Active Language

Meet Active Language...

...and start your new teaching chapter with us.

“I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Active Language Cadiz in the most glowing possible terms. The directors and trainers are right at the top of their game, professional, enthusiastic, friendly and supportive. Throughout a tough course it was never less than a pleasure to learn from such an expert and knowledgeable team.”

Ciaran Kennedy. March, 2019

Founded in 2004, the experienced team at Active Language deeply care about your success. Join us online or in our fully equipped centre in a typical Andalusian mansion in a leafy plaza in the heart of the old city just ten minutes’ walk from the beach

Plaza Mina

The Centre

Dani Jones

Director of Teacher Training

Hi!

I’m Dani and I am one of the founding members of Active Language so I have been here from the very beginning!

I’ve been working in EFL since 1997. I did my TEFL course in 1995 and have a very strong memory of my first day. I remember walking into the TEFL training centre, a beautiful Georgian house in North London, and I really felt like I had found my place. There were students from all over the world milling around chatting in English, posters on the wall full of strange phonetic symbols and a real buzz about the place – it was really exciting and I have never looked back.

My first teaching job was in Istanbul. I worked at an amazing school which had a very structured training programme which was great for a teacher fresh off the TEFL course. The school was full of like-minded people and I made some very deep friendships which have lasted more than 20 years.

After a stint in London, I then went and taught in Costa Rica, in my humble opinion, the most beautiful country in the world. Being an English teacher gave me the means to live there for a year and a half and enjoy all it had to offer.

Another stint teaching in Central London was followed by a move to Spain where I still am! After 2 years working in Seville, I moved down to Cádiz and set up Active Language in 2004.

I immediately knew on moving to Cádiz that this would be the place I would stay. I’ve been here since 2003 and love it as much as I did then. The air is clean, the sky is blue, the people are warm, the sea is amazing – what’s not to like?!

My role at Active is as Director of Teacher Training, I run the CertTESOL courses and also coordinate and tutor on the Trinity DipTESOL which we run with a centre in Barcelona.

The thing I love most about my job is the people I work with and the variety, the fact that every training course is different and what I do know is that there will always be interesting people popping up along the way.

When I’m not training, I love yoga, devouring books, making food (usually inspired by a slight obsession with cookery programmes!) and walking.

Simon Pearlman

Director of our Centros de Idiomas
Teacher trainer

Hi!

I’m Simon, one of the founding directors of Active Language, Cádiz. First of all, I’d like to welcome you and I look forward to meeting you soon. You can always email me at simon@activelanguage.net about anything about our courses, teaching English or anything related!

What do I love most about my work? It’s got to be about connection! I love connecting with people in almost any situation, it’s generally a good thing but because I love it so much, I can be easily distracted. I also love working on the teacher training courses helping teachers with the next stage in their professional development both during and after the course. Our promise of lifelong support through the Careers Service is absolutely real and one of my favourite parts of the job. My day-to-day involvement in the courses varies but I’m always around for a supportive chat whenever I can.

I am passionate about our English language teaching profession; it has given me so much over the years and continues to do so. I started teaching for two reasons: I always wanted to travel but never really fancied living out of a rucksack, I wanted to really live somewhere and secondly, I’d done some bits and bobs of informal teaching in different ways and thought it might be the way for me. I did my course in 1997 and since then I’ve been fortunate enough to live and work as an English teacher in Turkey, the UK, Costa Rica and Spain. I feel so lucky to have lived in all these amazing places through my work, connected with so many different people and cultures and each experience has had a deep effect on me. My Spanish adventure started in Seville and then in 2003 brought me to Cádiz.

I could write pages on my love for Cádiz, but I’ll try to keep it brief. There’s something magical about Cádiz… the centre of Cádiz is largely free of cars and full of life. It’s a small, friendly city where it’s easy to get to know people and it’s surrounded by the sea meaning beaches, boats and fabulous food! Maybe it’s the fact that Cádiz has always been a port city that adds something special to it. Geographically, it’s oddly stuck out in a little corner of Spain. People come to Cádiz because they really want to, and it never disappoints! It has an authentic soul, the real Spain, that you won’t find in many other places, scratch the surface and you’ll discover some of the aspects of this place that make it one of Spain’s best kept secrets.

Offering the Trinity Certificate and Diploma in TESOL courses provides us with a beautiful opportunity to help people start and continue their TEFL journey with confidence and support. For me, it’s the best job in the world in the best place in the world – I just love it!

Looking forward to meeting you soon!

Teresa Bestwick

Teacher trainer
Course administrator

Hello! My name’s Teresa, or T, and I’m one of the tutors on the Cert and DipTESOL courses. I also do some of the admin for Teacher Training so we might well be in touch before you come to Cádiz.

