sailing Windsurfing Yacht clubs Revenge Red Dwarf Maid Marian and her Merry Men Economics The transition to the rouble Newcastle Postcrossing Types of hamster Stray dogs The … Continue reading Conversations this week

Victory Day, 9th May 2014, Sevastopol

At the end of April, these stickers started to appear on public transport across the city. Then a couple of brand new trolley buses appeared on the streets. This minibus too… All of the advertising in the city centre was replaced with images of war veterans, accompanied by their names and a paragraph about them, every poster showcasing … Continue reading Victory Day, 9th May 2014, Sevastopol

How I’m learning Russian

I’d hate to have me as a student. I very rarely do homework, so much so that my teacher has given up setting it for me. I cancel about one lesson in four, normally the one on a Saturday. I’ve recently moved it to a Thursday in the hope that I’ll be more likely to … Continue reading How I’m learning Russian

CELTA at IH Sevastopol

What is CELTA? CELTA stands for ‘Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults’. It is a four-week full-time initial teacher training course, designed to introduce you to the basics of teaching English as a foreign language. It is suitable for native English speakers, and non-natives who have achieved an English level of at least C1 … Continue reading CELTA at IH Sevastopol

The eve of the referendum

I went for a walk in the local park today. I saw this in the distance. It joined its friend. I don’t know where they’re from, but I’d be surprised if they’re not Russian. They’re outside the entrance to Sevastopol harbour. They join this ship, which has been inside the harbour for at least a … Continue reading The eve of the referendum

About me

Nice to meet you, and thanks for visiting my blog! Here’s a (rather long!) biography in case you’re wondering who writes this stuff: I’ve been freelancing since October 2021 so please do get in touch if you’d like to book a workshop or arrange consultancy or mentoring. You might also like to register for my … Continue reading About me