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  • three teachers sat at a table discussing
    • Tips for careers using English
    • Business and employability
    • Language teaching

    4 career moves for enthusiastic teachers

    By Pearson Languages

    Have you been teaching for a number of years and are looking for ways to challenge yourself and share your experience and passion with others?

    Many would love the opportunity to progress in their careers and try new things but have no idea how to get started.

    So, let's look at several potential jobs for English language teachers, find out what they involve and how you can improve your chances of getting a foot in the door.

    1. Materials Writing

    For those with a passion for writing and an eye for detail, ELT materials development could be for you. While writing can be hard to get into, there are several ways to get involved - especially if you are persistent and build a portfolio.

    Here are some of our top tips for aspiring materials writers:

    • Create your own materials in class and think of ways of adapting the current materials you use for different ages or levels.
    • Share the materials you make with other teachers and get them to give you feedback.
    • Review materials for a publisher. Not only will you start to think more critically, but if you do a good job they might commission you to do some writing for them. One way to discover these opportunities is by signing up for their newsletters or following them on Facebook or X.
    • Start a blog and share lesson tips, advice and activities with other teachers. If it becomes popular enough someone from a publisher might spot you and invite you along for an interview.
    • Join the ELT Teacher 2 Writer database, where you can create an account and publishers can contact you directly if they are interested in your profile.
    • Finally, write as much as possible - and get people to read your work. Listen to their feedback and take steps to constantly improve your output. You get better and faster at it at the same time.

    2. Examining

    If you like teaching exam classes, there's a good chance you'll enjoy examining too. Training to be a speaking examiner is a great way to earn some extra money and can also help you better understand test formats and mark schemes. This will certainly also benefit your students in the future too.

    Specific requirements for examiners vary depending on the exam board. However, as a rule of thumb, you need a lot of experience teaching the level you wish to examine at. Here is an example job advert from Pearson outlining the expertise and competencies required to be a PTE General Examiner.

    You can also check out the recruitment sites from Cambridge Assessment English, IELTS and Trinity to get more of an idea if you are eligible.

    Like materials writing, examining can be very competitive, so here is some advice to help you get started:

    • Teach more exam classes. The more variety and levels you do, the more opportunities you'll have.
    • Familiarize yourself with the mark schemes to give you a deeper understanding of how examiners think. Most of this information can be found in teacher handbooks like this one for PTE.
    • Help organize mock exams at your school. This will give you valuable experience examining as well as organizing students and materials.
    • Start as an invigilator for written exams. If you do a good job, it'll show that you are competent and you'll learn more about how exam days are structured.
    • Contact your local exam center and introduce yourself. And who knows? They might even be recruiting.

    3. Academic Management

    Another common career goal for long-term English teachers is to become an Academic Manager or Director of Studies (DoS). A successful DoS assumes many roles; often having to organize teachers' schedules, deal with students' concerns, develop new courses, and find cover (or teach) classes at the last minute. They may also need to help with the school's marketing and business side, too.  

    Many academic managers are employed internally, so get involved with what is going on at your school and apply for smaller coordination positions to see if it's something you enjoy.

    You can also try:

    • Offering to help with placement testing of new students. This will help you get to know the type of students at your school and the objectives they have, and also learn more about the levels and courses on offer.
    • Not limiting yourself to teaching one kind of course. If you work at an academy that offers courses for young learners, teens, adults, exam preparation, business etc., try them all. A good DoS should be able to offer advice to all the teachers.
    • Taking a course - most academic managers will be expected to have an advanced TEFL qualification like a DELTA, an MA TESOL or something similar. Specific leadership and management courses are available for those who want to specialize in this area, such as Leadership in ELT.
    • Offering creative ideas or constructive criticism to the current management team about how the school runs and what you think could be even better.
    • Organizing an event for teachers and students to show you are interested and have the type of skills that are needed.
    • Apply for academic management positions in summer schools to give you a taste of what's to come.