I’ve been teaching in Spain since 2004 and joined Active in 2009. The thing I love most about training on the courses is that it makes me a better teacher, not only in terms of the practical classroom delivery but also by making me much more aware of a lot of the theory involved behind my decisions when I’m lesson planning.

As well as teaching and tutoring, I enjoy speaking at conferences around Spain and was part of a group which founded a local teachers’ organization, TEFL del Sur. I’m definitely not an expert in any area and have given talks on a range of different topics, though I tend to go more for practical ideas sharing than high-brow academia.

I’ve recently got into the world of materials-writing and have worked on the teachers’ book for a National Geographic project as well as C1+ and B2 coursebooks for teens.

When I’m not working, I love trying out different craft beers, watching sci-fi and fantasy films and series and running.

Kate Fuller

Teacher trainer

I’ve been living and working Cádiz since 1999 and began teaching and training at Active Language in 2008. I’m a tutor on the CertTESOL course and also the Materials Assignment tutor, so will give you guidance on this assignment during input sessions. When I’m not training, I teach groups of all ages from 3-year-olds to adults and I have to admit, I don’t have a favourite age group as each one has something special or surprising! I also teach exam preparation classes for both young learners and higher levels.

To continue my professional development, I go to conferences such as ACEIA and TEFL del Sur.

In my free time, I like to read, watch series on Netflix and travel whenever possible.

 

Claire Thomson

Teacher trainer

I started teaching and training when I was 17, but not English as a second language! I trained and taught people to ride all around the world for many years, from New Zealand to Holland and Australia to Hong Kong. When I finally decided my riding days were over and I was settled in Spain, the next logical step was to teach my other passion.

I completed my Trinity CertTESOL with Active and taught full-time in an academy for some years before deciding that this was not just a job, it was a lifestyle and career. I made the choice to do my Trinity Diploma with some rather fixed ideas of where I would go from there however, with the experience, knowledge and support I was offered during this I realised that my first love was training and that’s where my career path headed.

I’m extremely fortunate to be a trainer with Active as the support provided is second to none and as they do with all trainees, staff, students and trainers, at whatever level, I’ve been encouraged to develop my abilities to their best advantage and use them to benefit others.

I’m still astounded as to the skills I was able to transfer from my previous career to this one, although it took some time to realise that that’s what I was doing, and I’m also continually amazed by how much I love what I do. Watching people grow, develop and reach a level of understanding they didn’t previously have is possibly the best aspect about being a trainer. Watching a trainee deliver that first lesson that ‘clicks’ with the learners and with them is a great thing to witness.

Meeting new people, guiding them and helping them to discover their abilities is a wonderful thing. This is why one of my main interests nowadays lies in professional development and mentoring. We all need somebody to look out for us and help us through the difficult times and also just to place our feet on the right path. I’m also a great believer in promoting learner choice and fostering student autonomy, both of which are directly translatable to training new teachers.

I now train new teachers, teach at all levels, support exam students, hold in-house business classes for companies and evaluate candidates for interviews with corporate businesses while never losing sight of my first love – passing on knowledge and supporting those who want to learn.

When I’m not teaching, I read, garden and drink red wine. Thankfully, living in Andalucía provides ample opportunities for all of these – normally in the sun, while listening to an eclectic mix of music depending on my mood. 😊.

Chris Hunter

Teacher trainer

Becoming a teacher was something I’d never really considered, until shortly before I got married. My partner Fiona, who had already done some teaching in Spain, sprung the suggestion on me one day as we were planning our post-wedding moves. Some extensive arm twisting followed. So it was with some trepidation that I took my first steps into the classroom on that first day of teaching practice, at International House Seville in 2006. What would it be like? Would I manage to get the words out, and teach something resembling a lesson? To my surprise, that first teaching practice wasn’t as scary as I had imagined. In fact, it turned out to be rather good fun and quite a buzz. Wow! I could do this…

After completing the four-week CELTA course, I was lucky to find a job at the same centre where I’d been training. An exciting, challenging and rewarding couple of years in Andalucia followed. Eventually, though, the itchy feet got the better of us and we took advantage of the opportuity to spend a few years in Argentina. Here, I completed my Diploma at International House Buenos Aires in 2010. Living in Argentina also gave us access to some amazing travelling experiences, and we were lucky enough to be able to explore other South Amercian countries when our contracts finished, something I might never have been able to do had I not taken that leap into EFL.

