about me

Hi, I’m Ceri ( /keri/ for those of you who don’t know Welsh).
I live in wonderful, windy, sunny Cádiz in the south west of Andalucia, Spain.  I have two  kids and work needs to fit in around having fun with them.  I teach (when I can), train  teachers and – mainly at the moment – write  teaching materials for general English adult and teenage learners and classrooms.
I’ve been working in ELT since 1986 when I started my first job in Italy.  I worked there as a teacher, trainer and DOS for ten years.  It was a great experience, I worked at a fantastic school (The English School o L’Aquila) where I taught an amazing range of classes and courses.
In 1996 I moved back to the UK to do an MA in TEFL at Reading University.  It was an incredible experience which I shared with a  great group of people and it set me off in a new direction. I worked at Christchurch College Canterbury (as it was called at the time) for a year while I was writing my dissertation, but when the plans to lecture in a teacher training college in Malaysia fell through, I decided to leave academia and head back into the world of private language schools.
This time I went to Spain as a DOS for an International House school in Madrid which is now the Hyland Language Centre.  That’s where I first got involved in coursebook writing, and where I had my two children.  After our second child was born I gave up my post as DOS and concentrated more on writing and working from home. This new geographical freedom meant that in 2006 we could make the decision to move south to Cádiz and bring our kids up near the beach.  I grew up on a western coast and it’s been a kind of homecoming (though in a much warmer climate).
The kids are getting older and I’m now redressing the writing/teaching balance and making my way back, slowly but surely, into the classroom.  Some interesting changes have taken place in the last five years or so, and it’s been great getting back into teaching with a whole brave new world of technology to explore.
I’m blogging as a way to stay in touch, stay in tune, process random thoughts and reactions and stay in love – with teaching, learning and language.  On Close Up I’ll be looking at “the little things” *, hoping that every now and then the bigger picture shines through.
* a Welsh saying, from Saint David himself it seems,  says that if you look after the little things (y pethau bychain) the big things will look after themselves

47 Responses to about me

  1. Hi Ceri,
    I live in Jerez so thought I’d drop you a line when I discovered your guest post on English Raven. I also have a blog and I’m @michelleworgan on Twitter. I’m interested in any local TESOL events. I’ll be adding your blog to my reading list 🙂

  2. Hi Ceri and Michelle,
    I just came across you both via English Raven´s blog and as I live in Jimena de la Frontera, I thought I would get in touch as we are neighbours and all support the teaching of English. I am not a teacher but I send students abroad to learn English so if you ever have any students asking about study abroad, get in touch!

  3. P.S. I am also on Twitter and Facebook as GeminiCourses if you´d like to stay in touch.

  4. Nice to get a big more on your background here. Seems like it’s been an interesting journey for you. In a similar way, I don’t get to teach as much as I’d like these days- only a few private lessons a week.

    However, I do love generating content and interacting within the EFL community, which is the job I have as a the “pedagogical soul” for a small french e-learning company.

    Thanks for sharing with us all. 🙂

    • Ceri Jones says:

      Hi Brad,
      Yes, this section had been a bit too “thin” for a long time
      Nice to hear some more about you too … and looking forward to the next blog posts 🙂

  5. Anna Vacalopoulou says:

    Dear Colleague, we are pleased to inform you that a link to your online resource has been added to Lingu@net World Wide: the virtual Language Resource Centre (www.linguanet-worldwide.org). Lingu@net World Wide is a multilingual, virtual resource centre to support the teaching and learning of foreign languages. Partly-funded by the EU Commission, it provides information about, and links to quality-assured online resources from Europe and around the world. You are most welcome to add a link to us from your web site, and if you do this we would be delighted to hear from you.

