Today we are excited to be meeting with Alex Tustain of Avalon
Avalon School has two buildings. The first one is near the tube station Leicester Square. This building is for offices and some rooms. The second building is near the tube station Tottenham Court Road (5 minutes walking from the first building) inside we find classrooms, cafeteria, computers’ rooms, etc. We are going to have the interview in the second building with Alex the Academic Manager of Avalon School.
The school itself is located in Holboln again right smack bang in the middle of the city. Leydi muchlike our own Paula is from Colombia and this is the first time she has studied English as a foreign language so it will be interesting to see how everything is going.
Hello Alex, thank you for the interview. Do you mind if we start the interview talking about your role in Avalon School? You are the Academic Manager, aren’t you?
As the Academic manager, I am responsible of the quality and good performance of the lessons. One of the functions of this charge is to attend the students from the beginning to the end. However, the most is to make sure the quality of the teachers and the teaching. I train the teachers, so we give to Avalon’s teacher a special training because we have our unique way of teaching. I gave them training but also I supervise them a bit while they are here. In the end, they are two big functions. Be in charge of the students and the teachers.
Tell us about the History of Avalon School?
Avalon School was founded 20 years ago by teachers. Well, the founder was not a teacher but he did it with other teachers. These teachers had passion for a specific way of teaching, they were in good school but they wanted to do something even better, so they founded Avalon. The idea was to combine the traditional method, which people knew as direct method what in reality is not true, with a new method which they called ADE (Avalon Direct English). We decided to upload completely the school, so since the last year we have started using books and teaching with the Quantum method, the most modern method.
What qualifications does a teacher need to work in Avalon?
This is a good question… every school around the world can employ a teacher by looking through their CV. You need a degree and qualifications as a scholastic. This is required, but we need more than that. Of course you also need to have as a mother tongue English. But in the way we teach we need the teachers have other qualifications too. The common in other ways of teaching is to use the book which tells you what you have to do. It says to the teachers and students what they need to learn. I don’t want to be unfair with the good teachers of other schools, but at the end this is what they are doing. Avalon’s book they are not exactly books, they are tools. The teachers obviously need to know grammar, however they need a kind of skill because the students are going to make questions from the beginning and in real time. Therefore, our teachers should know, from their experience o from the training that I gave them, how to process these situations. The students come here to talk and learn. They want to be corrected, they have already studied English, now they want to know how to use it.To sum up, we want our teachers to care of correcting the students when they make a mistake. We want they help the students to sound natural.
What is the maximum number of students per class?
The maximum number of students in a Speaking lesson is 12. Actually, we are very sensitive to the changes in the timetable. If someone told me “Alex, can I come to lessons tomorrow in the morning instead of afternoon?” what I will do is to find if there is a place in a class where the number of students is not higher than 12.
To finish, why will it be a good idea to choose this School? Why is Avalon different?
In this sense we are very lucky because we are totally different. There are schools with other type of methodology, for example the Callan method which is a different method that the mainstream and it promotes to improve the Speaking skills. Nevertheless, I think the common between the Callan method and ours is the same than I have with a person from the Tibet. We are totally different. It is not things like “our building is better”, but they key is that out method is very attractive for the students who know that to speak a language is a practice skill. For example, in my mind I know how to play football, in my mind I am Messi but I don’t play like him. Everyone has heart English words. They don’t need to pay for coming to London and study English, they want to know how to use the language. We offer the same than other schools, exam preparation, social events, team of football.. but here the lessons are different.
That was one of the most informative interviews we have done since starting the blog as you can imagine there are so many schools options for students when choosing a school to study English in England. The information provided by Alex will certainly allow our clients a real insight into way in which Avalon school of English operates. I am thankful for the time taken today by Avalon to speak with us. Ciao