More European & Never in my classroom – “about having and not being” paidia

When a wa a kid ma folks didnie ave oddles of dosh, we were just above tha breadline. A can remember wanin tha Star Wars figures, tha transformers or tha Zoids. A was proud a ad a Chopper bike, no bmx.  A Snowspeeder, tha rad baddies from “Transformers; robots in disguise”, like “Starstream” and “Ravage”, as well as tha cool white Porsche 935 turbo “Jazz”. Not really int label clothes a was still embarrassed by ma no street cred of avin Dunlop trainers; that now peculiarly seem retro n cool.

A was also tha first o ma family to go to Uni, and get a Bachelors. This wa a real event for ma folks. Bur I look at it now an it is a real contrary affair.

Firstly lots of the general public, the corporate and the academic world focus on what qualifications you have. This is often a small talk opener, and especially in German it is the certificate that the interviewer or the companies are too often fixated on.  Not your competenencies, what you are and what your able to do.

But lets dig a bit deeper at my qualis and wonder just how they can transpose into a contemporary picture of where I am at in my career.  I will start from Uni where I got a B.A. in Visual Arts and Writing (Art and English really but that is another story). It was a good course in grounding lots of creative writing avenues I just did not really pursue until recently. It gave me a passion for poetry and performance. As well as story telling, although I do not think I really have a novel in me as some say. This is all fine and good. Now to the trickier  subject of Art. Apart from the html and some digital image manipulation I found my Gen. National Diploma in Art and Design from the age of 16 to 18 actually gave me more skills that I can and do use now.

Moving on to the job I have got my most bread and butter from over the last few years, namely Teaching English. I have a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) and a London Chamber of Commerce Certificate in Teaching English for Business (CertTEB). Both gave me very good grounding and training from luminaries in my field like like Dominic Braham, and Anthony Gaughan, at a price although not cheap worthwhile in being on the front line during the assessment process. However both were awhile ago now, and are no real reflection of where I am at now. I use more technology and am much more unplugged (coursebook) as a trainer.

Yet I work in establishments that focus on certificates that are seen as crucial, have very little real application; exam and theory based. But the students are wrapped up in the grade, and not what they can learn. This is tricky as I am a trainer that focuses often on making them better learners as opposed to helping them pass a restrictive curriculum orientated course or exam.

Then it comes down the how the cookie crumble sin this way. If we are in a world fixated on the “haves” and not being, how can we hope that students in our lopsided education system to see the value of being on the ball and honed in essential skills than “Sir, what was my grade”.
Surely a real test is in competent application of what you have learned not a piece of paper that fades within 5 years, or is it?




A native Brit, Stewart is from the East Midlands. He has worked all over England and has been in Germany since 2002. Through working with the youth and the disabled he has been able to fine tune his communication skills. A Cambridge qualified (CELTA/LCCI CerTEB) instructor of English as a Foreign Language, he also has experience as a copy editor/ proof reader specializing in Higher Education and Business English. He assists established companies & local English trainers (LELTA) in optimizing their platforms, markets & copy (texts). With a Bachelors degree in English & Art, he brings diverse skills within a broad palette to his academic courses, an English speakers community (So Social Club) & an art project (Lebenskunstler). Not only focusing on creative expression but exemplary use of language.


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