    On behalf of the Lingu@net World Wide project team

  6. Emma Heyderman says:

    Hi Ceri,

    A course on blogs with the Consultants-E brings me to your blog. I knew very little about them until two days ago. Anyway, I couldn’t leave your blog without posting a comment. I hope you’re well,

    Emma (IH San Sebastian)

    • Ceri Jones says:

      Hi Emma,
      Lovely to “see” you here 🙂
      I did the blogging course with the consultantse last year – loved it!
      And even though this one was already up and running it taught me loads about using blogs with classes.
      Enjoy! Let me know if you decide to take the blogging plunge as well – would love to follow it!
      Ceri x

  7. Rachel says:

    Hi there
    I’ve just gained a BA in English and would like to travel from America over to Europe, specifically Spain. I was just wondering if you could give me some advice as I’m sure you are aware of the overwhelming amount of info out there. Is it truly worth my money to get a TESOL certificate through OxfordTEFL? I just want to travel and teach short term, 1-2 years but really need a way to get my foot in the door. Any advice would be AMAZING as I’ve had trouble contacting a real live human being about all this business. THANK YOU

    • Ceri Jones says:

      Hi Rachel,
      I’m going to send you a reply by email, that way I’ll be sure it gets to you (I hope!)

      • emarie says:

        Hi Ceri, I’ve found your blog to be very informative for a new person navigating this field. Like Rachel, I am an American also interested in doing my certificate through OxfordTEFL in Spain and wondering if you could pass the same advice my way regarding reputable courses/costs, etc. There IS so much information it’s quite overwhelming. Thank you for your time:)

      • Ceri Jones says:

        Hi Eileen,
        Thanks for calling by. I’ve just sent you a reply by email.
        Ceri 🙂

  8. Julian L'Enfant says:

    Hi Ceri,
    Really enjoyed reading your Blog after being directed to it by the One Stop English newsletter.

  9. gaynor jones says:

    Hi Ceri
    Just wondering – did you go to Bristol Polytechnic as it was then known?

  10. Arthur says:

    Ceri, I’m studying in FAFIRE Recife, though, I’m from Parnaíba, another city in the Northeast of Brazil. I really enjoyed your workshop and I just came here to say thank you and take a look at your blog. I’m a 19 year old teacher and you helped me a lot with this new point of view on images, it’s a nice focus to give in a class and I’m already using it with my students! Thanks a lot and it was a pleasure to be in the workshop. Bye!

    • Ceri Jones says:

      Hi Arthur,
      Thank you so much for calling by and leaving a message. I’m so glad the workshop was useful! And it was a real pleasure to be invited to FAFIRE and to meet so many warm, friendly, enthusiastic teachers.
      Good luck with the teaching!

  11. Claire Thom says:

    Hi Ceri,
    I have seen you speak a few times at TESOL conferences and always enjoy your sessions. I currently live and work in Seville. I was with the British Institute for five years and am now with ELI (you may know an ex-colleague of mine, Phil Thompson? he lived in Cádiz before coming to Seville.) I have been teaching for about 8 years, I have experience as a teacher trainer and DOS too. As well as my TEFL training, I originally studied modern languages and following my PGCE I taught Spanish and French in secondary schools for a couple of years in my hometown, Edinburgh, before moving to Seville. I am planning on moving to Cádiz next year and am currently looking at job opportunities in the main town of Cádiz. Seville is great but I have always loved Cádiz and growing up on the east coast of Scotland next to the Firth of Forth there are some (although loose) connections with the Cádiz coast. 🙂
    Anyway, I came across your blog as I am currently doing an online course about blogs through the school I work with.
    You have some super ideas on here. Really interesting to read.
    Many thanks.
    Claire Thom

    • Ceri Jones says:

      Hi Claire!
      Thanks for calling by 🙂 My blog’s a bit dormant at the moment, but I’m hoping to start making up for that soon!
      Cádiz is a great place to live (of course I would say that wouldn’t I?) and there’s a lot going on in the TEFL world for a relatively small town. I really recommend getting in touch with Active Language if you are looking for a job down here. Or CLIC (IH Seville) as well have a small, young school (in its third year). These two schools have good reputations for teacher development and looking after their staff.
      Maybe I’ll see you down here some time soon!

