For those website readers who don’t like checking out CVs, here’s my story in prose.
I have worked and lived in many corners of the world, until I landed in the Netherlands, where I have lived for more than two decades. After graduating from Exeter University, my career started at a language school in Vigo in north-eastern Spain. It continued at a bilingual school, St. John’s School in Concepción in Chile. There I taught for four years, was a class mentor and organized a drama festival for the British Schools in Chile. It was a steep learning curve – learning Spanish, dealing with teenagers, and creating materials that would motivate them. And I travelled around South America, trekking in the mountains and enjoying the wildlife and people in Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands. It was talking to and working with Eddie Edmundson at the British Council in Concepción that I decided to take my career as teacher and trainer more seriously, so I went back to the UK for a year for my Masters in Applied Linguistics in the heyday of Lancaster University’s Linguistics department.
Shanghai International Studies University was my next step; I taught English and the IELTS to Chinese professors who had obtained grants to study in the UK, as part of a project managed by the Overseas Development Administration (ODA) and the British Council. My second year in China took me to Lanzhou University. It was a delight to develop and deliver a postgraduate teacher training course with my Chinese counterparts. After that, I taught at Warsaw University in Poland, at first in the English department, and afterwards in the teacher training department. It had just been set up and I was teacher training adviser to six colleges - again an ODA project. During the same period, I followed and then taught on a teacher development course at International House in Hastings with Adrian Underhill; from him I learned that personal development is just as important as professional development, an idea which is still dear to me. At that time, I was very involved in the IATEFL Teacher Development SIG, becoming the TE Newsletter editor for some years.
At Warsaw Teacher Training college, I met Catherine Green – still a dear friend – where we decided that the teacher training materials on the market weren’t really suitable for our trainees. We decided to write a book to fill that gap, which eventually became two books: a course book and trainer’s book Tasks for Teacher Education: a Reflective Approach, influenced by the work of Michael J. Wallace. The course book sold over 16,000 copies in more than 90 countries and has only just recently gone out of print.
Love took me to the Netherlands and I worked in the English department at Windesheim University for four years as a pre-service teacher trainer. I set up a teacher development group here, where I made some firm friends, including Jenny de Sonneville who has and will continue to have a lifelong influence on my work. Four years later, I moved to Leiden University and four years after that to Utrecht University, nearer to where I live in Amersfoort. In Utrecht, I continued to work as a pre-service trainer and worked on our postgraduate Master’s degree for CLIL (content and language integrated learning). During that time, I also studied online at WideWorld and became an online coach for Harvard, facilitating courses in multiple intelligence theory and differentiation. And that was the time that I had my children.
When our children were 5 and 10, we spent seven months as volunteers for Mondo Challenge in Tanzania where the children had the time of their lives at the Braeburn School just outside Arusha, in small, mixed nationality classes with lots of drama and sport. I worked at a Tanzanian NGO, Women In Action, or WIA, raising funds for people and their families who were victims of HIV AIDS. I set up a small jewellery business, teaching women volunteers to make necklaces for the tourist industry; we made a profit within 6 months. My first seeds in entrepreneurship were sown in Africa.
After our African adventure I wanted a change, so moved into the in-service training department at Utrecht University. My boss, Lia Voerman, asked me during our introductory discussion, “What makes you happy in your work?” I told her I wanted to develop in-service CLIL. And so I did; I developed CLIL courses for language and subject teachers in the Netherlands working in bilingual education. I carried out some small research projects and also became part of a three person writing team for CLIL Skills, a practical book for secondary CLIL teachers. I recently wrote CLIL Activities (with cd-rom) with Liz Dale for CUP: innovative activities for Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) teachers and trainee teachers..
During the past few years I have done some personal development courses, looking at many aspects of my life. The ITIP “School for work and life” three-year course has influenced me particularly in the past few years . And after fourteen years at Utrecht University, I decided that it was “now or never” for my own enterprise. On midwinter’s day, 21 December in 2012 - 21-12-2012 - I biked to the Chamber of Commerce and officially branched out on my own as Rosie Tanner Education Consultant. Since then, my heart has been stolen by the BLISS project in Bihar (north-east India), teachers and trainers in Japan and Kazakhstan and many participants at my CLIL and ELT workshops and courses in the Netherlands.
Who knows what the future will bring?