Boring textbooks and uninspiring teachers meant that I would rather listen to music than listen to the teacher. The upshot was that my English vocabulary was limited to extracts from lyrics of songs by the likes of David Bowie, Pink Floyd and various punk bands - in those days a Mohican hairstyle could upset a whole community…
Now some 25 years later I have thousands of educational English language recordings on my conscience – how did all that happen?
Well, it was not until some years after I had left school and begun inter railing and meeting people from other countries that it dawned on me that what English lessons really ought to deal with was communication. In order to make oneself understood, to understand other people, to see the connection, to suddenly be part of something that otherwise is unintelligible, to have an influence in a global world, to be inspired – and above all be affected, to feel that this is something that concerns me and allows me to react in one way or another - even a negative reaction is better than indifference.
A little as in the film The Dead Poets Society when Robin Williams expounds to his initially unmotivated male students “We didn't just read poetry we let it drip like honey from our tongues” to demonstrate that communication is the key to unlocking the hearts (in this case) of female students.
Today I have worked above all with educational English language recordings for 25 years and every day (well almost …) still feels as exciting as when I first began on this road. But why should this be? Well, because it is still a challenge to give every recording the feeling of authenticity, immediacy, sincerity, humour or irony – something that touches the recipients (the students) and makes them react in some way and feel that they are participating.
To work within the school market - and to some extent be able to influence it - is in itself really stimulating, as tomorrow’s society will be the result of how today’s students succeed in school.
The advent of new media in teaching such as, computers, tablets, the internet, smart telephones, interactive video, together with new research concerning the educational value of computer games – something which schools should perhaps embrace more fully, are other factors that make every day a little bit of an adventure.
Now, we don’t write your manuscript, but irrespective of whether it’s an educational audio recording, a video production, an internet application, or a music production – I hope that we can contribute to your project successfully reaching your target group, as well as hopefully eliciting a reaction from the students.
Best wishes, Johan