We’re a small independent language school in Scotland, on a mission to do things differently.

In this blog, find out how we are changing the ELT industry.

English Learning – Differently!

A Late Night Call

How is my English?

How good do I speak English?

This conversation is happening because I have a new WhatsApp button on my website.

I added it so that anyone finding my website can send a quick request for information about my English Conversation Holidays in Scotland.

My WhatsApp button is intended for messaging.

It’s really not intended as a 24-hour advice centre, but I’m currently testing it to see if the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.

At the moment, it’s just one or two random calls a week, and with no clear leads.

However, I’m in this job because I like chatting with new people. So far, it’s not an intrusion (note to self: don’t switch the video call on late at night again).

Creative English Learning - Blue Noun Language Hub

English Language Teaching is a Skill

‘I can’t grade your English for you like this, but do you have an enquiry?’

The caller explains he is looking for pronunciation advice. How can he improve his pronunciation?

‘I’m an English teacher’ he says. ‘How good is my English for my students?’ He repeats. ‘Is it ok?’

Ahh. I understand this one, but unfortunately,  it’s not a just a one word answer.

‘It’s not so much about how good your English is, it’s about how you teach. ‘They are not the same thing’.

Not everyone who can speak English well can teach it.

It’s More Than A Good Accent

Having great pronunciation does not mean you can teach that skill to your students.

ElT teachers don’t just demonstrate English, they help their learners use paths through it.

Creative English Learning - Blue Noun Language Hub


English Language Teaching | Poor Traditions

I am speaking firmly because one of the most harmful beliefs in the ELT industry is the misbelief that when you speak a language fluently you automatically can teach it.

Although this is obviously not this guy’s case (he  has a Spanish accent), the internet is full of untrained, inexperienced ‘native English teachers’ who offer you ‘conversation practice’ without knowing how (and when) to correct your errors, how to structure building your English skills and especially, how to coach highly skilled aspects of speech, such as pronunciation.

To be completely honest, this widespread misbelief is how I crashed into a career in ELT 20+ years ago.
My post-graduate degree and ‘mother tongue’ English got me through the door, without anyone checking I knew much about the structure of the English language.

online English teacher red flag graphic part 1

It’s deeply unfair and racist,

and at that time, it was also widespread.

The ‘Right’ Kind of English

20 years ago British people (especially ones with ‘the right accent’) could walk into jobs at the expense of well-trained, fluent ‘non-natives’ who have invested in becoming excellent teachers, and knew how to lead learners through the giant potholes and obstacles on the road of language learning.

Skills it took me many subsequent years to learn.

Many language schools still perpetuate this mindset as it gives them a superior market edge.

As for discriminating against different accents in English?

That’s a Whole Different Story! 

L2 English Language Teachers

This caller is a so-called ‘non-native’ teacher, and in the ELT world – likely on the receiving end of such prejudice (many non-natives can’t progress in their career/earn less than their colleagues).

I am speaking firmly because I respect his skill and position as a teacher, in an industry which often doesn’t.

However, he should also know that teaching skills do not start and stop with his own ability to speak English.

ELT Search Terms

It seems to me he’s both searching for tools to help his students and the confidence and affirmation in his own abilities to deliver them.

Not knowing exactly how to find these online, he’s stumbled onto my site.

The online English teaching market IS flooded and confusing.

It is only when you know the search terms you are looking for, that you can quickly find the specialist teacher you need. (And knowing search terms in a second language is extra tricky).

I was happy to give him some pointers.



Search for ‘ELT pronunciation tools for L2 English teachers’?”


English pronunciation workshop at Blue Noun with Jennie Reed

Jennie Reed | Pronunciation Expert

I also know a fantastic English teacher who is not only a pronunciation coach, but her clients are non-native English language teachers around the world – all searching for the tools and training to become better, more confident English teachers to help their students.

I have no idea of this caller’s resources and budget, but I know Jennie has free YouTube Tutorials and regular free webinars.

She also has a really affordable monthly conversation club which gives a lot of information (and a like-minded community) for a very reasonable fee.

If the caller gives me his email, I’ll pass it on to her. She’ll contact him.

They seem a great match for working together.

Creative English Learning - Blue Noun Language Hub

An Independent English Language Teacher Network

I believe this is how finding an ELT teacher SHOULD work.

For too long, language schools or independents have missold their programmes from their self-appointed position of authority, squeezing clients into packages which it suit them to monopolise and deliver.

Instead, let’s have a fresh network of independent teachers all identifying the potential client’s needs, and connecting them with a teacher suited to serving them.

Let’s have a big helpful community supporting learners and each other.

Obviously, this approach is of greatest benefit to the client: Jennie is in a position not just to help my caller herself, but to offer him her whole network of learners as a community to support him.

(This is true for almost every English teaching ‘niche’.)

How to Find the Right English Teacher

As a client, the ‘secret sauce’ for finding the right English teacher is to first clearly identify your English language needs.

Only then get assistance from someone with an overview of the ELT industry in matching you with potential English teachers.

graphic for Online English Language Teacher Needs Analysis - hand & fingerprint

Independent Help to Find Your Next Online English Teacher

When you are ready to invest in taking your English to the next level, get independent help to learn what kind of teaching & course which will best meet your needs.

If you want to trust us with the first part of this journey, we have a Free Mini Needs Analysis you can take.

And our paid Online English Consultation is a detailed evaluation which will help you ‘hook up’ with the right English Language Teacher anywhere – but we have our own Recommended Online English Teacher Network to share with you too.

A Hub for English Teachers

The Benefits for Independent English Language Teachers

Less obvious may be the huge benefit to language teachers.

Imagine not working with ill-suited clients outside your best areas of expertise.

And get your dream clients passed to you instead.

Find out about our ELT Hub.


hands holding hub symbol | Alternative Ways to Learn English

Dream clients form self-help communities and groups.

The better matched you are, the less individual preparation work per class.

You are worth more to your clients when only you can help them.

Well-matched clients sail friction-free through your classes and content, whereas if you are poorly matched, it’s a struggle for both.

It might not seem obvious to pass work on, but you can and you should.

A strong network helps everyone grow.

Further Information

For more about the pedagogy of how we help your English, check out our Philosophy of Teaching.