I started my teaching career in Kenya and have since worked in Germany, Sweden, New Zealand and the UK, in private schools, primary schools, colleges, universities, people’s front rooms and all kinds of work places.
I have had the pleasure of working with multilingual children, disgruntled teenagers, emergency rescue teams, weary factory workers, eccentric senior citizens (including a real live duchess!) and culture-shocked asylum seekers. Some of my students have had sensory impairments, some are dyslexic or have other SpLDs, some have chronic illnesses or physical disabilities, and I continue to learn something from each student I work with.
Along the way I have picked up the following qualifications:
- BA (Hons) in English Language and Linguistics (York University)
- Certificate in TEFLA (GlosCAT)
- MA Language Teaching / Language Studies (Lancaster University)
- Postgraduate Certificate in Specific Learning Difficulties (Edinburgh University)
- PGCE (Post-Compulsory Education) (University of Central Lancashire)
- PhD in Educational Research / Linguistics (Lancaster University)
- Assessment Practising Certificate issued by PATOSS.
My PhD combined my experience in English Language teaching and Learner Support and explored how the issue of inclusive education is addressed in teacher training and education for EFL teachers.
If you would like to have a look, follow this link:
Smith, A.M (2006) Inclusion In English Language Teacher Training and Education. Unpublished PhD Thesis; Lancaster University
Recently I have been involved in setting up the latest IATEFL special interest group (SIG): Inclusive Practices and SEN (IP&SEN SIG). Please join us if you are interested in sharing ideas about and resources for working effectively in increasingly diverse language classrooms.
I think it is important for teachers to be on the other side of the desk from time to time, so that we remember how it feels. Language classes that I have been a student in include: Ancient Greek, Anglo-Saxon, British Sign Language, French, German, Italian, Luo, Maori, Swahili, Swedish and Polish. I hold qualifications in some of these languages, and sometimes even conversations!
Just for the record, I am a member of the following organisations:
- the British Dyslexia Association (Associate Member of the BDA)
- South Cumbria Dyslexia Association (SCuDA)
- the National Association for Teaching English and other Community Languages to Adults (NATECLA)
- the National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum (NALDIC)
- the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL)
- the Professional Association of Teachers of Students with Specific Learning Difficulties (PATOSS)