Training, trains, football and stuff
Well, the Cambridge ELT webmaster told me that among my recent blog posts, the most popular were those in which I wrote about ‘interesting incidents’ during my travels. She suggested that I write another one like that. So… But apologies in advance as this one will not have any gigantic, gregarious Kazaks snoring on overnight trains nor days of déjà vu while being stuck in Moscow due to an Icelandic volcanic ash cloud.
In fact, the only really semi-unusual travelling incident(s) during my tour in Belgium and the Netherlands last month was the fact that both of the high-speed Thalys trains I took (to Amsterdam and back to Paris) were late. So for the first talk of the tour, we had to rush to Pascal College (a ‘college’ can be a secondary school in the Netherlands) in Zaandam outside A’dam. But when we arrived at the school, the teachers and entire student body — dressed of course in orange, the Dutch national colour — were in the entrance hall in front of a huge screen watching the first football match of their Oranje team in the World Cup. So I sat down and watched the rest of the match (the Dutch beat the Danes 2-nil) — and then the English teachers and I had our workshop on teaching teenagers with the new edition of English in Mind.
I did have to get up quite early the next morning, too early for breakfast at the hotel — but that happens a lot when I’m travelling, so nothing unusual. Anyway, a tram to Centraal Station for a quick coffee before taking two trains to Tilburg for two presentations at the Fontys Teacher Training University where, near the end of their academic school year, I talked to both the students and their professors about teaching teenagers and also about teaching adults with English Unlimited. You know, I do also like being able to sometimes talk to younger, pre-service trainee teachers.
Then on to Belgium for a few talks including the big event of the tour — a full day (for me!) organised by the British Council in Brussels for about 100 teachers from around Belgium and neighbouring Luxembourg. I gave four different talks: on teaching teenagers and adults again plus on the resources available on the Cambridge ELT website www.cambridge.org/elt and also on supplementary materials for teaching Business English students especially Grammar for Business and the new editions of Business Vocabulary in Use (they’ve always been quite keen on lexis and vocabulary learning in Benelux) with accompanying CD-ROMs.
And then back to Paris on the Thalys train — which was late again! So I missed the end of the France — Mexico World Cup football match which the French lost and, as everyone knows, the insufferable Bleus are now completely out of the World Cup — as are, indeed, both England and the USA. I wonder who will win….maybe the Oranje?
Gary Anderson, Cambridge ELT International Teacher Trainer