About Me

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United Kingdom
I am an EFL teacher, French & Spanish lecturer, Business Trainer and Teacher Trainer. I have worked in Spain, France, Malaysia, Bahrain, the UAE. Now I am back in the UK, where I work as an EAP Lecturer for Wolverhampton University. I am also an IELTS examiner with Aston University. In my free time I enjoy tennis, sailing, snowboarding and watching foreign language films.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Kaycie Yates video

A Comment on her performance in the two work placements she did.

B Outline the things she should do to improve her employability.

C Suggest possible career paths she could explore in the future.

D Any other information you consider to be appropriate.

Hi Kaycie,
I have just seen the video of your two work placements and I wanted to offer you some advice on your possible future career options.

I realise that life is not always easy. You seem to have had some trouble when you were younger but I think you have proved from this experience that you are capable of success if you put your mind to it. As long as you find something you enjoy, work will not seem like a ‘chore’ and you will be able to pull yourself up, just like your ancestors did. It’s not fair to keep asking your mum to support you if she can’t afford it. Also, your boyfriends won’t be happy if you are always asking them for expensive things. You know from experience now that one day reality has to kick in and you have to make your own opportunities.

The lady in Liverpool is a good example. She was a single mum at 17 with no family to fall back on but she managed to make it by not being afraid of hard work. It’s a shame you didn’t enjoy working in the cafĂ© but, as the lady said: “hard work never killed anybody”. You can’t always have it easy with everything handed to you on a plate.

The next placement seemed much better and Karina was a good role model. She also started off as a pot washer. You have to start somewhere! You did well in the end even though you had to go to hospital in the middle. This is proof that you can succeed if you work hard. Maybe this is the kind of work you could do in the future? It could be glamorous if you are in a swanky hotel. 

Whatever you do, the work placements were a good learning experience so I hope you will learn from them and keep trying to do well in the future.
Best of luck!

Word count: 327

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Monday, September 16, 2013

A trip to the Jaguar factory, Castle Bromwich

Interesting facts about Jaguar that I learned from our trip today: Company background Jaguar is owned by a family based consortium from India called TATA group. They have bought up a lot of businesses, including Tetley tea and Corus steel. TATA have changed the fortunes of Jaguar, giving them investment and the freedom to design new cars. Interestingly, the group don't have shareholders and all the money they make goes into a family 'pot'. On the shop floor The Jaguar plant operates according to the principles of Kanban. This means that they have a central 'marketplace', like an IKEA store, and deliver components on a 'Just in Time' basis. This system, borrowed from Toyota, is a huge improvement on the waste that used to occur due to overproduction and the storage of large quantities of equipment. Deliveries around the factory are outsourced to DHL. A Kaizen, or 'continuous improvement' system is also in place. This means that tasks are compartmentalised and workers are given incentives for ideas to eliminate waste and improve efficiency. 90% of the assembly of the chassis is done by (Japanese and Swiss/Swedish) robots. At the finishing stage though (panel beating and door fitting) most of the work is done by skilled technicians. This is because problems may be different on each car and special tools may need to be designed to fix them. One big difference made by technology is that workers no longer need to do heavy lifting, for exampleof wheels or doors, due to 'assisted lifting' by robots. According to the guides, who used to work on in the factory, the finished car is ready to drive away, whereas in the past, 20 or 30 people would be crowded around it, fixing problems that were not detected until the end of the production process. The plant can produce around 70 luxury cars a day, though for some more popular models the turnaround time is faster. there is a waiting list of 6 weeks to 1 year, depending on the model. This is because rather than being mass produced, cars are now made to order.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Are multinational teams more successful? How is it possible to answer this question?

Review: Are multinational teams successful? (2012) Harmut Haas and Stephen Nuesch. 

 I have just finished reading this research paper and wanted to share my views.

At first glance, I imagined the article would discuss teamwork in business, but the entire paper is about a study conducted on the efficiency of football teams in the German Bundesleague. The research measures performance in 4284 football matches over a 15 year period and finds that multinational teams do not perform as well as those that are culturally homogenous.

Although there is a very thorough explanation of how the results were obtained, including independent judges of team performances, there are several issues that make me doubt the value of the research. Firstly, the paper mentions multinational team performance 'in many sectors', but all of the data collected refers only to football teams and their performance in sports. The research may be useful if the focus is on improving football team performance but, as factors such as language skills and cultural barriers to communication are not explored, the study is of limited use for anyone studying business or human resource management.

Attempting to classify the behaviour of any group of human beings is problematic due to the amount of variables (personality, training, language skills, the focus of the group activity) that need to be considered. Whilst this may have been an interesting study for the authors, who I assume are football fans, it does not, in my opinion, earn the right to be considered as a key text for human resource management studies.


Are multinational teams successful? (2012) Harmut Haas and Stephen Nuesch.
International Journal for Human Resource Management, Routledge. [online] Available at:
http://tinyurl.com/pgu8tsg  Accessed 3/9/13

Monday, July 8, 2013

Organisational Culture and Values

_____________________________________________________________________________ Dean Davey begins by asking: does culture affect the company's 'bottom line (profit)'? His answer is yes. He goes on to explain why. The talk is divided into 3 parts: 1. Definition of organisational culture and values This is divided into 3 sub-levels. Level one: tangible, observable artifacts i.e. how an office is organised. Is it hierarchical or flat? Level 2: Espoused values. This means the values that may be shared in the organisation's mission statement. Research shows that when employees share their company's values the organisation is more efficient. He gave an example of a small company that uses the LEAPT acronym (Love your work, have Energy, Audacity to try new things, Proof or results and Truth. Level 3: when culture and values are matched with the management approach 2. How is culture created? Davey argues that culture must be modelled by management and good behaviour should be rewarded, e.g. by prize giving. 3. What is the impact of culture? Davey discusses the difficulty for new managers of changing company culture. He describes resistance to change and the need for managers to match their own management approach to the exisiting culture and value system. Discussion The lecture was well organised, but would have benefitted from more concrete examples, like the LEAPT acronym. The idea of company culture is quite abstract, so more real life examples would help.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Brewood on PhotoPeach

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Polite requests - EFL role play

Politeness: embedded questions


Is there any                                                      chance you could open the door?

I don't suppose you could                                 open the door, could you?

Do you think                                                     you could open the door?

Would you mind                                                opening the door, if it's not too much trouble?


Erm, I'm afraid I'm ....


Sure, no problem!

That would be great. Fantastic thanks a lot

Role plays:
You have picked up the wrong bag. It looked the same as yours. You found the person’s number inside. Call them and ask them to meet you.

You have lost your phone on the train. You call it and someone answers. Ask them to return the phone to you.

You work in a shop. You suspect someone of shoplifting. Ask them to empty their pockets.

Your classmate has body odour. You want to tell them but you are afraid of upsetting them. Ask them to buy some soap.

You have invited someone out for dinner but you find out you don’t have enough money to pay the bill. Ask them to pay.

Someone keeps asking you out on a date. Politely ask them to stop asking.