Betteridge’s Law tells us that the answer to the question that the title of this post poses is, as with all other headlines that end in a question mark, an emphatic no. But unlike an article from the Daily Mail, today’s Midget Gem makes very interesting reading. Not a difficult feat I hasten to add as it’s all about the frightfully interesting monthly podcasts from OneStopEnglish,  oh and it might even get you a pay rise, a promotion or a new job.

Really! How so? I hear you ask. Well I recently applied to nine teaching jobs at summer schools in the UK. I secured four job interviews and three job offers but this article isn’t about that (if you’re interested in how that’s done let me know in the comments section below). This article is about a question all but one of the interviewers posed.

“So Donal,” they asked “tell us about some of your informal CPD activities”. Well, I really enjoy listening to the podcasts from OneStopEnglish I said.

Why I like the OneStopEnglish podcasts.

Just like your best lesson plans they follow a familiar format that is engaging and varied enough to hold your interest for 45 minutes. Along with the various personalities and accents of the presenters, the different sections of the show (and it does have a lively feel like a show rather than a stuffy radio program) sustain your interest even if you’re making the coffee or loading the washing machine (top tip: before hitting play on the podcast separate your whites and colours first  – because sometimes it is so interesting you might make a multitasking mistake).

OK, so here’s a quick rundown on what a typical episode sounds like.

  • It starts with a quick intro to the multiple team of presenters who comprise of a core team of three that is augmented each month by a guest teacher. This serves as a nice warmer where we find out what’s in store for the episode and, being teachers, they do this by bouncing ideas off each other eliciting information and differing points of view.
  • And if that hasn’t warmed your chalky cockles, the next section of the show is called ‘Warmer of the Month’. Here the guest teacher is asked to describe a fun, communicative warm up activity in no more than five steps. I’ve often used some of these in class the very next day.
  • Then follows ‘Word of the Month’ where a piece of ELT jargon is explained or demystified.
  • Next there’s an interview with a well known name in the ELT industry (think Scott Thornbury, Silviana Richardson, or Adrian Underhill et al)
  • This is quickly followed by a very juicy section called ‘Teacher’s Dilemma’. A delicate classroom or staff room problem is discussed and listeners are invited to send in their solutions or advice.
  • The show wraps up with a short, rapid fire Q&A which serves to bookend proceedings in a similar manner to the show’s lively opening.

I can’t really fault the show. It’s a really relaxing way to find out something new about your profession and several days later you often find yourself remembering something that was mentioned on the show, googling it and it becomes a springboard to further investigation.

And just to prove this isn’t a Macmillan ELT advertorial my only criticism is this. Whilst it’s a packed show and the 45 minutes seem to fly by I’d nonetheless like to see a ‘Career Clinic’ section where listeners write in for some personal career advice from the experienced and professional panel.

Well today’s Midget Gem is very simple. Get comfortable and tune for an episode or catch up with the archive of previous shows.  If you like what you hear don’t forget to pay it forward by visiting my GoFundMe crowdfunding page.

Donal, I’ve read this whole post and I still don’t know if Video (whoever he is) killed the Radio Star or not.
Well don’t blame me, it’s my writing teacher’s fault. Peter James taught me to always leave the reader wanting more. So follow my blog and you’ll be the first to find out if this Video chap is a murderer or not.


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