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Supporting independent, adult English learners from all over the world.

Vision and Values

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Birdsong English is an online academy. Through this academy, I create digital products like online courses & classes, and Telegram group courses, to support independent, adult, English-language learners, like you!

But, it's also more than that!

 

Birdsong English is also a social enterprise, dedicated to promoting fair business practices in English-language teaching (ELT), representing English as the diverse, global lingua franca that it is, and supporting learners to open your own doors to professional and educational opportunities via improved English-language skills.

Birdsong English stands against native-speakerism, accentism, and racism in ELT. Everything I do here is anti-testing, pro local teachers, and I see access to life-changing opportunities via improved skills in the global lingua-franca as a rights issue. I encourage cultural exchange through a shared language and promote English as a tool for interaction, and never as a replacement for your first language.

 

 

 

Vision

Birdsong English aims to support adult English-language learners like you, to become autonomous, effective, life-long learners, content with your process and results, and with increased access to global educational and professional opportunities as a result. 

This academy embraces and promotes fair business practices within ELT, rejecting broken and unhealthy business models and working with, for, and including everyone involved in the business and its activities (that includes you!) Birdsong English works, and will always work, to promote co-ownership, dignity in work, and values-driven business decisions. 

 

Mission

 

I promise to equip you with the skills you need to break the unhealthy cycle of teacher/class attachment, personal dissatisfaction with your English-level, and over-the-top financial investment in language-learning, and enable you to take control of your own learning; identifying your own strengths and needs, understanding how you best learn, knowing where, when and how to access genuinely useful resources and what to do with them to build effective and sustainable learning habits. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Values

LANGUAGE & EDUCATION

 

Birdsong English is all about autonomous learning! No English-language educator should ever be the sole provider of a learner’s English-language education. Birdsong English is just one part of your ’learner’s toolkit’! 

 

You won’t find Birdsong English using hashtags saying #NativeSpeaker or #BritishEnglish because in our view, those things are not relevant to our purpose, which is to support you to become more confident, independent learners and communicators in English. 

 

I believe that the ELT industry is currently very US/UK dominated and promotes ideas which try to exaggerate a connection between the English language, and the cultures of countries like Britain and the US. I want to disconnect the English language from these cultures and show it as the international, global language that it is, owned and shared by all those who speak it!

I'm anti-testing! I don't do exam preparation! (Sorry!) I know that to apply to many educational institutions or to work or live abroad, many of you will need to pass certain tests to prove your English-language abilities. I don’t believe any of these tests are a good measure of your abilities and I want to see a world where language testing for access a) is only used where absolutely necessary and b) doesn’t exist to make a profit. 

I also believe that the best educators are those who know their students! I support and often partner with teachers working to improve English-language education in their own communities. It might be that the best teacher for you, is a teacher who shares your language and culture. 

I don’t believe in or support 'accent reduction', 'accent-fixing', or the supremacy of one accent over another. Birdsong English views all accents as a valuable part of one’s identity. My goal is to support you in taking control of your own learning, battling your own individual obstacles to success, communicating your message confidently, comfortably and effectively, and ultimately, to achieve your life goals by increasing access to educational and professional opportunities through improved English-language skills. 

 

Language and culture, as well as accent in English, all form an integral part of your identity. Where possible, I encourage the exchange of languages and cultures in Birdsong English shared spaces and view a shared language such as English as a tool with which to connect with one another. 

 

BUSINESS

 

Birdsong English sees access to opportunities via English-language ability as a rights issue. We are currently living in a world which is suffering from a global inequality of access to opportunities. I don’t believe that we can try to support those impacted by global inequality of access by indirectly contributing to, and participating in systems which create or reinforce that inequality. Therefore, I always try to use services and products in the business which do not have a negative global impact, so that I'm not feeding your money back into a system that keeps us all at a disadvantage. 

Birdsong English is anti-capitalist. My primary goal is not endless profit. I want to increase global access to educational and employment opportunities so that everyone has a fairer chance to achieve their potential. I'm working towards this goal by equipping learners the world over with what you need to gain control over your own learning, in order to achieve your unique potential and objectives. 

 

I believe that all decisions should be made by those who will be most affected by those decisions. That means that you, the learners, are at the heart of any changes or developments to the business and activities. 

 

It’s often said that one shouldn’t talk about politics or religion in the workplace. I disagree. As Desmond Tutu so eloquently put it “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” You will see me talking about issues that I feel are important.  

Underlying that which I have already mentioned about ‘accent-reduction’, ‘native-speakerism’, and the tie between English as a language and British & US culture, is racism. We can’t change the industry unless we are anti-racist. Therefore, I commit to continual learning and action towards this aim.

I welcome conversation with anyone who shares the Birdsong English values. If you would like to know more, get in touch! 

info@birdsongenglish.com

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