    4. Teacher Training

    If you are interested in teaching methodologies and sharing your knowledge with others but not keen on the admin side, then teacher training might be for you.

    As a teacher trainer, you may be required to run workshops on various topics, observe teachers and offer feedback and help with lesson planning. This means it's vital that you can listen to others carefully and clearly explain things.

    Here are some ideas to give you a better chance of finding work as a teacher trainer:

    • Organize informal workshops at your school. Encourage teachers to share ideas that have worked well for them with the rest of the staff.
    • Try team teaching where you and a colleague teach a class together. It's a great way to learn from each other and give your students a new experience.
    • Practice giving feedback by doing peer observations with other teachers.
    • Submit a proposal for a conference to see if you enjoy presenting.
    • Mentor a new teacher at your school.
    • Take an advanced teaching qualification to boost your knowledge.
    • Find teaching work in a school that also run their own initial teaching qualifications like the CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL. If you impress the DoS with your teaching skills - they may recommend you get involved with the teacher training department.

    Where to apply for jobs

    The best place to look for new opportunities is often at the school where you currently work. Start by trying new things and showing an interest in the day-to-day running of the organization. Once you've got the attention of the management it will be easier to negotiate a new position. However, if you work at a small school with fewer chances to grow professionally, think about moving to a new school.

    Other good places to look for new positions include:

  • A group of friends sat around a table playing games
    • Just for fun
    • Language hints and tips

    12 games and puzzles to level up language learning

    By Pearson Languages

    Enhancing your English skills doesn't have to be limited to studying textbooks and doing grammar exercises. One of the most enjoyable and effective ways to improve your proficiency in the language is by playing games and solving puzzles.

    These interactive activities not only stimulate your mind but also provide a fun way to challenge your cognitive abilities and immerse yourself in the English language.

    In this language learning blog post, we've put together a list of puzzles and games that can help you boost your vocabulary, grammar, comprehension, and communication skills while having a great time.

  • Business men chatting in front of a computer screen and papers
    • English language testing
    • English certification and assessment

    Versant English language test: Assessment tools for business

    By Pearson Languages

    You may have heard about Versant, an English test you can take remotely. You may have also heard that companies often use it for interviewing job candidates. 

    But what does the Versant test assess? And is it the right English proficiency test for you - or your company?

    In today's language learning blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Versant. You’ll find out who it’s for, which language skills it tests, and why companies use it to assess candidates.

    What is Versant?

    Versant allows companies to quickly and efficiently evaluate the English language proficiency of their current or future employees. It helps HR managers assess candidates' language skills; as a result, companies can use Versant for recruitment, training, or promotion purposes.

    Versant tests use artificial intelligence, machine learning, and auto-marketing technologies to streamline testing. This way, they can score assessments automatically, quickly, reliably, and securely.

    Who is the Versant test for?

    Imagine that HR Manager Maria has to hire a dozen new customer service representatives for her company. She only has a month to do it and is already overwhelmed with her other HR duties. And now, she has to screen tens - and potentially hundreds - of candidates. Above all, she needs to find people with a good enough English level to excel in a demanding customer service position. 

    Test takers can complete Versant English tests online or offline, anytime, from anywhere. So if Maria chooses to use Versant tests to assess her candidates, she can run and deliver hundreds of standardized tests and get instant results.

    Moreover, the administration of the test is very intuitive, so it won’t take up too much of her time. And the easy-to-understand detailed score reports that Versant provides will make her hiring decisions all the easier. 

    Similarly, a job seeker will be delighted to take an online English test from the comfort of their own home. Since Versant test delivery is flexible, they can choose a time that suits them. All they need is a reliable internet connection and a headset with a built-in microphone.

    The Versant test will provide solid proof of the candidate's English level by evaluating language skills accurately and reliably. So they can demonstrate to the company just how well-equipped they are to do the job they're applying for.

    How is Versant structured and which skills does it test?

