Speakup London runs ‘free’ speaking classes as part of a promotional package to entice non-native English speaks to sign up for their paid classes. These classes are outsourced to volunteers.

They either come from a different teaching method than modern TEFL certificates or do not have a clue. We were asked the impossible: a speaking class to mixed ability students that does not use any course books and does not require them to read, or the use of the photocopier for class material.

The library was not for our use either. So we were left to our own ingenuity and devices which at the end of the day Speakup London only had typical, quoted, criticisms that they did not seem to understand themselves. The only advice given for the lessons was, “Second conditional: ‘If I were an animal what kind of animal would I be'”, though this is not authentic genuine conversation – so why would I teach it?

We were also required to correct language at the end of the class even though in a mixed ability class, what language was fair to correct? 

In summary they wanted the class to be no more than what the students were able to do themselves in a coffee shop or bar, but the teacher was also supposed to teach – without teaching – and be invisible at the same time.


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