The slippery grammar of spoken vs written English


My grammar checker and I are on a break. Due to irreconcilable differences, we are no longer on speaking terms.

It all started when it became dead set on putting commas before every single “which”. Despite all the angry underlining, “this is a habit which seems prevalent” does not need a comma before “which”. Take it from me, I am a linguist.

This is just one of many challenging cases where grammar is slippery and hard to pin down. To make matters worse, it appears that the grammar we use while speaking is slightly different to the grammar we use while writing. Speech and writing seem similar enough – so much so that for centuries, people (linguists included) were blind to the differences.

There’s issues to consider

Let me give you an example. Take sentences like “there is X” and “there are X”. You may have been taught that “there is” occurs with singular entities because “is” is the present singular form of “to be” – as in “there is milk in the fridge” or “there is a storm coming”.

Conversely, “there are” is used with plural entities: “there are twelve months in a year” or “there are lots of idiots on the road”.

What about “there’s X”? Well, “there’s” is the abbreviated version of “there is”. That makes it the verb form of choice when followed by singular entities.

Nice theory. It works for standard, written language, formal academic writing, and legal documents. But in speech, things are very different.

It turns out that spoken English favours “there is” and “there’s” over “there are”, regardless of what follows the verb: “there is five bucks on the counter” or “there’s five cars all fighting for that Number 10 spot”.

A question of planning

This is not because English is going to hell in a hand basket, nor because young people can’t speak “proper” English anymore.

Linguists Jen Hay and Daniel Schreier scrutinised examples of old recordings of New Zealand English to see what happens in cases where you might expect “there” followed by plural, (or “there are” or “there were” for past events) but where you find “there” followed by singular (“there is”, “there’s”, “there was”).

They found that the contracted form “there’s” is a go-to form which seems prevalent with both singular and plural entities. But there’s more. The greater the distance between “be” and the entity following it, the more likely speakers are to ignore the plural rule.

“There is great vast fields of corn” is likely to be produced because the plural entity “fields” comes so far down the expression, that speakers do not plan for it in advance with a plural form “are”.

Even more surprisingly, the use of the singular may not always necessarily have much to do with what follows “there is/are”. It can simply be about the timing of the event described. With past events, the singular form is even more acceptable. “There was dogs in the yard” seems to raise fewer eyebrows than “there is dogs in the yard”.

Nothing new here

The disregard for the plural form is not a new thing (darn, we can’t even blame it on texting). According to an article published last year by Norwegian linguist Dania Bonneess, the change towards the singular form “there is” has been with us in New Zealand English ever since the 19th century. Its history can be traced at least as far back as the second generation of the Ulster family of Irish emigrants.

Editors, language commissions and prescriptivists aside, everyday New Zealand speech has a life of its own, governed not so much by style guides and grammar rules, but by living and breathing individuals.

It should be no surprise that spoken language is different to written language. The most spoken-like form of speech (conversation) is very unlike the most written-like version of language (academic or other formal or technical writing) for good reason.


Speech and writing

In conversation, there is no time for planning. Expressions come out more or less off the cuff (depending on the individual), with no ability to edit, and with immediate need for processing. We hear a chunk of language and at the same time as parsing it, we are already putting together a response to it – in real time.

This speed has consequences for the kind of language we use and hear. When speaking, we rely on recycled expressions, formulae we use over and over again, and less complex structures.

For example, we are happy enough writing and reading a sentence like:

That the human brain can use language is amazing.

But in speech, we prefer:

It is amazing that the human brain can use language.

Both are grammatical, yet one is simpler and quicker for the brain to decode.

And sometimes, in speech we use grammatical crutches to help the brain get the message quicker. A phrase like “the boxes I put the files into” is readily encountered in writing, but in speech we often say and hear “the boxes I put the files into them”.

We call these seemingly unnecessary pronouns (“them” in the previous example) “shadow pronouns”. Even linguistics professors use these latter expressions no matter how much they might deny it.

Speech: a faster ride

There is another interesting difference between speech and writing: speech is not held up on the same rigid prescriptive pedestal as writing, nor is it as heavily regulated in the same way that writing is scrutinised by editors, critics, examiners and teachers.

This allows room in speech for more creativity and more language play, and with it, faster change. Speech is known to evolve faster than writing, even though writing will eventually catch up (at least for some changes).

I would guess that by now, most editors are happy enough to let the old “whom” form rest and “who” take over (“who did you give that book to?”).

