How’s your teamwork? On the road with Gary in…Paris

So, how…does your team work?

I’ve always liked working in teams (guess it’s my sports background) and although I’m often travelling and work a lot on the road, I’m based in the Cambridge office here in Paris and I do like working with the Cambridge France team. It’s a small team – three people in Paris and two others in the provinces, one based in Lyon and the other in Lille – who come for team meetings, and to help out with big events that usually take place in Paris, with which I also try to help out.

I was working with the Cambridge France team last week for the big annual ExpoLangues language fair here in Paris, first helping to set up the stand—and inflate the giant balloon/mini montgolfiére for the new edition of English Grammar in Use and English Grammar in Use Online—and then the next day for the opening Professional Day and the evening reception.

This reminded me of when I was teaching at the American Center here in Paris where we had a great team of teachers who used to share our materials which we kept in files in big drawers in the teachers’ room. One of the teachers was a good artist and he had a clever picture sheet he drew for beginners for contrasting the present simple and present continuous. Another teacher always found appropriate articles for pre-reading preparation or post-reading follow-up for discussions and vocabulary building with advanced classes on topics from the coursebooks. Yet another had lots of useful flash cards, games and exercises for phonology and pronunciation. I had cartoons with the captions white-ed out for short fun, creative writing work and comic strips with the panels mixed-up for jumbled reading exercises. And we all shared worksheets for exploiting authentic video and ideas we found in published materials such as Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers.  I trust you and your teaching colleagues share ideas, activities, experience and practice, i.e. your collective ‘wealth’!? Although, you probably keep things stored on a computer nowadays.

In the Cambridge Paris office the team always passes around any documents before they go out ‘live’ ever since the former office manager sent out a national mailing announcing ‘Cambridge wokshops’ (this was before Spell Check) taking place around the country. Now, he is an excellent cook—but these weren’t lessons to learn how to cook with a wok, but of course pedagogical ‘workshops’. Had to re-do that document and so now we try to proofread each other’s documents and PowerPoint slides as well as of course share ideas for presentations and workshops on Cambridge ELT materials.

So how…does your team work/is your teamwork?

Looking forward to reading your comments and maybe meeting you—and some of your teammates—at an upcoming Cambridge wokshop…er, workshop.

Gary Anderson, Cambridge ELT International Teacher Trainer

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