London School of English grabs top teaching award
There are a number of ways in which the performance of an organisation such as The London School of English can be measured. Robert tells you how the performance of a school can be measured.
Firstly, there is, quite simply, the opinion of students. If course participants give good feedback, attend the lessons and return at a later date for more classes, then the school is probably doing a good job.
Secondly, accrediting bodies such as the British Council and inspecting bodies like ISI and Quality English regularly assess language schools to see if they are up to scratch. LSE continually achieves high grades from these inspections.
Thirdly, there are award schemes for trainers. And in this field, too, LSE currently excels. At the end of April, Ed Pegg, a member of the teaching staff, received the first Excellence in Business English Training (EBET) award from Business English UK (BEUK). Not only that, but another LSE trainer – Claudia Marr – was on the shortlist of four finalists.
To win, participants had to write a proposal, a detailed lesson plan and be filmed teaching a business English class. Ed’s 20-minute clip showed him examining the issue of feedback with four students on an International Business Communication course at the school’s Holland Park site. Claudia’s focus was a project-based approach to teaching business English to students who do not have much direct experience of the business world.
The EBET award, which is designed to raise awareness of the high standard of specialist trainers in the UK, was presented to Ed at the annual Business English Trainers Conference in London on 27 April.
“It's a great honour to win the first EBET award,” said Ed, 32. “It has been a wonderful experience, and the personal growth opportunities are massive.
“For the past three years or so, I've been attempting to combine best practice from management training, cultural competence and linguistics … to provide international professionals with a course that enables them to go into their professional lives knowing that the English they use gives them the highest possible chance of getting the results they need.”
Ed is a firm believer in the benefits of using soft skills and sophisticated communication techniques within the cut and thrust of the business world. And this conviction permeates his approach to learning and is something he is determined to convey to his students.
“I think the award has already changed my teaching,” he said. “I got a lot from just writing the proposal. When you are teaching every day it is difficult to find time to reflect. Writing down specifics of what I do is a brilliant way to focus on what I am doing, what my strengths and weaknesses are, and what I could do better. I would definitely encourage people to apply.”
Introducing the ceremony, Huan Japes, Deputy Chief Executive of English UK, said: “This [award] is to recognise those outstanding contributors to the development of Business English teaching ... The idea is that these people will inspire others. But, ultimately, the learner counts.”
He said BEUK was considering expanding the award into new categories next year, possibly including the innovative use of technology.
Ed, who began his career teaching children in Poland eight years ago and fell into Business English training by accident when his director of studies asked him to work with a German CEO because he had a degree in economics, is passionate about his work.
“I love my job and work extremely hard to deliver the best I possibly can every day. For me, winning this award has really validated what I do because five people have objectively assessed my teaching and course design and decided there is something of value there.”
Meanwhile, Pete Thompson, Director of Courses and Hospitality at LSE, said: “I think there’s a wealth of talent out there and with this award we are tapping into it and showcasing what our trainers are able to do. The trainers should get something really important, sustainable and beneficial from it. I’m hoping it will put Business English on the map more generally, and raise the profile of the school.”
By Robert Nurden
up to scratch - (idm.) achieving the required standard
field - (n.) area of operation or a specialism
shortlist - (n.) list of candidates from which a winner will be chosen
massive - (adj.) extremely big
soft skills - (phr.) ways of relating to other people sensitively
cut and thrust -(idm.) aggressive and competitive behaviour
to permeate to penetrate and spread
to fall into something - (phr. v.) to do something by chance and with no planning
to validate - (v.) to make something valid or acceptable
to tap into something - (phr. v.) to establish a connection with something
to showcase - (v.) to publicise as an example of good practice
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