This article was written by  and first appeared at on March 14, 2018




Being intelligible means that you are understood by the person you are talking to. World Englishes scholars Larry Smith and Cecil Nelson (1985) have suggested that intelligibility is made up of the following three components:

  • intelligibility, the ability of the listener to recognise individual words or utterances
  • comprehensibility, the listener’s ability to understand the meaning of the word or utterance in its given context
  • interpretability, the ability of the listener to understand the speaker’s intentions behind the word or utterance.


Most English language teachers probably assume that intelligibility is the responsibility of their learners. In contrast, the Smith and Nelson (1985) model focuses on the relative nature of intelligibility, suggesting that it is interactional between speaker and hearer, and that being intelligible means being understood by a particular listener at a particular time in a particular situation. What this means is that English users’ familiarity with any speaker’s way of talking is as important as how they are talking. In other words, the intelligibility of the English of Cormack and Bernadette you read and listened to earlier depends on how used you are to hearing their voices. Listen to them for any length of time, and they will become more intelligible (to you). The interactive nature of intelligibility is, regrettably, something so-called ‘international’ English tests ignore. How can speaking tests be valid and reliable when the examiner is (or is not) used to the test-taker’s variety of English?


Most English language teachers probably assume that ‘interference’ from their students’ first language is a major source of any communication problems. But, as Jenkins’ (2002) research on pronunciation suggests, effective international communicators use many features that differ from those of native speakers without causing communication problems. In addition to pronunciation features, there are also many grammatical and lexical features which have been shown not to hinder communication. For example:

  • non-use of the third person present tense –s: she look very sad
  • omission and addition of definite and indefinite articles
  • use of an all-purpose question tag: isn’t it? no?
  • increase in redundancy: we have to study about, black colour, how long time?
  • pluralization of nouns: informations, staffs, advices

(Seidlhofer 2004, p. 220)

(You can confirm the findings of this research yourself by looking again at the Ban Ki Moon interview used in the first unit, Thinking about English.)

Research into intelligibility by World Englishes and ELF scholars has demonstrated that, contrary to the assumptions of many English language teachers, there is no causal relationship between being a native speaker of English and being intelligible in an international context. Instead, they have suggested, it is vitally important for all speakers of English to practise listening to a wide range of varieties of English and to adjust their speech in order to be intelligible to listeners from a wide range of language backgrounds. In the words of Suresh Canagarajah (2007, pp. 923 – 924), successful English language users ‘are able to monitor each other’s language proficiency to determine mutually the appropriate grammar, lexical range and pragmatic conventions that would ensure intelligibility’.


ELF in your part of the world

How do (or might, in the future) your students use English to communicate with speakers of other languages? How important will their ability to use the forms of ‘Standard English’ be in these contexts?


Your answer will depend on your students’ age, location, access to the internet, hobbies, job, where they take their holidays, what other language(s) they speak, etc.

For example, if they have unblocked access to the internet, they may use some English on social networking sites and special interest discussion boards (like the bloggers we saw in the first unit of this course). They may use English at work for international commercial negotiations and transactions. Perhaps they sometimes holiday in a resort popular with international tourists. Or maybe they communicate in English with people from part of their own county where a different language from their own is spoken.

Only in some of these contexts will adherence to the norms of ‘Standard English’ facilitate communication, or be expected for reasons of social convention. And even where ‘Standard English’ might give users some interactional advantage or be expected from them (e.g. in formal writing), most users (NS as well as NNS) will be unable to perform with 100% accuracy.

This article first appeared at

Rethinking English as a Lingua Franca


We have all heard the facts that non-native English speakers outnumber native speakers. English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) research has looked at non-native interactions and has attempted to identify a core of important pronunciation, grammar, and pragmatic features that are common to these types of interaction. ELF has also ushered in conversation regarding English-ownership, native-speakerism (e.g. accent discrimination), accuracy, and pedagogy. However, Swan* (2017), in a comment piece for ELT Journal, throws many of the assumptions of ELF into question, arguing that ELF is nothing new, that ELF is not necessarily an expression of ownership or personal expression, and that targetlikeness may be a more appropriate focus when concerning pedagogy.

Swan’s first argument is that a non-native speaker’s need for accuracy is determined by the situation. Therefore, in some contexts, highly accurate English is required (e.g. academic contexts) whereas in others, low-accuracy should be perfectly acceptable (e.g. for travel). Sometimes accuracy is a matter of preference. As an aside, Swan acerbically states that some “may aim at and even achieve perfect NS-like competence (including all the NNS proponents of ELF I have ever met)” (p. 512).