  12. Claire Thom says:

    Thanks for replying so quickly and for the tips about schools!

  13. Hi Ceri
    Greetings from Saigon! Thanks for all of your insightful posts here on this site. I have re-posted your ‘Every board tells a story’ article for our teachers at our International University in Vietnam on our Facebook page. We teach EAP/ESP programs and have recently started beginner classes. We also posted your Macmillan webinar on ‘Making the most of reading texts’ a few days ago as well. Great stuff! Feel free to check out our page if you’re interested, it’s a site primarily focused on professional development for our local TESOL community. Thanks again for the resources! https://www.facebook.com/RmitProfessionalLearningEnglishPrograms

  14. Ben Crompton says:

    Hi Ceri,

    I’ve been using some of your ideas – to great effect, I might add – for the last few years, and so it was great to be able to hear you at TESOL in Madrid this weekend. Thanks for a great session!

  15. Leena Chitnis says:

    Hi Ceri,

    My name is Leena Chitnis, and I have been urged by friends to get started as a TEFL instructor, due to my background in English (BA) and MBA (Marketing and Entrepreneurship dual concentrations). I am also a Fulbright Scholar and spent a year in Greece and traveled all over Europe. I now want to teach in either France (Paris) or somewhere in Italy. The online information is scattered, dated and, at times, quite sketchy. I also don’t see ANY listings for these countries. Most listings are for Asia or the Middle East.

    Please advise, and thank you,

    Leena Chitnis

    • Ceri Jones says:

      Hi Leena,
      Thanks for stopping by. I’m guessing from your message that you live in the US. Is that right? Do you hold an EU pasport at all? If not, working in France or Italy is going to be difficult for you for work permit reasons. That’s often why most listings (especially for US nationals) are for Asia or the Middle East. Your background is good for both countries, where Business English is often required, especially in the larger cities. I think your first step should be to find an initial training course based in one of those two countries (or neighbouring countries – Spain offers a lot of good courses in a number of cities: Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Cádiz). The course could be partly online if you prefer. Certified teachers are more likely to find good jobs in the countries you’re targetting. The Cambridge CELTA course and the Trinity Cert TESOL courses are the most highly-regarded qualifications in both countries. I suggest attending at least part of the course in Europe so that you can get some first-hand, on-the-ground advice about teaching opportunities. It’s a teacher’s market at the moment.
      Good luck with your future plans!

  16. Leena Chitnis says:

    Thanks Ceri…a few questions…

    1) How will I afford to live in Spain and take a course at the same time without a job? Are there scholarship/partial scholarship opportunities available? Work study positions available? How does this work?

    2) There are so many certification programs on and offline. How do I know that the Cambridge CELTA and Trinity Cert TESOL (I have never heard of the latter) are any good? Every single job listing has asked for a simple TESL/TEFL certificate, not the two that you mentioned…

    3) I don’t speak Spanish, French or Italian, but I can learn one of these before I head over there…

    4) So, you mention that my background is good for both Italy and France. But even if I get certified, where am I going to find jobs with reputable companies? I can’t find a single listing on the Internet…

    5) When you say it’s a teacher’s market, that bodes well for future teachers like me, right?

    Thank you for your help…


  17. Ceri Jones says:

    Hi again Leena,
    I’m sorry, but there’s very little else I can add to my advice in the previous comment. Re 1 I’m not aware of scholarships, there are part-time courses available which would mean you could study and work at the same time, but this could lead to a catch 22 kind of situation. Re 2 As I said, these are the two most well-recognised and considered certificate courses. Re 3 nothing to add really Re 4 please refer to my last message and the advice I gave there – that’s the best advice I can give Re 5 Yes 🙂

  18. Leena Chitnis says:

    Alright, thank you! I will look into it the classes and see how I can make my way over. Thank you! 🙂

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  20. Kim says:

    Hi Ceri, I loved your contribution to teachSTEP & found your blog thanks to this! Looking forward to following you! I’m in Málaga, so we’re near neighbours.

