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Interviewing Paul Atkins - the Winner of this year's ELT Award at the 11th ELT Malta Conference

Published Bernice on Tuesday, October 18, 2022 11:51 AM

Winner of the ELT Award at the 11th ELT Malta Conference

At the end of last week we reported on the 11th ELT Malta Conference that took place on the 14th and 15th of October. Each year, at this conference, an ELT professional is given a recognition award for his or her work within the field of English Language Teaching. This year, we are pleased to announce that the award went to Maltalingua's Paul Atkins.

We asked Mr Atkins a few questions in relation to his career and how this led to such an important award last Friday. Here's what he told us.

S&A: What does this award mean to you?

PA: It means a great deal to me. Specifically, the recognition of my peers. Such kind comments from people I respect, apart from being good for my ego, act as a validation of the way I go about my professional life.

S&A: In your opinion, what is the characteristic that led you to win this prestious award?

PA: Good question - I have no idea, really. Perhaps the vocational aspect? I love teaching, and with a backround in teacher development I try to help my colleagues at Maltalingua as much as I can in their own professional development. In this industry we encounter many young and/or inexperienced teachers, and I do my best to help them see their potential, to become reflective practitioners - I would've benefitted from this myself at that point in my career. Though to be honest, I learn as much from them as they do from me.

S&A: How long have you been an English Language teacher for, and where have you taught?

PA: I've been a teacher for over 30 years now, and have taught in Greece, the Czech Republic, the UK and Malta (I arrived here 3 years ago). Like many of us, I drifted into academic management; after a few years as a DOS I found my way back into the classroom by retraining as an Ecology and Conservation lecturer at a state college in the UK; I taught and managed FE and HE courses, then ended up as their Learning & Teaching Development Manager. Eventually I decided once again to get back to the English language classroom so I took a Masters in Applied Linguistics to refresh my ELT knowledge, and off I went. And here I am.

S&A: Out of all the careers in the world, why this one?

PA: Initially? Honestly? To travel - with no qualifications apart from a CELTA, and no experience I was a typical "backpacker teacher" - and just as typically, I wasn't very good at first. I stayed in ELT because I became fascinated by the processes of learning, and because sometimes having effective Engish really does make a positive difference to people's lives (OK, a lot of the time it just reinforces privilege, of course, but still). And I returned to it because, towards the end of my career, I wanted to apply 30 years' of experience where it should be applied - in the classroom. Well, and because I wanted to travel...

From all of us at Schools & Agents, Congrats Paul!!

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