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Russia’s latest secret agent

Juliana Gamouletskaia explains to Melanie Butler how her experience studying abroad as a child has helped her build a unique service to allow others to follow in her footsteps

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JOB SATISFACTION Juliana especially enjoys helping children settle into new schools and seeing them achieving their goals (Courtesy Svetlana Masterova)

Your own background of studying abroad gives you a particular view on the British educational system. How do you know it so well and how does that help your clients?

My first experience of education in the UK was at a summer language school. I then studied for seven years at Westonbirt School [an all-girls boarding school in Gloucestershire, two and a half hours from London by car] from the age of eleven until eighteen.

I obtained top grades upon graduation, four A’s in my A-Level exams. This allowed me to successfully apply to one of the top universities in the UK, the London School of Economics (LSE), to study law for my degree.

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A sporting chance for students

Bram van Asselt, Exsportise founder and managing director, tells Melanie Butler how learning English through sport inspired him to set up his innovative summer camps

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TEAM SPIRIT Like his students, Bram van Asselt (left) found sports to be a great way to learn English (Courtesy Exsportise)

 Bram van Asselt knows that sport can hold the key to learning English – because it helped him learn it. When he was seventeen years old his family moved from Holland to England, and the founder and managing director of Exsportise found himself in a school where he barely spoke a word of the language.

‘I survived because there was another Dutch boy in the class, and he spoke for me, but it was on the sports field that I learned the language.’

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Driven by performance not profit

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Melanie Butler asks Steve Phillips about his new role as Eurocentres head of UK schools

NATURAL FIT Steve Phillips (far left) with staff at the head office of top-performing chain Eurocentres, according to BC inspectors (Courtesy Eurocentres)

Last time we spoke you were running the ELT section of a university, and now you are running a chain of UK language schools. From a personal point of view, what made you want to change?

Actually I wasn’t looking to change, I was enjoying immensely the role at Regent’s [Regent’s University London]. I was very much on board with their commitment to languages and culture and how they wanted to integrate that into their main suite of degree programmes.

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Meet the smiling boffin of ELT

Melanie Butler asks ClarityEnglish’s Adrian Raper about his path into language learning

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POWER IN YOUR PALM Adrian says it’s logical for students to use their phones to develop writing skills (Courtesy ClarityEnglish)

Adrian, I always think of you as the smiling boffin. You are an artificial intelligence expert with a PhD and a tendency to tweet in programming language. You seem to be almost the polar opposite of a typical language teacher. Yet for over twenty years you’ve been involved in designing software for language learning. How did you first become involved?

I certainly didn’t take the classic path to ELT publishing. My PhD was in vibrational engineering, and I started by applying computer solutions to vibrations in helicopters. But I didn’t like working in a big organisation, and in 1992 I decided to get out. My friend Andrew Stokes was teaching at the British Council and felt the same way.

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Diving into digital learning

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Academic and author Anne O’Keeffe explains to Melanie Butler how her ELT evolution has led to a new masters in applied linguistics

You started your life in teaching as an undergraduate at Mary Immaculate College (MIC), presumably aiming to be a teacher in Ireland, and you ended up back there as an academic researcher and trainer in English language teaching. What would your undergraduate self think?

It really still amuses me to walk through the same corridors and see the same people and places as when I was an undergraduate. I sometimes see former lecturers who are now my colleagues and have flashbacks to my college days – wondering if I have an essay due! I was so delighted to get a place in MIC as an undergraduate. It is the most esteemed teacher education institution in Ireland.

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