Today we have something really interesting for you, we are going to talk about the British Council.
What is that? Most of you must be wondering. Well, exactly! That’s why we have asked our teacher Chris Hurling to explain.
Some of you may not know Chris so a brief introduction is in order:
I am Chris Hurling, a teacher who recently joined Euroschool. I previously worked for British Council in Bogota, Colombia, where I lived for nine years before moving to La Coruna. I am British, and before becoming an English teacher worked in financial services marketing in London.
Now, we are ready to start reading about British Council, here is the first part of Chris’s article:
What is the British Council all about?
The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, and operates under the status of a charity. It was founded in 1934 established to help promote UK interests in the world, during a time of world instability and political change in Europe; the Great Depression had led to mass unemployment and protectionism (when countries increase taxes on imports), and the rise of extreme political ideologies in Europe and Russia. Indeed, some commentators have drawn a parallel with today, with the rise in populist and right-wing politics in Europe and the United States at a time of a fragile world economy. Although it is not a political organisation, perhaps the work of the British Council has never been so important.
Moreover, the British Council is a truly global organisation with more than 190 offices in 110 countries and territories, through which it touches the lives of approximately 500 million people every year. Through this, the British Council aims to:
“Create friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. We do this by making a positive contribution to the UK and the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.” (British Council.org)
The British Council has been in Spain since 1940. In this blog, we will explore some of what the British Council does in Spain, as well as its impact in Galicia in education and exams.
How does the British Council work with the Spanish Government?
Since 1996, the British Council has been working with the Departamento de Educación, Política Lingüística y Cultura to support the development, implementation, and evaluation of bilingual education throughout Spain. This project focuses on Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), in which English language is used to learn as well as to communicate, as well as the language needed to learn. For more information on the project go to this link: Bilingual project. This is all in this blog about this bilingual project as the British Council’s work on it hasn’t reached Galicia yet.
The British Council is an English academy, right?
When people think of the British Council, they often think of English Language courses, and this is an important part of the commercial arm of the organisation. In Spain, there are Teaching Centres in Barcelona, Bilbao, Guadalajara, Madrid, Palma de Mallorca, Segovia and Valencia. There they teach around 33,000 students a year, including both kids and adults and also on site to employees at their place of work. For more information see Studying at the British Council.
If you study at the British Council, you can be sure of high quality teaching from teachers who have to have a minimum qualification of the Cambridge Certificate in Teaching English to Adults. The British Council is very good at supporting its teachers to gain higher qualifications, and many have the Cambridge Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (DELTA), as well as young learner teaching qualifications. For more information see Cambridge Teaching Qualifications.
However, you don’t have to live near a British Council Centre to learn with the British Council as there are lots of free online resources and Apps. Just click on these links: British Council Learn English and British Council Apps.
But what has the British Council been doing in Galicia?
Studying at university in the UK is a great option, and over 9,000 Spanish students study at British Universities. According to the British Council’s website, UK universities have the highest international student experience ratings of English speaking countries. For more information, go to the British Council website Study in the UK. They offer free talks in studying at UK universities, and this year they delivered a session on ‘How to study in the UK’ at Manuel Peleteiro School in Santiago de Compostela.
In addition, The British Council monitors the inspection system for two British schools: Coruña British School and the O Castro International British School.
So, as you have just read, it is a well-known organisation world-wide and they are doing amazing work, not only in Spain, but also in countries where studying English is not as accessible as it is here.
I highly encourage you to check the links provided by Chris as they are a great complement to your classes at Euroschool of English and given that finding reliable and high quality websites and Apps is often not easy.
Keep your eyes peeled for the second part of the post!