If students turn to their teachers for help, who do teachers turn to when they need advice? The who, what, when, where, and how’s stop with David, E2Language’s Head Teacher Administrator and an all-round great guy. If E2Language was an orchestra, performing in a grand hall somewhere in Moscow, David would be its conductor.
But, as is the nature of the job, conductors and Head Teacher Administrators perform most of their duties with their back to the crowd. As a result, their efforts are not so easily seen or appreciated as they should be. So this is the time for David to shine, turn around and take a bow and really show off the tireless and impassioned work that he does here!
“A rather dramatic introduction”, you’re probably saying. But if we’re talking about David, then drama is a good place to start! As a youth, David fell in love with the performing arts. He was a professional actor at the Salamanca Theatre Company and also studied Modern European Theatre, Cultural Studies and French (he’s empathetic to the challenges that ESL students face).
He also worked for a puppet theatre company, the Terrapin Puppet Theatre, and co-devised “Highest Mountain, Fastest River”, a play about Hmong people, which won an Australian Human Rights Award for Drama!
Whilst teaching English in Barcelona, he marks his experiences with an acclaimed linguist, Scott Thornbury, as a turning point in his professional life. On his return to the southern hemisphere, David graduated from the University of Wollongong and began teaching in schools around Australia and New Zealand!
David Goes Digital!
In his early days, teaching at schools around New South Wales, David gained an early insight into the potentials of digital learning. With years of experience in the classroom, he began to experiment teaching using different software.
Before working at E2Language, David previously worked for a range of online education companies focused on teaching English as a second language.
Below, I ask him a few questions about his three big passions in life: Theatre, teaching, and the PTE!
Q1. As a teacher, what did you learn from your years teaching in high schools?
I’ve taught and worked for over 30 years in private and state schools around Australia and New Zealand. Through this experience, I’ve learned about the diversity of cultures, abilities, privilege, and poverty. I know that education improves lives and I’ve been lucky enough to have met thousands of students of all ages in classrooms, and now thousands of students online.
English as a lingua franca (meaning, the common language of communication) has replaced my University Theatre obsession with the search for a universal language. The English language pragmatically allows for people from diverse backgrounds to share their common human experiences, access travel and education.
I became a secondary school teacher at the time of the digital revolution, and have adapted my methods to the new environment of education technology, adapting resources, hardware and software to reach the largest number of students efficiently from a virtual classroom. My classroom can now be located wherever I am– as is the case for all E2Language teachers!
Q2. How did your time with Scott Thornbury inspire you to teach?
When I adventured over to Spain after working as an actor in Tasmania, I was very lucky to meet Scott Thornbury at International House in Barcelona, and he became my first ESL teacher.
I studied with him and learned the gentle teachers’ art of “eliciting”. This remains a key concept in student-centred learning. I greatly admire how he makes teaching and learning accessible and he will always be one of the great teachers of teachers. Scott knows his subject thoroughly, how learning happens, and he cares about people and language.
Q3. How did you first become acquainted with the idea of digital learning?
I first became acquainted with digital learning when I was teaching at a remote area school in NSW in 2005. The outdoor education bush school was located 4 hours from the school’s main campus in Sydney, and I supervised the Latin and French classes that were taught from the main campus to a common screen (which was later replaced by student laptops!).
I also taught English in a mainstream school, and here I was able to establish the “connected classroom”, connecting my students to professionals located several hours away.
I took on the role as head of technology in the schools’ English department, encouraging the purchase of short throw projectors and online literacy and spelling software to assist with the teaching of spelling, reading and writing in the school with measurable success. Viva la digital revolution!
Q4. What aspect of your job do you enjoy most?
I really enjoy the autonomy of teaching online. It seems surreal sometimes, that I can connect with students from literally all around the world. It is creative, serves a need, and at E2Language we have developed resources which are pioneering in this area. I am very fortunate to work with colleagues, who are determined, passionate and caring, as well as edgy and funny. We have a truly great team here at E2Language.
Q5. What are your thoughts on memorising a template for PTE’s Write Essay question?
I don’t recommend that students memorise a template for the PTE essay. Instead, I highly recommend that students remember a framework for the essay – Intro, Body 1, Body 2 and conclusion. Then the numbers 3,4,4,2. These are the number of sentences in each paragraph. Then learn and memorise the purpose of each sentence.
When I studied my Diploma of Education I finally learned the importance of a well-structured paragraph. This led me to write essays that achieved H1 (first-class honours!) grades from the University of Melbourne. Trust me, the E2Language essay structure works for a 90 score in PTE!
Q6. What’s one tip you would give to someone struggling with Summarize Written Text?
If you are struggling with Summarise Written Text, then focus on selecting and noting down key nouns in the text, and link them together logically using your own words and understanding. If you do not understand the text you have read, re-read it.
Practice accurate note-taking, and read a lot. Remember the instruction is to summarise.
Watch the FULL interview to get to know more about Teacher David!
Also, click here to download the PTE writing sample question and answer. Let’s practise and #DoMoreBeMore!