Concepts behind our work


The following describes some of the fundamental concepts, or philosophy, if you like, behind our work. We believe in coaching and in helping our clients succeed and excel by developing their skills and abilities to achieve effective communication. We also believe that we need to add value to our client's work, which in turn adds value to the work of the company or organisation he or she serves.





Coaching is an effective way to improve


Unlike teaching, instructing, training or tutoring, coaching develops people's skills and abilities, and boosts performance. Nor is coaching consulting or counselling. A coaching session typically takes place as a dialogue between the coach and the coachee (person being coached), and it focuses on helping the coachee discover answers for themselves. After all, people are much more likely to engage with solutions that they have come up with themselves, rather than those that are forced upon them!  With communication, writing, giving presentations, the concept of coaching applies.

Effective communication is the primary objective


Workplace documents are for communication and each communication has its objectives. Effective communication means you get what you want done. In other words, you get the results you want. Communication is results-oriented, and we at aim to help you achieve results and achieve them with positive impact.

Value-adding is the key to servicing


You succeed when you add value to your work. Your company keeps you because they think you can add value to their work. Likewise, you want us to serve you because we can add value to what you do.



DSE Focus Groups: The Learning & Teaching Approaches


At, we employ essentially three approaches: Task-Based Learning, the Language Awareness Approach and the Intercultural Approach. We believe these approaches complement each other and combine to enable effective learning. The following is designed to help you understand the principles behind these approaches, explain the rationale for choosing them and what the Language Coach will do to help students learn effectively.


1. Task-Based Learning (TBL)


What is it?

TBL is a methodology which places emphasis on the importance of tasks as a unit of planning and instruction. A classroom task is chosen which is ‘real world’ rather than ‘language’ focused (‘plan a school trip’ rather than ‘fill in the blanks’). Each task has a non-linguistic outcome which complements the language input. TBL methodology is one way of helping students acquire language through using it communicatively in the classroom.


Why has it been chosen?

TBL is well-suited for use in private language schools, as much as it is in private coaching groups. Where class sizes are small, students often have a strong desire to develop their speaking and listening skills. This is more difficult to do in the traditional large-class context common in secondary and tertiary education. Private language schools and groups provide students with the opportunity to learn in an environment more conducive to these skills. TBL works well with the Language Awareness Approach and the Intercultural Approach; tasks can be easily adjusted to incorporate collaborative, student-centred focus on form and cultural awareness-raising elements.


How can the Coach help?

Within TBL, the language coach is a facilitator, providing the ideal conditions for communication. The materials provide structured language focus, but this can be enhanced by responding to student errors: monitor students as they complete activities and make notes of any errors made, as well as examples of good language use. The coach then uses this language, good and bad, as the basis for feedback. Rather than simply telling the students where their errors are, the coach tries to display the language on the whiteboard and encourage self and peer correction.


How can you find out more about this approach?

Methodology: task-based learning’ by Scott Thornbury provides an accessible overview of the principles behind Task-Based Learning and their practical application in the language teaching and learning.


2. The Language Awareness Approach (LA)


What is it?

LA is a student-centred approach to language focus. It stipulates that students should be involved in exploration and discovery of language and the way it works. In LA, language is considered to be dynamic and treatment of language is holistic. The importance of context as well as the social dimension of language is consistently emphasized. It is strongly rooted in Second Language Acquisition theory. As such, it also emphasizes the importance of cognitive (mental) and affective (emotional) engagement for effective language learning. Collaboration, discussion, exploration and discovery are all encouraged, giving it much in common with TBL.


Why has it been chosen?

LA was selected due to the strong linguistic background possessed by the majority of upper intermediate students. A purely linguistic focus would be of limited use to these students, while a more holistic focus may enrich their understanding and use of language.


How can the Coach help?

The materials treat language holistically and encourage cognitive/affective engagement. To help students benefit fully from the design of the materials, the Coach ensures that they have time to fully discuss language focus questions. When giving feedback, the Coach takes into consideration the social dimension of language, i.e. the influence of society on language use, and the importance of context.


How can you find out more about this approach?

Awareness, appropriation and autonomy’ by Scott Thornbury outlines the principles behind the Language Awareness Approach and explains their relevance and application to second language learning and teaching.


3. The Intercultural Approach (IA)


What is it?

Intercultural is an adjective meaning ‘existing or happening between different cultures’. The Intercultural Approach aims to help students bridge the gap between their own and other cultures using English. In this approach, culture is related to the way the society we are from influences the way we speak, behave and view the world around us. Like LA, it views language as dynamic rather than fixed. The aim is to help students develop the skills and awareness they need in order to learn about foreign cultures. It also provides students with plenty of opportunities to explore and discuss their own culture in ways will enhance their understanding of the cultures connected with the second language.


Why has it been chosen?

English is used in many countries worldwide. As such, it has become an international language of wider communication. Therefore, it is highly likely that students will use it to speak to people of different cultures, in a variety of contexts. To do this successfully, awareness of the cultural differences and how language is used to enact social behaviour is essential. It combines naturally with TBL, as tasks can easily be adapted to incorporate an intercultural element.


How can the Coach help?

The Coach will regularly encourage students to reflect on the relationship between language and culture, by encouraging comparison between English language and culture with students’ first language and culture. More often than not, the Coach will bring to students’ awareness of language expressions that are miraculously similar or vastly different in the different cultures.


How can you find out more about this approach?

Getting into intercultural training’ by John King explores some key concepts in intercultural training.