    • Ceri Jones says:

      Hi Kim,
      Thanks for calling by – and sorry for taking so long to get back to you. Who knows, maybe we’ll bump into each other on a beach some day? 😉

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  22. Brian Bear says:

    I recently saw you webinar about micro-writing and was thoroughly inspired by it! I also had to write a post on my own blog about it. I just wanted to say a big thanks for making it and sharing your ideas. I will certianly be checking back on your blog again in future!


  23. Jacqueline says:

    Hi Ceri,
    My name is Jacqueline and I am an Art Teacher that lives in the United States (Ohio). I teach grades K-8 and somehow happened to find your page when working on an assignment for a student. I also tutor college on-line when I can. I loved your story and thank you for sharing. The power point was very helpful, and I will use it to teach my students how to explain their art projects.
    Thank You!

  24. Francine says:

    Hi Ceri,

    I knew how to pronounce your name, so that may be the clue to telling you that I’m also Welsh. I am also Canadian, having left Barry, Wales, at the age of 19. I am proud to be both: Canadian and Welsh. I started my ESL career as I transitioned into retirement from a different career. I focus on volunteer work only, which is mainly using technology – emails, online, Skype, and texting. My ESL interests are varied, and have evolved into curriculum and content design, as well as administrative work for our Canadian teaching organizations. I’m looking forward to following you, as you too transition with your career. Nadolig Llawen (my vocabulary is a total of about 10 words, so don’t be too impressed!)

  25. Dear Ceri,

    We would be delighted if you accepted this invitation to attend XVII Jornadas CETA as guest speaker to be held in Córdoba on April 9th. This year, emotions and foreign language learning will be the theme on which every talk will hinge. Thus, we though you will be the perfect speaker to suit teachers´ expectation on this wide and pervasive teaching element.

    I would be very grateful if you could leave a reply for this message to my corporate mail in order to provide further details on this training event.

    Kindest Regards,


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  27. danielmartin67 says:

    Hi Ceri. Great blog. Thanks for your creative ideas. I’m Daniel Martin, teacher trainer and I would like to give you the link to my blog for English teachers, Keep It Simple (Zero or Minimal Preparation Activities for the English Classroom), which you might consider adding to your blogroll.Thanks! http://www.kisactivities.com

  28. criscaca says:

    Hi Ceri,
    I love your blog. I thought that your class of prepositions of place for beginners was great and the kind of thing that engages students. I am an English teacher in Barcelona and now I find myself in the situation of teaching two beginners (two actors in their 60s, lovely people). I was wondering if there is a class book that you would recommend that follows the approach of that class (engaging, ideal for talkative people and also absolute beginners). Otherwise, maybe I could find some inspiration in your blog or another book? I look forward to hearing from you! Many thanks!

    • Ceri Jones says:

      Hi Cris (is that right?) – I think you could probably choose any simple, straightforward elementary coursebook – maybe something like English File, especially for extra work outside the classroom. Students at beginner level appreciate structure. But for the classes, I would follow a more situation/topic based approach. Talk to your students about the kind of conversations they’d like to have – maybe social, maybe transactional – and then work together to build simple dialogues that give the ss the language they need at their current level. These can then be acted out (actors will love that!) and extended on, adapted. I would also suggest using graded readers and asking them to retell the story, or again, act out some of the scenes. You can start with A1 graded readers, but they should be able to graduate to A2 quite quickly with their Catalan/Spanish language background (if they’re Catalan that is!). If tyou do a search for “beginners” on the blog you should find some ideas that might help. Good luck!

  29. criscaca says:

    Thanks so much Ceri. This is super helpful. I will focus on social and transactional conversations and dig deep on your blog. Thanks again! Cris.

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