Swan also takes into consideration some scholars’ pronouncements that ELF “norms” are an expression of personality and perhaps ownership of English. Some see English, or specifically ELF, as an idiosyncratic arena where anything goes because of this. However, Swan wonders how dropping third person -s or switching relative pronouns equates to personal expression. For most non-native speakers, it is the content, not the language, that gives rise to their personal expression.

Another of Swan’s arguments is that the assertion of “ELF” users, touted as a new reality among global English users distinct from EFL (English as a foreign language), is something of a red herring (p. 513):

very many of the world’s English learners merely seek an effective working knowledge of the language, without wanting or needing a high level of accuracy. This has nothing to do with the recent growth in the lingua franca use
of English or the implied existence of a new class of ‘ELF users’.

He argues that what is termed “ELF” is nothing more than non-native speaker English, and any “norms” in this type of speech cannot be identified. While ELF research does suggest a pronunciation core (see Jenkin’s Lingua France Core), “this is a recommendation for teaching purposes; certainly not a specification of what various NNS Englishes actually have in common, if anything. And any attempt to identify significant common grammatical features in NNS English that would make it possible to talk about ‘ELF’ as a variety rather than an activity has surely been abandoned. One of my main points is that there isn’t such a real common core (though we do need a better pedagogic core); so ‘ELF’ is just NNSE [non-native speaker English” (Swan, personal communication).


Pedagogically, the light ELF does shine on the issue of accuracy speaks to a possible need to distinguish high-accuracy language learning from what Swan calls a “general-purpose programme” (GP). In such a program, the content could not be based on ELF because such a pedagogy is impossible. Teaching students numerous non-standard alternatives for a phrase like “better than” (*better that, *better of) is “bewildering” (p. 512). In order for language to be taught, there must be some standardization to it (some set of “codified forms”). He notes: I would not continue to attend classes in, say, Spanish, if my teacher’s approach was to ‘generate location-specific, classroom-oriented innovative language models’ (Dewey ibid.: 166). I expect a Spanish teacher to teach me Spanish, not make it up.”

A GP programme, therefore, would not be based on various speaker models but on targets and what students need to master to accomplish those targets. Here, ELF research is useful in establishing what is not necessary to be taught rather than an alternative of what should be taught. Knowing what should be taught, on the other hand, is important and is at the moment under-researched in terms of to what extent deviations from native speaker norms matter. Rather than providing this, ELF seems to focus on accommodation strategies and related uses of language.

In the end, Swan does not discount ELF. He made it clear it is useful for establish what need not be taught, claims “‘ELF-aware’ teaching” is important, and praises ELF for bringing a pedagogic shift away from “over-perfectionist and ineffective teaching approaches” (p. 515). Instead, his goal was to raise the issue that an “ELF norm” (something of an oxymoron, as he points out) is nothing new, not an example of self-expression, and has limited pedagogic application.


Dewey, M. 2012. ‘Towards a post-normative approach: learning the pedagogy of ELF’. Journal of English as a Lingua Franca 1/1: 141–70.

Swan, M. (2017). EFL, ELF, and the question of accuracy. ELT Journal71(4), 511-515. Retrieved from

This post was written by Anthony Schmidt and first appeared at on February  5, 2018.


Can a Second Language Help You Learn a Third?

As bilinguals, one of our greatest hopes is that the efforts we have invested in learning a second language (L2) will also pay off when we learn the third one (L3). The more languages we know, the easier it should be to learn them, right? A positive answer to this question can have tremendous implications for language education. And yet researchers limit themselves instead to the non-committal “it depends.” Why is that? And what does our success in L3 learning depend on?


The first undeniable advantage involves strategy. If you learned your L2 as a teenager or an adult, you have managed to figure out what strategies work best for you. The more extraverted among us enjoy talking to target language speakers, while the introverts prefer to pour over textbooks and grammar books. I, for one, am an avid reader and foreign movie watcher, always hoping that new words will find their way into my memory effortlessly, in the process known as incidental learning. Research also shows that learners who are literate in both of their languages, and those who have metalinguistic knowledge, are in a particularly advantageous position because, among other things, metalinguistic awareness allows them to make comparisons and generate creative hypotheses.