    Different companies have different assessment needs. Some need their employees’ language skills to be well-rounded. Others focus on speaking skills. Others put a stronger emphasis on writing. Therefore, the Versant suite has four types of English proficiency tests to cater to all these needs:

    1. The Versant Professional English Test 

    The Versant Professional English Test is the most thorough of the 4 test types. It takes 60 minutes to complete and assesses all four skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. It has 10 different task types covering a broad range of language abilities. The Versant Professional English Test is a comprehensive test. So, it’s the best choice for companies that need their employees to have mastered all aspects of the English language.

    2. The Versant English Test

    The Versant English Test is a shorter, 17-minute English proficiency test focusing on evaluating speaking skills. It assesses the candidate’s ability to communicate effectively in English with tasks that target fluency, pronunciation, vocabulary, and sentence mastery. Thanks to this, it’s best for companies whose employees use spoken English primarily. For example, call centers, hotels, or delivery drivers.

    3. The Versant Writing Test

    The Versant Writing Test takes up to 35 minutes to complete. It allows companies to gauge the writing abilities of candidates. It tests skills such as grammar, vocabulary, organization, voice & tone, and reading comprehension. 

    This English test for interviews is ideal for companies whose employees primarily use English in writing. For example, they use English for taking notes, responding to emails and chats, or writing product descriptions.

    4. The Versant 4 Skills Essential

    The Versant 4 Skills Essential is a test for companies looking to hire employees who are proficient in all four English language skills. Companies usually use it for filling entry-level positions. The test has a shorter time frame of 30 minutes and can be delivered flexibly online. Therefore, it’s ideal for fulfilling urgent recruitment needs. 

    What are the key benefits and features of Versant tests for administrators?

    Versant tests are straightforward to administer. They seamlessly blend into an HR manager’s routine. Here are some of the key benefits of Versant English proficiency tests for administrators:

    1. Automated scoring 

    Versant has been perfecting its AI-based assessment technology for over 25 years. Because of the incredible amount of research that has gone into creating a reliable scoring system, Versant is able to automatically mark tests without the need for a human scorer. This provides a wide range of benefits for companies. 

    Firstly, they can save time and money when testing job candidates. Secondly, unlike human scorers, Versant is free of bias and scores every candidate in a completely objective and consistent way. And thirdly, it prevents cheating by automatically alerting administrators of any suspicious test-taker behavior. 

    2. Score reports

    Another huge benefit is that Versant presents instant results in easy-to-read score reports. These contain detailed information about the candidate’s language abilities. And they highlight skills that companies deem important so administrators can evaluate them at a glance. 

    Versant score reports assign a CEFR or equivalent Global Scale of English score to the candidate. Consequently, the candidate’s results become comparable to international standards. And the score reports contain suggestions for improvement, so candidates like Fred can practice the tasks that they’re not yet proficient at.

    3. ScoreKeeper test administration tool 

    Last but not least, Versant tests come with the handy ScoreKeeper administration tool. It lets administrators deploy tests and review score reports in an easy-to-use platform. ScoreKeeper was designed with HR professionals in mind. As a result, managing tests, uploading rosters, and exporting results with the tool is a breeze.

    Why do HR managers choose Versant tests?

    From the above points, it’s easy to see why an HR Manager would choose Versant. 

    Versant automated language tests are an essential tool for scaling up your recruitment and candidate testing efforts. Most importantly, they allow HR Managers to save time and resources. And they let them focus on what they do best instead of trying to screen hundreds of candidates for English skills. 

    Versant doesn’t just significantly speed up the hiring process and cut down on costs. Above all, it lets HR departments manage secure, reliable, and bias-free standardized tests in bulk.

    If you think that your organization could benefit from a quick, easy and reliable automated English proficiency test, find out more about Versant.

  • teenage boy studying with headphones on and  with a laptop
    • Linguistics and culture

    Why should I learn English?

    By Pearson Languages

    English is the second most widely spoken language – it is estimated that nearly two billion people worldwide can speak English at a useful level. That means they can hold a conversation with other English-speaking people.

