Daily Archives: February 18, 2013

Cold Day – Warm Smiles: Lindsay Clandfield in Moscow

A couple of weeks ago, Lindsay Clandfield visited Moscow, Russia, with two presentations as part of Macmillan Conference at People’s Friendship University of Russia.

The first presentation Let’s wise up, not dumb down was mainly devoted to promoting the new Andvanced level of Global coursebook. However the key idea of the talk was that modern coursebooks should provide an interesting and motivating content along with developing critical thinking in learners. As an introduction and, in fact, a leading idea to his presentation, Lindsay quoted a Japanes physicist, Sumio Iijima who said that “True education means forstering the ability to be interested in something.”

Here you can find a PDF file with Lindsay’s presentation.

In his second presentation that day, Lindsay spoke about how to connect ideas in advanced level writing. And if we take the presentation title Making the link metaphorically, it’ll become clear that the conferences like this are more than just about promoting coursebooks and sharing latest teaching techniques but are also about establishing the link between educators around the world.

This is, in fact, what Lindsay Clandfield actually did on that frosty winter day: he not only shared his knowledge and expertise with us but also gave us his shining smile that warmed our hearts and reminded us once again that whereever we went we’ll find like-minded teachers and friends in every corner of the world. And this is how the link is made.

At the end of the conference I was lucky to interview Lindsay and ask him some questions concerning  the audience, coursebooks and Lindsay’s professional plans for the near future. Below you can watch the interview and read the transcript if you find the sound too quiet.

I’m very grateful to Lindsay for finding time to aswer my questions, to Macmillan team for bringing Lindsay to Moscow and other Russian cities, and to Anna Loseva for her enormous help in recording the video.

Interview with Lindsay Clandfield


L – Lindsay Clandfield

A – Alexandra Chistyakova

A: Hello Lindsay!
L: Hello!
A: I’d like to welcome you to Moscow, Russia. We’re always glad to see you here.
L: Thank you. Very good.
A: My first question to you: how is Russian audience different from audience in other countries?
L: I don’t think it’s different, although, I would say, what I enjoy about Russian teachers, is that they are often not afraid to voice opinions although they are very respectful in the audience. When they want to say something they will say it, and it sounds very refreshing. But otherwise, my experience here has been very respectful audiences, nice teachers. They seem very professional.
A: Oh, thank you. Today you presented the new Advanced level of the Global course book by Macmillan. And it seems to comprise the latest and best techniques and achievements in teaching methodology. So, it looks very impressive. Thank you so much for your hard work!
L: Thank you. Thank you for the nice words.
A: My next question is: what is your opinion on course books? You know this ongoing discussion for and against course books. What do you think?
L: I think the discussion for and against course books is very good for our profession because it makes us think of what we do. I, personally, don’t have a problem with course books. And I think, where possible, it’s a matter of a teacher’s preference. Unfortunately for many teachers, they don’t have a choice whether or not to use course books. My feeling is course books might be very helpful in providing structure and a sense of progression throughout a course. And that even when using course books, you can still allow time for students to meaningful interaction between the students and between the students and the teachers. So I don’t necessarily have a problem with that. I think any problems that have been with course books have been with course books that are not so good as opposed to course books that I think are better. I use a lot of my competitors’ course books. I don’t always use my own. I use my competitors’ course books. I like some better than others. And that’s where the problem lies: not in the fact it’s a book itself, it’s more an execution of how things are different than what teachers are used to. So I think course books are here to stay. I think it’s worth trying to always improve on what we have to allow more voices, different stuff to happen within course books. Course books represent a tangible growth of our methodology, so you can look back on course books and see where we are in methodology, historically, and not make the same mistakes. That’s why they are useful also from a wider perspective. But I don’t think that a teacher who doesn’t teach with a course book is teaching any better or worse than one who does: it depends on an individual teacher and how they interact with their students.
A: Ok. So how do you feel when the work on the new level of Global is done? What are your feelings and emotions?
L: Immensely relieved! And usually when the work like this is finished that’s when the promotion and touring starts. So one kind of work stops and another kind of work begins. But I’m very pleased and proud of the course series as a whole. So generally satisfied.
A: Oh, great! And What’s on your professional to-do list now?
L: My professional to-do list … It seems you’ve finished a series of course they start talking about, if it’s doing well, they start a new version of this series. So professional to-do list is to start thinking about an updated version or a new version of Global, especially with technology stuff. On my professional to-do list, I’m also still working on The Round and trying to get new authors, new projects into that publishing project. And maybe a couple of other books for teachers which I’m thinking of doing myself including one on grammar for teachers. That’s keeping me busy, keeping me out of trouble.
A: Thank you very much, Lindsay, for coming! It’s been a pleasure to see you here in Moscow. Thank you very much.
L: Thank you very much! And thank you for iTDi for interviewing me!
A: Thank you!

Posted by on February 18, 2013 in ELT Conferences