I’m delighted to have the opportunity to meet English language teachers on the Internet through Teaching English.

I am also really excited about learning from you and your experience and adding, I hope, a few useful ideas of my own.

I’ve been working in the cross-cultural area for most of my career in secondary, tertiary and professional education and have specialised in it for the last twenty years. Through my experience in the BBC English Department of the BBC World Service and through the British Council, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to work with teachers in their own environment.

We talk a lot about culture but I’m not sure we always think seriously about what we are teaching and why as language teachers we should be teaching it. So this is a great opportunity to exchange ideas about culture and how the subject should be taught. There are a number of issues which I think we could usefully discuss, such as curriculum, materials and methodology. However, I think we should start by asking this question. What do we mean by ‘culture’? Then I think we can ask ‘Why do I want to think that culture might be the fifth language skill?'

Barry Tomalin

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