    A report by the British Council attests the importance of the English language to the world, and says that non-native English speakers far outnumber native speakers. It also recognizes how being able to speak English can give individuals a competitive edge over others. If you're asking the question, "Why should I learn English?", read on to find out more...

  • A child sat on a bed reading a book
    • Young learners
    • Language teaching

    Motivating children to read English books with fun activities

    By Pearson Languages

    Why is reading important? 

    Apart from being a great hobby and fun activity, it can help children improve in many areas of their lives through developing key transferrable skills. Reading in their native language and English can bring a whole range of benefits. To engage everyone, they must understand the benefits themselves.   

    Ask your students why it's important and create a mind map of ideas. You may also wish to use some of the points below to start the conversation. Having a common idea that everyone agrees on can help build motivation and engagement in the classroom. 

    Improves language skills 

    Regular reading develops children’s linguistic skills – it helps them learn good sentence structure, grammar, vocabulary and improves spelling in their own language and in the English language too. Reading aloud also strengthens knowledge of phonics and improves pronunciation and articulation.  

    Improves memory 

    It can help to develop knowledge of phonics and vocabulary recall and improve focus and concentration – all necessary skills when learning a language. 

    Cultivates curiosity 

    Books help kids’ imaginations to grow and encourage them to be more open-minded. They help us to learn about other cultures and encourage us to think more creatively. Through subtle messages, reading builds an awareness of the world in which we live and enables children to form their own opinions and ask questions. 

    Creates empathy 

    Stories help to develop children’s emotional intelligence and empathy towards others. Exploring topics and characters allows them to learn about real-world situations and think about how they would feel in somebody else’s shoes. It encourages respect for others’ feelings as well as other cultures.  

    Reduces stress 

    It is a great way to calm the mind and help us relax and destress. Children can learn to use it as a helpful tool in their day-to-day lives.   

    Develops key life skills 

    Children develop their confidence, communication, resilience, patience, social skills and connect with the wider world, culture and communities. 

    So how do we motivate our young learners (even our most reluctant readers) to develop a passion for reading? 

    It must be fun, purposeful and relevant 

    Well-known adaptations can remove barriers, support and encourage students’ imagination, and spark a genuine interest. They give purpose and relevance to the students as most students have watched a movie at some point in their lives and most students have a favorite movie or character.  

    Let your young learners choose 

    There are plenty of English Readers to choose from – if the students can choose their own readers, they will likely be more motivated and focused. Choice gives the students power and makes it more relevant to them. Ask your students to choose their favorite movie and have a vote as a class. Get to know your students, find out what interests them, and base your book choice around this. 


    To motivate students, they must know that they are making progress. Reward students for their achievements – for example, create a vocabulary wall or a class book chart and give rewards like a sticker or a postcard to take home. 

  • children holding hands in a line with a parent outside
    • Language learning
    • Language hints and tips

    11 Offline English learning ideas

    By Pearson Languages

    In today's fast-paced digital era, online resources and language learning apps have become the popular means for mastering English. However, offline language learning has its own unique charm and benefits. Engaging our senses and connecting with the physical world around us can enhance our language skills in ways that no app can match. In today's language learning blog, we discuss offline language learning activities that can help you towards becoming a confident English speaker, even without an internet connection.


  • A teacher stood at the front of a class holding a tablet in front of adult students
    • Language teaching

    9 steps to teaching advanced business English

    By Pearson Languages

    The challenge of teaching business English to C1 level students

    Once your English students reach a B2 level of English, they’re fairly competent communicators. For many learners, their motivation to improve starts to suffer when they reach this intermediate plateau. They understand almost everything and can express themselves clearly enough - so why would they want to continue learning English and achieve a C1 level of English?

    The CEFR describes C1-level learners as proficient users of a language. C1-level students have a high proficiency in English and perform well in an international work environment.

    How can we help our upper intermediate students reach this level and see the benefits in their own lives and careers? Here are nine steps you can take as an English language teacher to help your students achieve language proficiency.