Another area of potential advantage involves cross-linguistic similarities: learning a language typologically similar to the language or languages we already know allows us to utilize our prior knowledge through the process known as positive transfer or reliance on already familiar sounds, words, and grammatical categories. Unfortunately, not all of the similarities we perceive are real. Sometimes, our interlingual connections are erroneous, leading to what is known as negative transfer, which includes, for example, our reliance on false cognates, or faux amis. It was such superficial similarity between the Spanish word embarazada (pregnant) and the English embarrassed that led the marketing people at Parker Pen to enter the Mexican market with a bold slogan: “No te embarazará chorreándose en tu bolsillo” (It won’t impregnate you by leaking in your pocket).

And here is where it becomes interesting when a third language is concerned. We know that our first language (L1) affects the process of learning other languages, but we do not always expect that our L2 also wants to play an active role in the learning of L3. Yet this is precisely what happens and it is the influence from L2 Spanish that leads English-speakers learning L3 Italian to produce forms like aiudarono (helped, a blend of L2 Spanish ayudaron and L3 Italian aiutarono) or uccido (killed, a blend of L3 Italian uccisoand an L2 Spanish past participle –ido).

But then again it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that there is an interaction between typologically-related languages. My own Spanish mercilessly interferes with my Italian, while Polish and Russian emerge, uninvited, every time I try to speak Ukrainian. While inconvenient, this is hardly surprising. What is utterly counterintuitive is to see a typologically distant L2 (e.g., French) actively interfere with the L3 (e.g., German), as in the case of American linguist Larry Selinker who asked his German colleague in L3 German: Tu as mein Fax bekommen? (Did you [in french] get my fax [in German]?). The replacement of the L3 German Du hast with the similarly sounding French Tu as caught them both by surprise yet this is exactly what happens time and again—the previously learned foreign language suddenly pops out. Such interference, dubbed a foreign language effect, is so frequent that it may lead us to suspect that our brain has a separate section for all languages learned later in life.

Studies using neuroimaging techniques suggest that this is not the case. Rather, it appears that language processing is not restricted to single sites in the brain but spread across various parts. In addition, the same areas subserve different languages of multilingual speakers. The only difference is that the use of the native or the dominant language is optimized and thus more automatic, and the use of other languages requires more cognitive resources. The shared representation, in turn, means that all languages are connected in the multilingual mind. Like our second language, our native language does not remain an independent observer in the process of L3 learning. Instead, it influences it, through both positive and negative transfer, in ways that are sometimes subtle and at other times pretty visible, as we have just seen. Our L1 may even team up with the L2 in messing with our L3. And our first language is not immune from influences either, as experienced by the English speaker who upon returning from a short, two-week, trip to Germany joyfully informed his friends that He had drinken many beers (although, in this case, we may also be seeing a beer effect).


All in all, we should probably expect that the effects of the previous languages on L3 learning will be diverse. On the one hand, we come to the learning process as more experienced and better equipped learners but, on the other, our languages are not immune to playing tricks on us. The best we can do is to relax and enjoy the learning process, as well as appreciate the insights we invariably gain about our languages and ourselves.


De Angelis, G. (2007). Third or additional language acquisition. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.

De Bot, K., & C. Jaensch (2015). What is special about L3 processing? Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 18, 2, 130-144.

Selinker, L. & B. Baumgartner-Cohen. (1995). Multiple language acquisition: ‘Damn it, why can’t I keep these two languages apart?’. Language, Culture and Curriculum (special issue on multiple language acquisition), M. Ben-Soussan & I. Berman (eds.). 8.2, 1-7

This article was written by Aneta Pavlenko and first appeared at , on June 2, 2015. 


How will English language exams change in the next five years?

“As specific IELTS and Trinity exams are linked to visa applications it is unlikely a fully online provision will be deemed secure enough in the next five years. However, this doesn’t mean that for other purposes, English Language provision and exams will change significantly.”

With online English language courses gaining in popularity, Pat Moores, director and co-founder of UK Education Guide, looks at whether English tests will increasingly be offered online. Specific exams are linked to visa applications, but does that mean provisions cannot change significantly for other purposes?

The appetite for learning English shows no signs of slowing up. According to latest figures from the British Council there are over 1 billion people currently learning English worldwide.

Pupils take a GCSE mathematics exam at the Harris Academy South Norwood in south east London

There is also deepening interest in online delivery of English language courses. For example in May 2015, FutureLearn launched its free course ‘Understanding IELTS: Techniques for English Language tests’.

