experienced methodology writer, Jeremy Harmer is the author
of the excellent Practice
of English Language Teaching and series editor on the
series as well as hosting ELT Forum. His teaching
days were spent in Mexico and the UK and since 1983 he has
been a full-time writer and freelance trainer.
did you first get into ELT?
When I was failing to make a decent living as a folk singer
someone told me about a place called International House
where you could do a short teacher training course. I went
along. I was hooked almost immediately.
is the key to great teacher development material?
The one thing I've always tried to do, with Longman's encouragement,
is write methodology in an accessible way. I see my role
as distilling theories and arguments about language learning
and teaching in such a way that readers get a clear idea
of what people are thinking and take away some ideas of
how to teach better.
advice would you give to someone who was thinking of writing
an ELT book?
Do it! What's wrong with the books you use? What's missing?
Use the answers to those questions to have a go yourself.
Your students will love the efforts you are making, and
teaching will become even more exciting. Then you can stand
back and see how what you've done might look to someone
else who was asked to use it. If it looks good, you've got
the making of a book.
you a technophile or a technophobe?
Halfway between! I enjoy using technology and get excited
by new developments. But I get very impatient if it doesn't
work. I'm a bit lazy too, so I expect everything to be perfect
without too much effort on my part!
you're a technophile, what is your best tip for a technophobe?
Just go for it. Remember technology is man-made so it's
bound to have glitches. But, believe me, if you sit back
and enjoy it (nobody should take it too seriously) you'll
be able to do lots of things you never dreamed of!
is the future of the Internet in language teaching?
That's difficult to say. I think it will be used more and
more as an adjunct to class-based teaching. As it becomes
more sophisticated it will gain immensely in popularity,
being used in ever great numbers by students working on
their own, by people who can't make it to real classrooms
(but can still meet up 'virtually'), and by teachers looking
for readily available extra material.
was the last film you saw and what was it like?
Monsoon wedding. A wonderful human tale which had many true,
serious and amusing things to say about large families,
customs, love, and the middle class of New Delhi.
is your all-time top tip for English teachers?
Enjoy it. The more you put in, the more you get out!
you have a question for Jeremy? Join him in the Live Chat
Sessions. Go to The Forum for more