Alison has lived in Oxford for ten years, teaching English as a foreign language for seven of those years, and has been part of the English@Oxford team since July 2008.
Originally from Devon, in the south west of England, she was drawn to the bright lights of London where she trained as a professional dancer and ballet teacher; after graduating she became a theatre manager in London’s West End, gaining hands-on management experience at a young age. Then, after a period of working in film production, she set up her own business as a virtual personal assistant to media professionals in London, before leaving it all behind to teach dance in Kathmandu, Nepal, where she also filmed her experiences.
Returning to Oxford, she trained as an English teacher as well as completing a diploma in creative writing at Oxford University. She quickly gained experience teaching in language schools in Oxford before specializing in Business English.
“Teaching English,” says Alison, “is not so different from teaching dance – well, the way I teach it, anyway! Both are about rhythm, expression and communication. I believe learning English isn’t just about grammar or having a wide vocabulary (though it helps), but often it’s how you say something that can convey meaning. I find that when students begin to understand the musical quality of the language, they often improve their listening and speaking skills very quickly. However, I’m still having difficulty getting them to pirouette en dehors into a pas de bourée and finish in an arabesque par terre!
Visit Oxford, and you will probably find Alison either acting in a play, dancing (historical dance and lindy hop) or reading some of her writing at local events, or if you’re really unlucky – singing!
Highly satisfied! Excellent teachers and very friendly atmosphere. I have particularly appreciated the way you managed to create 'natural' simulations (meetings, presentations, etc.) that enabled my speaking and pronunciation to really improve.