IH Torun has been open since 1993, in fact last year we celebrated our 25th anniversary. The main target now are Young Learners as this is the biggest margin area in English schools in Europe. I have been Director of Studies at IH Torun for 6 years, before that I was a Senior Teacher here for 3 years and before that was working for other language schools. I decided to become an English teacher as it’s a very rewarding occupation; especially when you see your students progress and develop over the years.
You have been working with NGL for more than 2 years now. What is so cool about National Geographic Learning coursebooks?
I am a huge fan of NGL coursebooks. Firstly, I love that most of the books follow the Lexical Approach in that language is contextualised and taught as chunks. There is still a focus on grammar but it takes a more secondary place and also there is minimal metalanguage. I never understand why some books use language like past participle or infinitive to low-level students, when the metalanguage is actually higher than the target language itself. Secondly, I love how colourful and illustrative the books are and the topics as well are very interesting. I particularly also like the “Make an Impact” sections in the Impact series of coursebooks. I also love how proactive and supportive the NGL reps are here in Poland.
Can you name some activities your students like most?
Our students and teachers love the Make an Impact section in the Impact books as it’s great to have some ready-made TBL style activities. The teachers at IH Torun use a lot of the NGL flashcards to play games with. For example we would stick the flashcards on the board and divide the students into 2 teams (standing in a line one behind each other). The first student in each line is given a fly swat and the teacher then calls out a random flashcard (e.g. ‘it’s a chicken’) and the students have to hit the appropriate flashcard. The one who hits the correct one first gets a point for their team.
Another game we play with NGL flashcards is the cuddly toy throwing game. Again the students are in 2 teams in a line and this time the flashcards are stuck around the classroom. The teacher gives each team a cuddly toy and then the students are sit on the floor opposite each other with their team’s cuddly toy on the floor in the middle. The students are then numbered in each team (e.g. 1,2,3, 4, 5, etc) and the teacher shouts out ‘it’s a donkey…number…twos!’. The students numbered 2 then have to grab their cuddly toy and throw it to the appropriate flashcard. Again the one who hits the correct flashcard first gets a point for their team.
Parents are a real-deal opinion makers in this branch. What’s their feedback about National Geographic Learning books?
Feedback about NGL books from both the students and their parents has been really positive. They particularly like the striking content and the fact that it doesn’t patronise the students. Polish students also love to be challenged and most NGL coursebooks are particularly very challenging…in a positive way!
What do your teachers say about NGL?
Our teachers generally love most of the NGL coursebooks. They were challenging to adapt to first but once they got into the swing of things they soon learnt to love the books.
What would you say to someone who is considering working with NGL books but is still hesitating?
Go for it! NGL is a great publisher and the Polish reps will really help you and support you.
Thank you very much!
BONUS – we are delighted to share with you Glenn’s presentation from IH Training Day – feel free to download it HERE and get inspired to use flashcards in class in a funny, proactive way with your students.
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Don’t miss out the annual IH Teacher Training Day in spring, where amazing teacher-trainers, authors and talented teachers invite you to the world of creative methodology.