My name is Dylan Gates. I live and work in Granada, a magical and timeless city in the south of Spain. Like many guiris (non-Spaniards of northern European descent), I make a living here in the English language teaching industry.

Having started teaching English in 1996, you could call me relatively experienced. Having a Trinity TESOL certificate, a DELTA diploma, and an MA in Applied Linguistics and ELT makes me more qualified than many of my peers. Although I’d still like to be an astronaut, football player or actor in 1970s cop movies, I’m happy and fulfilled (spiritually if not always financially) working in ELT.

The Spanish are (unfairly) derided for being poor at languages and lag behind other European nations in their English speaking competence. That means there is a huge market for English language teachers here.

So, what I do is train people how to become English language teachers to Spanish speakers. We offer a 4 week full-time or longer part-time course to enable you to learn basic teaching skills and the fundamental features of the English language (grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation) that you need to teach to the locals.

If pushed, I would describe myself as an unplugged teacher, which means I use minimal resources, use conversation as the engine of the lesson, and attempt to work with the language produced by the learner (emergent language). That doesn’t mean I’m adverse to using technology in the class; far from it, the digital revolution has transformed second language acquisition. However, learners do really benefit from focused and targeted speaking practice with a trained, engaged and supportive teacher which is why I limit my use of materials in class. After all, the learners are always your best resource as a teacher and their imagination is infinite.


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