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Speed School of English
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montyman



Joined: 31 May 2004
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2004 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Firstly to Alex,

I want to say to Alex, that I think that you are confusing SPEED CALLAN SCHOOL with some others in the Warsaw area. The school I worked at only operated in Bielsko Biała, Tychy, Gliwice, Wrocław and I think now in Opole. I think that you are making wrong remarks about a school that is not even affiliated with schools you are speaking of. Do your homework buddy, I still have friends who work at the SPEED CALLAN SCHOOL, but not at the one you are suggesting.

I just want to say that I was a teacher at one of the Speed Callan schools for two years, returning home last July; thoroughly enjoying my time at the school and in Poland. I also want to say some of the comments are unfair about the Callan Method. Here is some information that may be useful for you in making a decision.

Prior to arriving to Poland I had almost zero experience in teaching ESL. I still remember the day when I arrived and felt nervous about the whole thing. I was given thorough training which at the time got me by in the first few weeks and this was followed up over the time while I was there with further in house training.

Teachers who I worked with had weekly meetings (sometimes fortnightly) to clarify anything we were unsure of about teaching which was good, and there were always open channels of communication between your superiors. You were asked to get involved in other aspects of the school which wasn’t a Callan format which included Cambridge First Certificate and Advanced
Certificate preparation courses, immersion weekends, activity days ( skiing, hiking etc) conversation classes, teaching younger children and giving lectures on vast ranges of topics, all of which I did and enjoyed immensely building my skills further.

I know that some teaching methods are and can appear after time a little difficult to teach, but it also comes down to how you operate as a person and what the reasons are for teaching. Using the method in our school was not entirely fixed. We were able to play with it. Also there were other things that we introduced into the sessions to give a more rounded and complete class. I know that the true “orthodox” method is to adhere to a rigorous brainwashing format, whereby people rote learn and parrot off sentences, finishing the method in 1/3 of the time of other forms of learning; but this is especially good for people who have never spoken a word in English. It was so nice to see terrified “first timers” in the school and then after a double period, walking away saying some small simple sentences in English.
I know that our employer was quite happy for us to use it as a platform. For example, using a word to be taught but introducing it in many ways, not just asking the question printed in the book. This created more stimuli for the more advanced student to make them listen and digress into a slightly longer answer which involved free thought but also broke up the teaching for the teacher. Of course, you would have to act out words which were fun and this too would create a fun environment for the students and for you.

I think that too many people come to Europe especially Eastern Europe and expect everything to be the same as the rest of the world and I have to say it is not. Poland is very different to rest of Eastern Europe in many ways. One reason I think is because the country has close to 40 million people and is having trouble finding its feet in regards to joining the EU. Another small one for me personally was in regards to tourism and breaking into this lucrative market. This small hurdle when trying to explore the country along with language barriers can make it harder for people to settle in. But it’s possible, I did!

I only benefited from my time and made many good friends both Polish and from other parts of the globe. What I did there took me further into teaching and have completed a CELTA course and now working in my own country as an ESL teacher for a university.

I hope that this has cast a different view of the Callan method and the Speed Callan School for you and others that may be interested.

Cheers Chris Very Happy
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Chris



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Posts: 116
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2004 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find it really funny that all three of the people who posted really wonderful things about Speed Callan school just opened their accounts on Dave's the day before they posted their messages.

Anyway, after I wrote my previous post about Callan, I met a woman who worked at the Speed school in, I believe, Gliwice. She told me honestly that she didn't really like the method, but Callan paid well and that yes, there are other things to do in addition to teaching the method.

Also, the guy who replaced me in Poland when I moved to Germany in Feb worked at a Callan school in Tychy for 2 years. He loved using it. I guess it just all depends on your style of teaching. He had never taught before.
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biffinbridge



Joined: 05 May 2003
Posts: 701
Location: Frank's Wild Years

PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2004 11:50 am    Post subject: my 5 bob's worth Reply with quote

Behaviourism has long been castigated as a defunct approach to language teaching/learning by everyone except the U.S. army.To hear people defend boring,repetitive methods with comments like 'people can have basic conversations after only a few months'(like they don't elsewhere),is to simply avoid the issue that there are more efficient methods/approaches.The Berlitz way,similar to Callan's as Scot 47 pointed out,requires little more than a native speaking parrot to follow it.Sure ,do drills and repetition where necessary but what about tasked based learning etc.?At Callan you are simply selling a package and brand name because you ain't doing what's best for the students. Sorry.
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misteradventure



Joined: 18 Aug 2003
Posts: 243

PostPosted: Sat Jun 19, 2004 6:57 pm    Post subject: CALLAN Schools in Poland Reply with quote

Figured the debate had gone long enough without fresh blood.

Please excuse my typing; I am at a pay-by-the-minute machine at a ritzy hotel in Croatia with a German keyboard and funky Hrvatska characters jumping in on occasion.

First, not only do I personally know people who have worked at CALLAN schools, I have done so myself. Biggest mistake of my career.

For example, the school in Krakow (great town, hard to find decent work as a newbie, folks- keep looking!) requires you to sign a contract making you pay them for training you to read from a book if you leave early, following your unpaid training. (CELTA not withstanding)

Make sure the school is in breach of contract in the beginning and you can bail if need be. No point in suing you when the legal system is 2 years behind as it is. Of course, you cant sue them either.

The one in Zory, (TOWER or something) lost their entire teaching staff when the employer failed to inform them that their BONUS was actuallz in lieu of salary, as no paying students were attending over the xmas holidays... and he was holding some of their salary back until the next payday and generally being a schmuck. And that their training was unpaid, although they were required to be there, etc... Nevermind that most small towns in Poland roll up the pavement at 10pm, when most schools have their last classes.

As for the SPEED system of schools, they share notes and contracts with the other CALLAN schools in Poland, such as the one above.

The system is so simple (I was approached by an investor to start a CALLAN method school as a newbie,even!) that most native speakers could teach with only an 8th grade education.

Whatever you do, go in with an open mind and an escape plan. Dont get trapped with a one way ticket and no options.

Keep up the good work, Chris. I didnt notice the "new accounts" raving about the CALLAN system.
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OzBurn



Joined: 03 May 2004
Posts: 199

PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2004 4:41 pm    Post subject: Re: my 5 bob's worth Reply with quote

biffinbridge wrote:
Behaviourism has long been castigated as a defunct approach to language teaching/learning by everyone except the U.S. army.To hear people defend boring,repetitive methods with comments like 'people can have basic conversations after only a few months'(like they don't elsewhere),is to simply avoid the issue that there are more efficient methods/approaches.The Berlitz way,similar to Callan's as Scot 47 pointed out,requires little more than a native speaking parrot to follow it.Sure ,do drills and repetition where necessary but what about tasked based learning etc.?At Callan you are simply selling a package and brand name because you ain't doing what's best for the students. Sorry.


Behaviorism is a school of psychology, not a method for teaching languages. It has a great deal of value, which you could perhaps discover if you spent a few hours studying it before condemning it.

That people may "castigate" something has nothing to do with its inherent value.

Whether a teaching method is boring is subjective. Whether it is repetitive is unimportant. What matters is whether it works. Few things are as boring as failure, and no failure hurts as much as a repeated failure.

The term is "task-based" learning, not "tasked based" learning.
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Cali



Joined: 29 Apr 2003
Posts: 15
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2004 4:34 pm    Post subject: I guess I will have to think twice Reply with quote

Guess I will have to thing twice about working for them. Thanks for all the input.
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