Meet Tim Denton, a dedicated educator with eight years of experience at New College Group, where he has been instrumental in guiding students on their path to English language proficiency. He has a passion for teaching and wealth of experience. Join us as we get to know Tim and gain valuable insights into the world of English language education.
How long have you been teaching English?
I’ve been teaching English since 2016 . First I taught Business English in Spain and then I was lucky enough to get a job with NCG who I have taught for ever since.
What inspired you to become an English teacher?
I enjoy grammar, linguistics as well the more creative side of writing and so, when I briefly moved to Spain, teaching languages seemed like the obvious option. I left Spain and I am still teaching today!
What do you enjoy most about being an English teacher?
I love meeting students from all around the world. I learn something new every day whilst teaching, even now, whether it’s about pop culture or differences in culture I wasn’t aware of before now.
Why did you choose to teach English as a second language?
I wanted the opportunity to travel abroad and to learn about new cultures.
What levels of English proficiency do you teach? (e.g., beginner, intermediate, advanced)
I’ve taught each level multiple times now.
How do you differentiate your instruction to meet the diverse needs of students?
Every language is different and, along with that, every student is different. We all come from different educational backgrounds with a different focus on skills, we are all different ages and that’s something a teacher always has to think about. Context is important because what works for one class (or one student) may not work for another and so I have to make sure everything is clear to everyone – this may be through presenting things in different ways or even choosing the comparisons I make differently or using different words.
What resources and materials do you find most effective in teaching English?
The biggest resource is the students themselves. I find that students are best able to connect with language when it’s regarding topics and things that they are familiar with in their own languages. Obviously this isn’t always possible (unfortunately we can’t decide the IELTS topics) but within General English, the students’ own experiences and opinions are a crucial part of the learning process.
How do you incorporate technology into your English lessons?
At NCG, we are fortunate enough to have excellent smartboards and we can use them for a variety of different lessons – whether it be simple games to brainstorming ideas. Phones can be a pain in the classroom but the technology they have provided us with and the extra abilities they’ve given us in the classroom are invaluable.
How do you encourage student participation and foster a positive learning environment in your classroom?
I’m a firm believer that student participation is integral to the learning process and, for that reason, I insist on students being respectful and friendly to one another. We are lucky to have a range of different cultures, beliefs and lifestyles within our student body and for everyone to feel comfortable, we must ensure that everyone is treated fairly and with dignity.
How do you support students who are struggling with English language?
Every student is different and as a teacher we must remember that but so also must the student. What students often forget is that, like sports, art and mathematics, some people have more natural ability or some find it easier to memorise things. I don’t see it as students struggling, I see it as students going at their own pace. Different languages have advantages – depending on the proximity to the English language (sharing an alphabet or even just being physically close to an English-speaking country) and so some students may learn quicker. That being said, if someone is finding things very difficult, I often notice that they’re focusing on what they find difficult and aren’t giving enough attention or credit to themselves for what they can do. Yes, it’s the teacher’s job to correct but also to applaud.
My favourite TV shows are Stranger Things, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and That 70s show.
My favourite animals are Gorillas.
My favourite places to travel are Malaysia and Singapore.
My favourite dishes are Nasi Ayam and Korean Fried Chicken.
My favourite book is The Secret History by Donna Tart or pretty much anything written by Haruki Murakami.