From the Archives: James Taylor's Post on Teaching like Mike Leigh

Each Follow Friday (#FF on Twitter) we pull a buried blog post from the dusty archives of the web. We hope you agree that there is a lot to learn from these “oldie but goodie” posts by educators.

Teacher James TaylorWriter: James Taylor
Role in Education: EFL teacher
Date Posted: November 9, 2010
Subject: Reflecting on EFL Technique
Twitter ID: @theteacherjames
Blog: TheTeacherJames

Why we pulled it from the archives? One of the reasons I almost always wait for a movie to come out on DVD instead of watching it at the theatre is that I love the behind the scenes bonus material. Directors are some of the most creative humans on this planet, and there’s nothing like getting inside their heads after watching a great film that they created from scratch. James Taylor, known in the #ELT online community as The Teacher James, is both a writer and a teacher, and he was recently inspired by an interview with director, Mike Leigh. After watching the interview, James blogged about how some of the director’s techniques could be applied in the classroom:

” If we see the teacher as a director and the students as actors, then I think we can see the story as a curriculum. Rather than arrive in the classroom with a prescribed plan, detailing the students classes for the next few weeks, the teacher and the students (led by the students) make their own curriculum over the the length of the course. ”

James goes on to describe how Mike Leigh doesn’t share the whole story with his cast when filming begins, but rather lets them experience it naturally. With September coming, and new classes beginning, I highly recommend reading this post! Don’t be surprised if it inspires you to approach your classes with a new sense of direction.

PS-If you enjoy James’ writing, be sure to check out his ELT book reviews on

Check out all of our 2010/11 “From the Archives” tributes here. Be sure to follow all of these great educators on Twitter.


Leave a Comment ↓


    James Taylor says:

    Sep 09, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Thanks for sharing my post Tara. Your support is always greatly appreciated.



      Angelika says:

      Feb 22, 2012 at 11:14 am

      Thanks for spitpong by Sarah. That sounds like a really fun adaptation of writing a chain story. I’ll have to try it with my EFL writing students.They love this kind of activity. Thanks for the great idea!Cheers,Tara


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