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ICANEWS Noviembre 2010, Año 7 # 20
Nick Beare Nick Beare in Argentina

Nick Beare, invited by Macmillan Publishers, visited Argentina in February 2010. He launched Evolution —Macmillan’s new series for primary schools —and he also delivered academic and commercial presentations in Buenos Aires, Tucumán, Mendoza and Mar del Plata. We had a chance to interview him during his stay in Mar del Plata.

ICANEWS: What makes your class special?
Nick Beare:
I think you’d have to ask the children I teach that question! Generally, though, I think a teacher can make a class special by getting everyone involved in the class, by giving the children lots of opportunities to use English in class, and by making sure that there’s a fun element in the class.

ICANEWS: In what way are games included in Evolution different from games in other textbooks?
Nick Beare:
In most textbooks, simple games are used to practise language. In Evolution, we have that type of game too but we also use game situations to present new grammar and vocabulary. Level 1 uses a television game show; in each unit two characters (Darren and Carla) play a different game and win points. In Level 2, two teams compete in outdoor adventure type games and in Level 3, we use virtual reality games, with quizzes and puzzles to solve about different countries around the world. So the games aren’t just an added extra, they’re the main content of the course.

Nick Beare

ICANEWS: What topics are included in the CLIL pages of the book? How have they been selected?
Nick Beare:
There’s a wide range of CLIL activities; the content falls under headings such as Mathematics, Science, Geography, Art, Music and Social Sciences. Sometimes the CLIL topics are very similar to what the children see in their other classes, sometimes they’re more like extensions of what the children see. Generally, as we don’t have a complete CLIL syllabus to cover, we can pick and choose themes for the books which we think the children will find interesting and useful.

ICANEWS Why would you say that Evolution is the best option for primary schools?
Nick Beare:
Whether it’s the best option or not depends on the school! Different schools need different types of textbook. I would say that it’s a good option for primary schools with 3 —4 hours of English a week because it teaches English in an enjoyable way, with its game themes, its cartoon stories, its raps and songs. It’s also set at a realistic level for the children, and it gives them lots of opportunities to use English in the class.

Nick Beare

ICANEWS: Now Nick, we know that you have been working as a teacher trainer for more than twenty five years, what can you tell us about your late experience as a trainer in Iraq?
Nick Beare: I’ve been working on a project in Northern Iraq for three years now; it’s been a very interesting and rewarding experience. Macmillan has a contract with the Kurdistan Regional Government, which controls the three Northern provinces, to supply all their ELT courses in schools. I’ve been dealing with the primary courses, and every time I go there I’ve been amazed and impressed by the enthusiasm of the teachers and the children. 

ICANEWS: What cultural differences can you refer to when it comes to teachers and learners teaching and learning English in Kurdistan?
Nick Beare: ELT books in Middle East are generally much more conservative in terms of themes and illustrations than the ones in Latin America. The basic principles, however, are more or less the same, and teaching a primary class in Kurdistan is very similar to teaching a primary class in Latin.

ICANEWS:Is this your first visit to Argentina?
Nick Beare: This is the third time I’ve visited Argentina and, as always, it’s been a very enjoyable and interesting experience.

Nick Beare

ICANEWS: How did you like your experience in Mar del Plata?
Nick Beare: This was the first time that I’d visited Mar del Plata. It reminded me very much of places like Biarritz and Santander —but it’s got its own unique character. Finding out that the Macmillan event was taking place in Silvina Ocampo’s house was extraordinary, particularly when the director told us that Borges used to go there. Borges was my very first introduction to Latin American literature (in translation) about 35 years ago! At the airport on the way back to England I bought some of his complete works (in the original this time), so now I’ve started reading in Spanish again, after a long break.
Quite apart from that, I can honestly say that the teachers from Mar del Plata are a great group of people to work with, and I really enjoyed our session there.

Nick Beare

Nick Beare has been involved in English Language Teaching for more than twenty-five years, with a particular interest in teacher training. Currently he is involved with materials production and teacher training in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, and with teacher training in various Middle Eastern countries. His publications with Macmillan ELT include Fantastic, Friends United, Winners and Evolution —Macmillan’s new series for primary schools.


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