  • a man with a backpack stood in a street with shops
    • English for work and migration

    How to prepare for student life in the UK

    By Pearson Languages

    Deciding to study in the UK is a big step. Moving to a country with different food, language, culture and weather can make you nervous. It is completely normal to experience this.

    You may feel overwhelmed by the unfamiliarity of these things compared to what you are used to. Studying abroad can be a very rewarding experience once you get used to your new situation. 

    So how can you conquer your fears? Here are some tips to prepare for life as an international student studying in the UK.

    Research student life in the UK 

    Even though you're in the United Kingdom to study, you need to balance studying with a social life. Otherwise you risk boredom or worse, burnout. Luckily, students all over the world love to socialize, and British students are no exception.   

    The most well-known time to join student life in the UK is at Freshers Week. This is when new students are welcomed to the university with various social events. There's a fair where university clubs and societies try to get new members. There are clubs for many interests, hobbies and sports, so it's an excellent way to meet people who share your interests. There are some pretty unusual clubs too. At Cambridge, for example, there's a secretive group that climbs university buildings in the middle of the night

    Freshers Week is also a great opportunity to talk to everyone you can. Whether it's in the queue to get your student card or to your neighbor in your first lecture, everybody is in the same situation as you - they know nobody and are trying to figure out who to be friends with. During Freshers Week, you can make good friends and converse with other students. It's all about meeting new people.

    Get to know the faculty and staff 

    On your course website you'll be able to have a look at the academic staff and Ph.D. candidate profiles. Learn about their research interests and read a few abstracts of their past publications to get an idea of their work. This will help you understand their main focus during teaching and give you ideas for independent study projects.

    You can get to know the academic staff by signing up for online events before term starts. You'll hear them talking about the course and what you'll learn on it. Think about the questions you might ask. Before the event you should read your course syllabus. While you read, consider the reasons for choosing or arranging certain topics in a specific order. If you have any questions, make a note of them. 

    You might even be able to watch past lectures or sign up for events that they are participating in. That way you'll have some familiar faces around the department when you arrive at your university.

    Find out about the student union 

    Student unions are a big part of UK universities. Every university has a union that you can join. Sometimes there are a few different student unions, so you can choose the one you think would suit you best. Student unions are on-campus buildings where students can attend events, eat, study and socialize with others.

    But as well as organizing clubs, societies and social events, they can also help with any problems you might have. Every union has a welfare officer, typically a recent graduate elected to assist current students with personal issues they may encounter.   

    An international students' officer will be available to assist with any issues overseas students may encounter. This officer will have personal experience as an international student, making them well equipped to provide support. Knowing there are people to listen and help with your problems can be comforting, even if you don't need their assistance.

    Learn about the local social scene

    University life is more than just what's happening on campus. You can investigate a whole world outside your institution. In addition to nightlife, dining and cultural events, there are also sports clubs, outdoor activities and community volunteering.  

    Reach Volunteering has many volunteer opportunities. It's a good way to use your skills to help others. Meeting locals and making friends is important while studying in the UK. It helps build a strong network. The more you see of life in the UK, the more you'll get used to it and feel at ease.

    If you're worried about your level of English - don't be. People in the UK are very tolerant of how their language is used. It's a truly global language, so there's no right or wrong accent.

    If you join the local community, expect to pick up a slight accent from the place you study. It shows that you have become a part of the community.

    Follow your university on social media  

    Social media is a key part of all our lives, and this also goes for university life. Schools use social media accounts to share positive information about their staff and students. They also post pictures from the campus.

    Occasionally, a student takes over their account, giving them a chance to show what it's like to study there.  

    Student-run sites and social accounts also give an insider perspective on student life. Sites like The Tab cover news relevant to students, and have sections that cover news at specific universities. The Student Room is also a place where current and former students discuss all aspects of student life in the UK, from exams to the TV shows students like to watch.

    Pay attention to the English language test 

    You'll have to pass an English test for your visa to study in the UK. Treat it as a chance to learn. Focus on the test content, as it reflects the daily tasks of the UK and student life.  

