Welcome to the second in our series of quick interviews with the key people from the Oxford TEFL team! Last month, we introduced you to our founder and Director, Duncan Foord. Now, it’s time to meet someone else who has been with Oxford TEFL since the early days, over twenty years ago. There have been a lot of changes since then – new premises, different courses, the acceleration of the digital revolution.
Some things, though, have remained consistent. Namely, our focus on providing quality teacher training and increasing the accessibility of TEFL throughout the world. Trinity DipTESOL Course Director David Young has been one of the key drivers in maintaining that core vision. Here, he gives us some insight into his professional trajectory, personal life and more.
What is the Trinity DipTESOL?
Just one more thing before we get down to the nitty gritty – a quick refresher! The Trinity DipTESOL is a Level 7 qualification equivalent to the Cambridge DELTA. It’s suitable for teachers with at least two years’ experience, and can open the doors to careers in training, management, materials writing and many others. Let’s hear from David now! There’s more detailed course information to follow.
NAME: David Young
NATIONALITY: Czech/ British
ROLE: Oxford TEFL Trinity DipTESOL Course Director
1) How did you become Trinity DipTESOL Course Director with Oxford TEFL?
Thirty years of teaching and training, one pandemic and being in the right place at the right time. I’d done my Trinity Diploma in TESOL in 2001 and moved into teacher training, primarily on the Trinity CertTESOL and Cambridge CELTA, but also for about 10 years on the Trinity DipTESOL. When everything went online in 2020, I continued working on the CELTA for Oxford TEFL and also doing online assessments for the DipTESOL. So, when the post of Course Director on the DipTESOL became available, it seemed a logical choice.
2) Which part of the role do you most enjoy?
Much like in regular teaching, the fact that you are always learning. Every time you attempt to teach something, you find new angles and new information. Working with the team here, I’m surrounded by real experts, but course participants also provide ongoing insights and illuminations into the world of teaching. I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but half the time I feel like I’m reading and studying just as hard as them in order to keep up. Trainees will then they’ll recognise this in their own teaching. There’s always a question waiting for you that you’ve never been asked before. This life spent discussing teaching with experts brings up very interesting points.
3) Why do you think the Trinity DipTESOL course is worth the investment?
For me it was on two levels. Firstly, it was the point when I stopped wondering whether I should get a ‘real job’ and gave myself the self-respect of saying this is a real job.
Secondly, it opened doors to other areas of the industry. While my goal was to go into teacher training, which obviously worked, it’s also led to other teaching and training options, examining and assessing, although looking back to what I enjoy most, I do still have regular English language students and enjoy that just as much as anything else.
4) What advice would you give to someone about to begin the Trinity DipTESOL course?
Start reading. Where to start might depend on your teaching context and also where your interests lie. I found (and still find) the Lexical Approach fascinating. Also, start the process of reflecting on your teaching now. Reflect on what went well in a class – this might only require 3 minutes at the end of a lesson to identify one thing you liked. Then ask yourself why it was successful and see if you can find an answer. It’s low investment and can be done in the period between pouring your cup of tea and it being cool enough to drink.
5) How has the TEFL industry changed during your career?
Professionalism. The days of turning up speaking English and imeediately getting a job are not exactly over, but the whole industry has a far higher level of training, the research is stronger, the discussion is more professional. It’s not the backpackers’ job that it was even if it still has great appeal as something to do on your gap year.
6) How do you spend your free time?
Reading professional journals trying to stay ahead of DipTESOL participants 😊. No, but really, Czech Republic is wonderful for walking. Best trails network I’ve known and so many easily accessible places and different landscapes (even if it lacks the beach). The rest of the time is usually spent in the kitchen pursuing perfection in whatever it is this month or spending far too much on vinyl.
7) What’s your favourite spot in Prague?
That’s a tough one, but I’m going to choose the tram stop by the National Theatre. It’s a beautiful spot in itself with the sunset coming over Petrin Hill, the theatre, the river, but it’s also where I rarely wait more than 5 minutes to get home from my favourite pub, Bar 7.
8) Tell us something about yourself that might surprise your colleagues.
I’ve represented Czech Republic in an international match of Subbuteo Table Football.