Acting and Teaching- what do they have in common?
Guest Writer | Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Meet Ian Holmes, actor and teacher at OISE, and find out what skills lie behind good teaching and what differentiates OISE from other language schools.
Meet Ian Holmes, actor and teacher at OISE, and find out what skills lie behind good teaching and what differentiates OISE from other language schools. We spoke to Ian in the superb lecture theater at OISE London.
Could you give us a brief introduction to your person and how you came to work with OISE?
I came to work for OISE London when I moved to London in 2009. I had been working for a language school in Kent, where the Director of Studies recommended me to Glen, the principle at the then Central School/ OISE Executive Centre. They had previously worked together some years beforehand.
What previous life and work experiences have been particularly valuable for your work as a teacher?
Before becoming a language teacher I had worked as an actor, mainly in theatre, in London, Edinburgh, Manchester and Milan, Italy. This experience has had an influence on the way that I teach, especially with regards to spoken performance and presentation skills. Also my experience of having to learn another language, Italian, has helped me to appreciate the challenges faced by our learners.
How does the teaching style at OISE differ from that of other language schools?
The key difference is that at OISE we have the opportunity to work more with the particular needs of the learners. The small class sizes also enable us to deliver lessons that are more student focused and relevant to the world of the learner.
What is the typical profile of a student at OISE London?
It would be difficult to pin point the typical learners at OISE as there is a wide range of nationalities, professions and motivations for learning English. On the one hand we could say that a typical learner is a professional with the need to improve their language and communication skills for an ever globalizing world, but then they will also have specific requirements and tasks that are connected to their specific field. Having said that we also teach exam preparation to younger learners and general English for a number of people who want to improve fluency in order to use English for travel or for their own interest.
Can you give us an example of a specific topic you particularly enjoy teaching?
I have a particular interest in phonology and I use this system throughout my teaching in order to help learners visualize the sounds and sound systems of English so that they can improve both their speaking and listening skills.
As I mentioned above I also particularly enjoy teaching presentation and performance skills drawing on my own experiences as a performer.