Marjorie Rosenberg, what’s your WHY?

This is a real honour! Marjorie Rosenberg has spent a lifetime in ELT, including as IATEFL President from 2015 to 2017. You can read more on her extensive work on her blog Learner as Teacher and website

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Age: 69

Hometown: Graz, Austria (originally from New Jersey and then New York)

Previous teaching experience: teaching adults and tertiary and doing teacher training for almost 40 years, taught music in a public primary school in the inner city in NY, materials writer, NLP trainer, IATEFL president.

So many of the things I would say have been covered by Sandy’s excellent comments and thoughts on this subject. Here are mine which relate to business English which is the field I work in now.


My learners need to communicate with other speakers of English (both first- and second-language speakers) to do their jobs. My goal is to enable them to do this with as little stress as possible, encourage them to look forward to these encounters and to support them through the process of making it easier to get their message across.


We discuss relevant topics to the learners, talk about their jobs (to the extent that we can without breaking any confidentiality rules) and rehash situations in which they needed English and how the conversations went. We build on their self-confidence over and over. I correspond with them outside class when there is a question and this is always in English. The class I have has become an ongoing team-building opportunity as well as an English lesson.


We sometimes translate policies or information they will need for a discussion. We choose topics and I let them speak with each other and give them notes afterwards. We find specific points about their job or the company or companies in general to debate. We work on vocabulary and grammar as it comes up in class. We find ways to laugh together and maintain rapport throughout. I send them interesting videos or other information I find which is relevant to their jobs.

Other articles in the What’s your WHY? series

Sandy Millin

Bronte Rose Ainsley

Alister McCarty

James Egerton (yours truly)

Is yours next?


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