Over 2 million learners have now signed up for the IELTS course across multiple runs.

But what is the broader picture?

“This modularised approach allows learners to better understand what to expect before they decide to embark on an undergraduate qualification”

Currently, while online learning via IELTS and Trinity College is well established, the exam itself has to be sat at an approved test centre. If the IELTS exam forms part of a Tier 4 visa application, the test must be taken at a centre specifically authorised by UK Visas and Immigration for this purpose.

As specific IELTS and Trinity exams are linked to visa applications it is unlikely a fully online provision will be deemed secure enough in the next five years.

But more generally English Language provision and exams will change significantly.

Providers like Babbel already offer certificates for online language courses and have more than one million active subscribers worldwide.

While Babbel is a paid model of learning after a free first lesson, other providers like Duolingo offer a free learning model.

It also offers to ‘certify your English proficiency on demand, anywhere, for only $49’. The test can be taken from a computer in under an hour, and results shared with an unlimited number of institutions.

Additionally it offers colleges, schools and employers the opportunity to ‘get a picture of an applicant’s English ability through a certified proficiency score, video interview, and writing sample, available within 48 hours’.

These developments are particularly relevant as employers start to truly embrace ‘micro-credentials’ and starts to log these in secure sites using blockchain technology. These secure sites allow learners to keep their credentials ‘locked in’ and secure whilst allowing potential employers and institutions to access the qualifications.

Leading academic institutions on both sides of the Atlantic are already pioneering the work in secure logging of micro-credentials and also are offering micro-credentials themselves.

With institutions and providers working on micro-credentials very seriously, it is hard to see how this will not move forward in the coming months and years, especially with major employers supporting the work.

“Over 2 million learners have now signed up for the IELTS course across multiple runs”

“Last year, we introduced collections of credit-bearing courses with The Open University and the University of Leeds, with the option for learners to progress onto an undergraduate degree from these institutions,” said Simon Nelson, CEO at FutureLearn.

“This modularised approach allows learners to better understand what to expect before they decide to embark on an undergraduate qualification. In the case of the model we have created with the University of Leeds, learners that have completed specific courses via FutureLearn will be able to secure credits before they’ve even embarked on the degree with the institution.”

Will the day come when these micro-credentials, including the English language proficiency certificates being offered by Duolingo, Babbel and a version of the FutureLearn IELTS course, will become accepted qualifications for purposes that are not directly linked to visa applications?

It is hard to imagine that they won’t…

This article first appeared at on January 26th 2018


Variety is the key to motivating speaking activities


James Freeman has taught English in the UK, China, Malaysia and Ecuador, and is a speaking examiner for both Cambridge YLE and Main Suite exams. In this article he shares some activity suggestions to create a safe, encouraging environment and get your students speaking confidently.

Wouldn’t it be great if you had to tell a class that the lesson is over but your students practically ignored you (in a good way!) and continued speaking enthusiastically in English? The topic of communicating in English is probably one that I encounter the most when meeting and working with teachers across all education sectors. This question of how do I get my students to readily speak in English and feel confident about it is something that most teachers would like the secret formula to. There are things, as educators, we can do to create a more conducive environment where students get so immersed in an English speaking activity that the learning part becomes almost incidental.

Having taught students of all ages across three different continents, here are some simple yet effective approaches I’ve used to encourage students to feel safe in the environment they’re communicating English in.

Make it personal

Course books nowadays are good at starting a unit off with a type of activity or series of questions in order for students to personalise the topic to their situation. But what about the teacher bringing in their personal stories as a way of opening up students’ curiosity? I remember with a group of learners we were focusing on writing music reviews. As I had worked extensively in the music industry before, I gave a mini presentation of my life as a DJ and artist manager. The lesson soon took a life of its own where the questions kept on coming (in English) like ‘what was like it performing at music festivals?’ or ‘how did it feel knowing that thousands were listening to you present on radio?’ (I used to do a Sunday morning show on UK digital station BBC 1xtra). Instead of purposefully setting up questions for students to ask, my personal story I shared was authentic and appealing enough for students to voluntarily ask questions and want to know more.

Put the student in the driving seat

Let your students take the lead in what is spoken about during a lesson. This, of course, takes into account the level and maturity of a group but it’s good to make students become responsible learners whatever their language proficiency may be. For example, once a week the class would nominate two or three different students to bring in something interesting they had seen online and prepare a short explanation of it along with some questions to ask their fellow peers which in turn creates a great lesson warmer fully designed by the students themselves. For more assessment-focused tasks, create student-friendly rubrics and have them give each other feedback after a speaking activity.

