Our authors are all highly trained professionals in the teaching and training field and have years of experience in classrooms across the world. This experience feeds into their writing ensuring that their materials are based directly on the reality of the language classroom. See below to find out more about them all, both inside and outside the classroom!
After graduating with an MA in French and Linguistics from the University of Edinburgh, I had a brief spell of teaching English in France before returning to the UK and taking up a job as a trainee lexicographer. I worked with dictionaries as a writer and editor for around twenty years, specialising in ELT and children's dictionaries. I am also co-author of the Oxford Dictionary of Reference and Allusion, an area of language that has always fascinated me. After so many years of focusing on the intricacies of lexis and grammar, I decided to branch out into writing more general ELT materials. With this in mind, I retrained as an ELT teacher and spent five years working in a language school in the UK to gain some up-to-date classroom experience. I now write a range of ELT materials, including teachers' books, grammar reference and practice, workbooks and tests.
Twenty eight years teaching and it feels like yesterday I was at school studying. I can see myself looking at my teachers back in Liverpool. (When the Beatles where playing in the Cavern!) Wow! Time flies… but hopefully not in vain..
Actually if I'd been looking at my French and German teachers I would have been thinking "I don't understand!" or "What's all this about?". I used to really panic in their classes and didn't learn very much. I was considered a failure at languages! But I don't think it was lack of interest on my part as I went on to dedicate half my life to travelling and living in other countries.
Or even the ability to learn languages as I learnt Spanish much later in life. I take part of the responsibility: it was probably aptitude! I wasn't the best of language learners and that's where the system let me down because that's really all it catered for: rewarding the best and giving up on the rest! Mind you I have a lot to thank them for too as in a perverse way it informed me as a teacher. When I started teaching I had a natural affinity with the strugglers (perhaps the majority) who don't find learning a foreign language easy.
Working in different countries, Sweden, Greece, England, Italy and Spain has confirmed my belief that there are a lot of us out there. That's what I learned and that's why I teach and that has spilled into my material writing too!
Brendan began teaching twenty years ago and trained as a primary teacher at Roehampton Institute in London. He has been based in Barcelona since the mid 1990’s and currently teaches at the British Council. Although a primary specialist, he’s taught all levels during his time in Spain and also teaches at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya.
He is responsible for setting up the British Council’s Young Learners’ library in Barcelona, which he ran for nine years before starting to work as a coursebook writer. He’s particularly interested in children’s stories and developing literacy. Having studied music, he is also a keen advocate of using singing in language learning.
Brendan has also given numerous talks, workshops and teacher training courses in Spain and abroad. He is the co-author of the Richmond courses Lighthouse and Beep and has also written several titles in the Richmond Primary Readers series.
When I completed my degree in languages I went to the Sudan as a volunteer where I enjoyed teaching English so much (despite my inexperience and the complete lack of materials) that on my return to the UK, I trained to teach EFL and ESL while working in London. After a few years I was drawn to South America to brush up my Spanish and worked for 5 years teaching adults at the British Council in Quito. From there I spent a year in the then USSR, in the Ukraine (though I was briefly evacuated to Moscow when Chernobyl exploded).
Feeling it was time for a safer job and a change in career, I retrained as an Early Years and Montessori teacher and settled in England for a few years. As my Spanish was getting rusty I then moved to Mexico, I thought for a year, but ended up staying for 17 years. I lived first in Mérida, where I taught adults and children and did some teacher training and translation.
There I discovered and made good use of the Kinder Steps series and was delighted when I discovered that the author, Becky Williams was a colleague when I began working at Greengates International School in Mexico City. She encouraged me to put my experience into print and that’s how I can! came into being. Since 2008 I have been living in Oxfordshire and working as a nursery teacher in term time and a homestay English tutor during the holidays. I plan to teach abroad again when my family have left home and would love to write more materials when a suitable project comes up.