After a brief return to Europe, somewhat short of pennies after all that travelling, we decided to take a chance on the relatively lucrative Asian EFL scene. This led to two years working with the British Council in Seoul, South Korea. What an experience that turned out to be! Work was hectic, but really energising. It was great to get to know students from such a different cultural background, and to find out how much we had in common as well as enjoying the differences. In our time off, we travelled around Asia and cycled the length of Korea. Again, I may never have done this without that teaching certificate. While in Korea, I continued my professonal development by doing the Trinity Young Learners Extension Certificate and training as an IELTS examiner.

After several years living in huge, fast moving cities, we felt the need for a change of pace, and to live a bit closer to home again, and so we decided to head back to Spain, where it had all started. By pure chance, we ended up in Cádiz one sunny January afternoon. As we stood among crowds of people enjoying an afternoon tapa and cerveza in a beautiful old town square, we made up our minds that this was the place.

We’ve been here for a number of years now. I love this city. It’s beautiful, safe and very liveable, offering many of the advatages of living in the city, while preserving the comfortable, welcoming feel of a smaller town. I can get to and from work on foot or by bike, with no need for busy morning commutes. And of course, there’s the miles of golden, sandy beaches! Perfect for a bracing winter walk, a lazy summer’s day swimming and reading in the shade, and a wee (or not so wee) GnT at sunset.

Apart from working with Active Language as a tutor and Course Director on the CertTESOL course, I also teach at the University of Cadiz, and work as an English for Academic Purposes lecturer at the University of Glasgow in the summer. It’s this variety that I love most about my job. No two days are ever the same. I love working with different people with different ideas and backgrounds, learning from them about their lives, culture and their interests, while hopefully teaching them something in return! As a trainer, I get a buzz from watching trainees take those first tentative steps into teaching, as I did all those years ago, and seeing that magic moment when they realise “I can do this!”

Ceri Jones

Teacher Trainer

Hi, I’m Ceri. I teach Welsh for the Unknown Language assignment on the CertTESOL course and I tutor on the Trinity Diploma face-to-face teaching practice courses. They’re two very different roles with different challenges and rewards, and all part of the variety that is the spice of life in any TEFL career.

I started out teaching on summer schools in the UK and got my first full-time job in a small town in Italy. I was really lucky to work for a great school and although I’d initially only planned to be there for a year, I stayed for ten! Those ten years laid the foundations for so many different career paths in EFL: training, materials writing and management. I also taught a fantastic variety of classes of all ages and all different kinds.

From Italy, I went back to the UK for two years to complete an MA in TEFL and to experiment with working in universities there, but I missed the south of Europe and the buzz and busy-ness of EFL language schools, so I took a job in Madrid as a DOS at an IH school, and fell in love for a second time with a new culture and a new language and a demanding job. Madrid is a great city and I loved living there, but with two young kids and more and more opportunities to work online, the beach seemed like a better place to be and we relocated to Cádiz. It was the best move ever!

Since I moved here, my work has become more and more varied: a combination of teaching, training and materials writing in so many different contexts. Combining online and offline work means there are so many opportunities to explore and teaching and training at Active Language are an important part of my busy TEFL life!

Lucy Brophy

Teacher trainer

My ELT teaching journey began back in 1995 when I got my Trinity TESOL Certificate after a friend of the family suggested I try it as he thought I might enjoy it. He was absolutely right. I started off In Jersey in the Channel Islands and then to Granada in Andalucia, Spain.

Since then the journey has taken me to a number of destinations. The most memorable by far was French Guiana in South America. I taught English there in a number of capacities: at a language academy; in a Lycee and at a Technical University. The European Space Agency is based there due to its favourable geographical position next to the equator and there is nothing quite like witnessing rockets being launched against an Amazon jungle backdrop, or popping over the border to Brazil for the weekend, or hearing howler monkeys at dawn.

After nearly five years and somewhat homesick both for family and European culture, I returned to the UK to do a PGCE in Modern Foreign Languages. My thinking was I’d try teaching French and Spanish in England rather then English abroad. I tried it for a couple of years but it wasn’t long before I got itchy feet and returned to Spain. Firstly up north in the Ribera de Duero wine region, then full circle back to Andalucia, this time to Cádiz on the beautiful Costa de Luz. Cádiz is quirky and historical and suprisingly unsaturated by the English.

Since 2014 I’ve been working at Active Language both as teacher and then as a tutor on the CertTESOL courses. I can say honestly that I thoroughly enjoy my work both as teacher and teacher trainer. Maybe as it has the possiblity to encompass so many different threads in life be it physical, academic, psychological, communicative or creative. There are always lessons to be learnt.

When not working I’m probably to be found somewhere outside walking my dog.

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