    For example, the speaking component of the PTE Academic test, which can be used for UK visas and to access 99% of British universities, tests your ability to summarise an academic lecture. You may have to summarize a lecture for a friend who couldn't attend, not just for your classes. 

    Every task on the test has a real-world application, so if you can pass the test, you can be confident that you stand a good chance of making the most of life in the UK. 

    Remember, although you can do as much research as you like, there's only so much you can learn online. To truly understand a place, you must be there and learn from the firsthand experience it offers. Be ready to be surprised and take advantage of things you never thought would happen. You only get to be an undergraduate once, so make the most of every opportunity.

  • Buisness people in a workplace stood around a table laughing
    • Business and employability
    • Language learning

    Business English idioms: Understanding corporate lingo

    By Pearson Languages

    When it comes to business, communication is key. Knowing how to use business English idioms can really help you express yourself, make connections and achieve success. These colorful expressions add depth and nuance to our conversations, making it easier to communicate confidently and effectively. 

    Today, we explore several commonly used idioms you might come across when using English in the workplace, providing examples of how they can be used and shedding light on their meanings.

    Ballpark figure

    A ballpark figure means an estimate or rough guess of a quantity or value. It's a handy way to give a general idea or range without getting too into the details. This can be really helpful during negotiations or planning when you don't need exact numbers. Ballpark figures give you a sense of the bigger picture without bogging you down with specifics. 

    In the red 

    If someone says they are "in the red", it means they are having a tough time financially and are experiencing losses or negative cash flow. This happens when expenses are more than the money coming in, resulting in a negative balance or deficit. The term originated from using red ink in financial records to indicate negative numbers.

    Blue-sky thinking

    A way to describe a really creative and outside-the-box approach to problem-solving or brainstorming. Basically thinking or brainstorming without any boundaries or limits. A manager might encourage a team to do some blue-sky thinking, allowing them to come up with some very imaginative ideas and concepts. 

    Square the circle

    An idiom for attempting an impossible task, originating from a math problem where you can't create a square with the same area as a circle using just a compass and straight edge. Someone may say trying to reach a solution all clients were happy with was like trying to square the circle, implying that it was a difficult and almost impossible task.

    Don't put all your eggs into one basket

    This saying suggests that relying on just one strategy or investment is not wise. It emphasizes the importance of diversification and spreading risks for long-term success. To achieve sustained success, a financial advisor may suggest to their client to diversify their investment portfolio and not solely rely on one option.

    Make ends meet

    The meaning of making ends meet involves being able to complete a task or project using the existing income or resources. It requires efficient management of finances to cover necessary expenses, despite having a limited budget or resources. For instance, if someone is working on a project with a restricted budget, they may need to make ends meet as they cannot obtain additional funds to support it.

    Cover all bases

    This means considering every possible factor and handling them carefully to prevent problems or risks. Making sure everything is examined, and anticipating any potential challenges or situations. A business doing a report or analysis may want to "cover all the bases" to prevent any surprise issues or gaps.

    The origin of this is likely a reference to baseball. When playing defense, the goal is to protect or 'cover' your bases and stop the other team from getting points.

    Get down to brass tacks

    To solve a problem or task, by focusing on the important details and practical steps needed for success. Avoiding unnecessary distractions and concentrating on what's essential. For instance, a project manager might say, "Let's focus on the necessary steps we need to take to complete this project on time by getting down to brass tacks."

    Playing hardball

    "Playing hardball" means being tough and unwavering during negotiations or business deals. It shows that someone is assertive and firm in defending their interests. If the other party is unyielding, a skilled negotiator may suggest "playing hardball" to get a better deal.

    These are just a few of a long list, but by adopting idioms and English phrases like these into your professional interactions, you can strengthen relationships with colleagues and showcase your understanding of the business environment more clearly. Plus, it can give you a boost of confidence in your language learning and in navigating the complex world of corporate English.