Bringing in that added twist

I’m continually seeking ways to expand speaking activities in the class so that they don’t fall into an overly predictable format. Here are some quick ideas:

For class debates, why not create a rap battle setting? Set the topic, groups prepare their sentences, play a mid-tempo hip hop beat and have teams challenge each other lyrically.

Use learning apps in class. For example, with the Cambridge English Quiz Your English app split the class into four groups and have them play against each other by connecting one device to the screen so the whole class can see and predict (using future tenses) who will win the next round.

Working with social media savvy students. Technology’s deepening connectivity to peoples’ lives means teachers have extra tools to play with. You could select a strong visual, have students create memes to then post on the class’ social media group page. In the next lesson, the class looks over each one, discusses and votes for their favourite.

ELT author and international teacher trainer Kathryn O’Dell said it simply during the recent Let’s Talk Speaking panel event, “If students feel like talking, they’re going to speak.” The more we can provide a fully immersive environment for our students to operate in, communicating in English will seem less intimidating and become more of a need to connect with their peers through common interests and goals which will ultimately serve them beyond the four walls of the classroom.

This article was first published at on November 23rd 2017.


How to encourage students to pursue a career in the international education sector


For those already working in the international education sector, you know what a rewarding career lies in store for those just starting out, writes Laura Slingo of CV-Library. But for the vast majority of students currently studying, they are unaware of the opportunities that could be waiting for them. You can find more advice 

“Let students know that the opportunities for professional development are vast in the international education sector”

To share your knowledge and encourage more students to pursue a career in the international education sector, here are our five tips:

1. Offer to give a presentation

Reach out to teacher training establishments at home, and offer to give a short presentation to their students on your career to date. It may be that the establishment is not up to speed on overseas work opportunities, so your insight may be gratefully received.

2. Start a blog

If you have experience in the international education sector and the ability to communicate effectively (as all good teachers do), then why not start a blog and share what you have learned so far with those students who are just starting out?

Getting a foot on the career ladder is hard enough for students, but not knowing what avenues are open to them makes the process even harder. It typically results in people entering a profession they aren’t particularly interested in, just because they didn’t know what else to do.

“Personal fulfilment is another positive. People enter the education sector because it’s a vocation, not just a job”

3. Dispel the rumours

Most people assume that the education sector solely involves teaching. And teaching isn’t for everyone.

Talk to your students about the world of opportunities available to them within the education sector. Let them know that they could pursue a career in HR, finance, even the military, and if they are looking for an adventure, all of these jobs can be found overseas.

4. Talk about the benefits that will aid their careers

There’s a range of benefits available by working in this industry, and you should educate students about these perks.

For a start, international education offers the opportunity to broaden horizons and build skills and experiences. It gives young people more to talk about during a job interview later on in life and makes them more employable, as they will have garnered experience that a lot of other candidates won’t have.

The sector also exposes professionals to different teaching methods. Students will be able to widen their repertoire and communicate more effectively with more of their students, making them a better teacher.

Personal fulfilment is another positive. People enter the education sector because it’s a vocation, not just a job. By letting students know that if they love to teach and love to interact with people, then doing it overseas can be even more rewarding, as there’s adventure to be had too.

5. Professional development opportunities

Let students know that the opportunities for professional development are vast in the international education sector. By building their professional skills, they will move up the jobs ladder and are likely to increase their income quickly as a result. And if they discover they don’t want to stay in the education sector, the skills they will have gained will be highly desirable in many other industries too.

Here are some in-demand skills the international education sector offers:

Adaptability: Education techniques are constantly evolving and to keep up with the latest developments, professionals have to be flexible. This skill is even more pertinent if they are putting these skills to use overseas.

Communication: By working in the international education sector, workers clearly demonstrate that they are capable of communicating articulately, and doing so in a foreign environment, shows they can operate outside of their comfort zone.

Organisation: Education professionals have to be organised to meet the rigours and demands international education places on them. Effective time management is essential to make the most of the adventure that they are undertaking and this skill is highly desirable in any workplace.

Share these five tips with students looking to enter the education sector to prove how rewarding a career in international education can be.

This post first appeared in the PIE News Blog on January 12th 2018.