Hi – my name is Paul Emmerson. I am a well-known figure in the Business English world, and I work as a writer, website owner, teacher and teacher-trainer. I do this from home (Worthing, on the south coast of England), and at The English Language Centre, Brighton.
I created this site in November 2010 as a free resource for busy teachers wanting practical ideas to use in class tomorrow morning.
You can find my many books published by Macmillan and Cambridge University Press in the ‘Paul’s Books’ tab above. You can find my self-published books in the Store tab above.
Please feel free to contact me via the Contact tab at the top – I always enjoy hearing from people.
Click on the Q once to drop down the answer, once again to pull it up
Answer: I create the structure of the site. The graphic design is done by Meg Fenn. She hands over to Chris Painter who builds the site in WordPress. Chris also hosts the site and is its webmaster. If you are looking for someone to design and build your own website, either Chris or Meg would do a great job at a reasonable price.
The artwork (two images on the home page and then parts of the same used elsewhere) is by Carol Farrow. She’s one of my favourite artists and I have three of her works hanging in my living room.
Answer: Comments come to me via the site ‘dashboard’, and I need to manually approve them (an anti-abuse and anti-spam measure). Please be patient – it could take a day or two for your Comment to appear.
Answer: Of course! Simply click here. After submitting your idea via this form I’ll get back to you – maybe suggesting a few changes.
Answer: The newsletter. It will tell you as soon as there is new stuff on the site. This is the main channel by which I communicate, and I give occasional special offers to subscribers. My FB page has copies of the newsletter and I update it whenever I make a post. On Twitter, I tweet a few times a week, and my tweets are not just BE-related (for example I am very interested in macroeconomics and the financial markets). The problem with Twitter, as you know, is the volume of information coming in to your feed. I do sometimes use Twitter to have quick live contact with people. And LinkedIn – as usual – is for people wanting to connect with me professionally.
Answer: Almost certainly the newsletter is being delivered to your Spam (or Junk) folder. You need to go to that folder, find the newsletter, and click to say that it is not spam/junk. Hopefully this will not be a problem for too many people as one of the functions of my third-party email service (MailChimp) is to get past spam filters.
If you still have problems then contact me and I will go to my MailChimp account and check that your details are there and are correct.
Answer: In fact nearly all posts could go in more than one section, and I have to make a judgement where they would fit best. It would be boring and repetitive if you came across too many examples of double posting. However sometimes the nature of the post is such that it screams out to be in two categories. I will keep double-posting to a minimum.
Answer: Yes, I offer a discount for countries where teachers don’t earn so much. The store automatically applies the discounts, which are:
• 30% if GDP/capita is in the range $15,000 -$30,000
• 50% if GDP/capita is below $15,000
To see an alphabetical list of all the countries that get a discount, click here.
I take my figures from the IMF data on the Wikipedia page here.
Answer: No. The integrity of the site depends on it being book-neutral and publisher-neutral. The sole exception is the Store section where I will promote my own materials in a relatively hype-free way.
Answer: Yes. It is that all approaches and methods and techniques are valid and good in moderation, and that variety is everything. What should you do in class today? Whatever you didn’t do yesterday. Students will learn and improve in their own way at their own pace – and what you teach is only partially related to what they learn. The teacher’s job is to provide a language-rich environment, at the right level, with plenty of activities for noticing language and plenty of opportunities for interesting and personalized speaking activities. After that what the students learn is up to them and their own internal cognitive processes.
I believe that learning a language is very similar to learning any other skill (eg playing a musical instrument, driving a car etc). For example, the fluency and freedom of expression of a Jimi Hendrix or a John Coltrane was achieved by hours of practice at an early stage of learning (perhaps mindlessly and routinely going up and down scales). There is no magic bullet to fluency.
I believe that students cannot give attention to meaning and form at the same time, and so (for example) they can read a text for content and then discuss it, or go through the text looking at lexis. But not both at the same time. The two activities should be clearly separated in class, and students should not get mixed messages about what the point of an activity is. In the same way, I believe that post-task rather than during-task is the best place for language feedback: post-task students are attending to form, during-task to meaning. Requiring them to switch constantly between the two modes is unhelpful to both.
I believe that students have only a certain amount of attentional resources when they speak, and that these are divided between accuracy, fluency and complexity. I believe this is a zero sum game, and that giving more attention to one of these necessarily means giving less to another.
Finally, I believe that a major factor in language learning is memory (or rather some complex process involving neurones and synapses, and connections between short and long term memory, and all sorts of other biological processes in the brain). Some people have this internal system working well, others less well, and this is yet another factor beyond our control.
One thing that is, however, very much under the teacher’s control is the use of diagnostic language feedback following speaking activities. I call this technique ROLO (Reformulate Output Lightly but Often), and I believe it is a key element in effective language acquisition. There is an article on ROLO in the Articles section of the site.
Answer: I travelled all over Europe doing this for more than ten years, but now have the role of daddy to add to all my other roles. So, the answer is … probably not, but you can try. However one conference I nearly always go to is BESIG (held every November) – if you see me there please come up and say hello.
In the UK I do run a two-week teacher training course every July and October at the English Language Centre, Brighton (click here). I would be happy to see you there – we always have a great time. Please deal directly with ELC about this course and mention my website in any enquiry. Comenius funding may be available for this course.
Answer: That’s me. In the late ’70s and early ’80s I played in a Manchester post-punk/jazz/dance band of that name. We occupied the space in Manchester’s musical history just after Joy Division/Fall/Buzzcocks and just before The Smiths/Stone Roses/Happy Mondays. The movie ’24 Hour Party People’ caught that moment in time beautifully and very accurately.
Dislocation Dance was Ian on guitar (influenced by Chic and Kool & The Gang), Andy on trumpet (influenced by Burt Bacharach and Herb Alpert), Dick on drums (influenced by Can), me on bass guitar (influenced by Soft Machine) and Kathryn on vocals (influenced by Bowie and Bolan).
We had minor success, with several albums, singles including a small hit in the Netherlands (appearance on Dutch tv show TopPop), a short tour of the US (east coast), three John Peel radio sessions, etc. Our records still sell, in very small numbers, especially in Japan. We are still in touch with each other.
People have posted some of our music on YouTube:
Rosemary. The early pop/punk side of the band. This was the minor hit in the Netherlands.
You’ll Never, Never Know. Jazz-tinged indie-pop, with Kathryn now on vocals.
Show Me. The later dance-music side of the band. I think this still sounds good.
Vendetta. The more arranged, instrumental, movie-theme side of the band (ignore the Show Me cover artwork on this post).
I still have a connection to the music business through my brother Simon, whose career has included (in order) Weekend, Working Week, AfroCelt Sound System and Imagined Village.