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Alastair Lane


I’ve been working in ELT since 1996. In the beginning, I was a teacher working in Finland, Germany, Switzerland and the UK. I then worked as an editor for OUP from 2003 to 2006, before starting my freelance career. Since 2006, I have been based in Barcelona, where I now work developing materials for a range of different publishers. Like many people, I started teaching English abroad because I wanted to travel and to live in different countries, with all the challenges and excitement that that brings. Since then, I have really enjoyed meeting people from all around the world, and learning about their life experience. One of the joys of ELT for me is that as teachers, we’re always learning, and that means that every lesson is a new experience.

I’ve worked on a whole variety of different courses, from schoolbooks through to adult materials and I’m a regular contributor of articles to Modern English Teacher magazine. In addition to the books, I’ve also written lots of exercises for CD-ROMs and websites over the years. So, when your students are doing a quick online exercise, it’s possible that the anonymous author of it was me! I’m a big fan of the early ELT course books like Access to English and the Peter Viney courses Streamline and Grapevine. I would love to work on a colourful, heavily illustrated course like that.

My top tip for using Personal Best is……

A good way of learning vocabulary is to watch English-speaking films with the subtitles in English, not your own language. That way you can pause the screen to see the word in context (and hear the correct pronunciation too). You can watch the Learning Curve videos from Personal Best again with the subtitles on screen while you do the Extra Practice Activities online.


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