Who is behind all this?

My name’s Anthony Gaughan and I work as an English Language Teacher and Teacher-Trainer in Germany.  I started working in ELT in 1995 and over the past 21 years I have mostly worked in the UK and Germany, with short trips to Poland, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Slovenia and Slovakia.

These days, I mostly work as a main course tutor and assessor for the CELTA award.  I also work as a Delta Module 2 tutor, and have also worked as a local tutor for the Distance Delta as well as an online tutor for the Trinity Diploma in TESOL, specialising in methodology.

I hold Qualified Teacher Status (PGCE-QTS) in the UK state education system, the Cambridge ESOL DELTA, a BA in English Language and Literature, and I am currently working on my dissertation for an MA in Applied Linguistics and ELT.

I believe in professional development and I practise what I preach by volunteering for local and international associations, most recently as the coordinator for TDSIG – the Teacher Development Special Interest Group of IATEFL.  I also present regularly at local and international ELT conferences, most recently as part of the British Council Signature Event at IATEFL 2015

I am especially interested in unplugged approaches such as DOGME ELT as well as use of technology.  As time goes on, I realise more and more that what I am searching for in teaching – and in life – is simplicity.

I hope you find something here which stimulates you – feel free to add your thoughts as comments to my posts here, or to contact me using this contact form or via anthony@teachertrainingunplugged.com

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  • Anthony,

    Thanks very much for all of this. So glad we met in Brighton, my only regret being that I cannot make it to Barcelona. After that polite beginning, can I play Devil’s Advocate about one issue? I describe myself as firmly of the Dogme faith, but about one issue I am definitely agnostic. Is there any evidence, anecdotal or other, that clearly indicates that it is “noticing” and dealing with emergent language that helps dogme learners to make significant language progress? How people learn and acquire language is such a mystery and “dealing with” language is so exercise-like that I have – until now – quietly wondered if getting learners to “notice” and somehow rework emerged language is no more than the old guilty feeling of the conscientious teacher to do something, get the learners to do something, to spend class time profitably instead of just letting learning go on however it does. Who really benefits from from that assiduous note-taking, all the learners or teacher/instructor/facilitator

    Open to persuasion,


    • It was a pleasure meeting you properly at Brighton 2011 too, Dennis (we also met very fleetingly at a workshop in Berlin many moons ago)

      “Where’s yer evidence?!” 🙂 I’ve never been good at remembering references and am away from my library, but two possible sources of persuasion come to mind:

        “It is not yet clear which kind of instruction works best but there is evidence t suggest that focusing learners’ attention on forms, and the meaning they realise in the context of communicative activities, results in successful language learning” (Rod Ellis (1994) The Study of Second Language Acquisition, OUP)
        Long’s Interaction Hypothesis and related research. Admittedly, this fronts the power of negotiation for meaning (which I share doubts about with Prof. Pauline Foster) but it also has something to say about the basic validity of focusing on emergent language over programmed input – if we are to focus on anything at all!

      But of course you are questioning precisely that – whether there is a point in explicit language study at all! I don’t have a neat answer for you, but a couple of thoughts:

        at this stage we do not have any reason to believe it is doing any harm to learning/acquisition
        explicit attention and heightened concentration seem to correlate with learning and achievement in other domains (a personal anecdote in lieu of empirical data) I master fencing strokes better when I am in a state of relaxed concentration and when my master focuses my attention on areas of my execution which I could do differently)

      Certainly not a compelling case I’ve presented here, but it’S the best I can do in the absence of a library and a cup of coffee 😉

  • So pleased I’d like to leave a message in this space. It’s much more a request. In fact, I’ve been working since 2000 as a language teacher in different schools in Algeria. I’m looking for where I can find a training to become a language teacher trainer. Please, help me!!
    Thank you very much!

    • Thank you for visiting! Big question: basically you can start as a teacher trainer by taking some training yourself or by simply starting to do it.

      I started by offering my school to run a workshop or two, which I later offered to do for my local teachers association. Then, my school asked me to train as a CELTA tutor, as we were going to start running those courses.

      That’s the “just do it” path, which can work if you have local opportunities like I did. If you don’t, than perhaps a training course like “train the trainer” offered by Pilgrims may help you get a job later. The British Council also have local projects where they train teachers to become mentors and teacher trainers, so contacting them for information would also be a good idea.

      Hope this helps, apologies for the delay in replying and best of luck!

  • Hi Anthony, did you do your MA at Leicester? I just finished mine there and your name is strangely familiar….

    • Hi Gabrielle,

      Thanks for stopping by. No, I didn’t do my MA at Leicester so I can’t be familiar from there. I comment on various blogs, or you may have come across me via IATEFL of something like that. Or perhaps you also went to Royal Holloway for your BA? Or are you a fencer? Shooting in the dark now 😉

  • It’s since long that I have been in search of an ELT expert like you- dynamic and practical.
    I have an experience working with a German in a Primary education Project ten years back and I relish the days when I learnt a lot as a teacher. I am learning a lot from your blogs.

    • Dear Kalim,
      Thank you for taking the time to write to me here. I am honoured by your comments and I am glad that I can inspire you in some way.

      Best wishes,

  • Your blog and your talk at the IATEFL, 2012 is stimulating and so thought -provoking. I have always had my reservations on people reacting to “Teacher Talk” adversely. I have found someone who thinks that “Teacher Talk” not only is handy but essential, too.

    I really like your blog and your views and ideas on ELT.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting, Manoranjan; I’m very happy you find this all worth reading.

      Let’s reclaim teacher talk from the hands of those who cannot use it properly!

      Best wishes,


  • Hi Anthony! I am happy to have found your blog and your website. I am looking forward to reading what you and other engaging and, as another person commented above, thought-provoking teachers and trainers in the field have to say. As a life-long language learner, I am now taking the first baby steps into the field of language teaching. Thanks for the links to IATEFL and DOGME ELT (excited to find an interview with Krashen in the first several posts there). All the best! – Katrin

  • I’ve just begun the process to become a CELTA trainer at The Campbell Institute here in Wellington, NZ. Thank you very much for all your pearls of wisdom! I really like how you’ve formatted the advice into parts.

  • Dear Anthony Gaughan,
    As in the CATAPULT project we are looking at ways of sustainable ways to have a shared bibliography in LinguaCoP (//linguacop.eu), a community site for LSP teachers, I noticed your public library resource and wondered what your experiences are with the number/frequency of the contributions, and/or user behaviour in general.
    Also the word ‘pending’ made we wonder if there is any form of editorial control mechanism active?
    Thank you for a reaction

    • Dear Ton,
      Thank you for visiting, and for this introduction to your work, which sounds really useful and interesting. I set up the unplugged public library over 10 years ago and as you might expect, engagement with it was at its peak in the early days, which coincided with a peak in interest in Dogme ELT (AKA teaching unplugged), a movement in English Language Teaching which was called into being by Scott Thornbury in 1999/2000. So these days I am very surprised still to receive occasional edit notifications from Google, though these are now generally to flag up dead URLs as content is (re)moved. “Pending” there was just a note to go back and update that cewll value, which never happened. There was never any editorial control mechanism; indeed, when I set it up, as the indstructions to users on the page show, I wanted this to be a truly open resource. It constantly amazed me that this was never abused. I hope this answers your questions; all the best with your own project!

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