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From Teacher to Manager: Managing Language Teaching Organisations

Components: Handbook for managers of language teaching organizations and accompanying online glossary Authors: Ron White, Andy Hockley, Julie van der Horst Jansen and Melissa S. Laughner Publisher: Cambridge University Press This book is aimed at both current managers of language teaching organizations and aspiring managers, be it as owner, DOS, ADOS, Academic Director or in […]
Reviewed for Teflnet by Janis Crolla

Components: Handbook for managers of language teaching organizations and accompanying online glossary
Authors: Ron White, Andy Hockley, Julie van der Horst Jansen and Melissa S. Laughner
Publisher: Cambridge University Press

This book is aimed at both current managers of language teaching organizations and aspiring managers, be it as owner, DOS, ADOS, Academic Director or in any other supervisory role. It may also be useful preparation material for Cambridge ESOL International Diploma in Language Teaching Management (IDLTM) candidates. The topics covered include strategic and operational financial management, sales and marketing, customer service, and academic and HR management. It is a concise reference book, carefully organized with cross-referencing to link the integrated processes of management, and supplemented by case studies and vignettes, all of which relate to real life situations in actual LTOs.

I have read and used books on management in the past, but this is the first I have seen which relates specifically to language organizations. I was very impressed, and particularly enjoyed reading the case studies and vignettes, which give the reader a deeper understanding of the chapter theme, offer fresh ideas, and may provide possible parallels with their own organization.  Each chapter is interspersed with tasks, which not only aid the learning and understanding process, but, as in the case studies, enable readers to personalize the practices to their own work. There are also reflection notes throughout the book which invite the reader to analyze each of the topics discussed and how they are practiced in their own organizations. This reflective and often task-based approach can help identify areas for improvement or potential training needs.

Returning to the topics, the book, in my opinion, has successfully covered all aspects of running an LTO, from the financial and marketing side of the business to recruitment, performance management, and staff motivation. Each chapter is broken down into various components related to the main topic, for example, the marketing and sales chapter deals with strategic marketing, finding out what the customers want, marketing mix, and marketing plans. The vignettes show both positive and negative perspectives to certain situations and the case studies vary in length, none being more than a page long. Incidentally, some of the case studies may also be useful for business English lesson plans. There is also a brief introduction to each chapter and a useful, thought-provoking conclusion.

Management may not be regarded as an exciting or fulfilling role in general, but this book clearly demonstrates what a huge difference good managers make to the business, its customers and – last but not least – the employees. I believe management is a skill which can be learned and the book provides all the necessary tools with the focus on predictive rather than reactive management, the latter unfortunately being the case in many LTOs (as I´m sure many of you will agree).

My only criticism is that the book presents an LTO utopia, far removed from many of the foreign LTOs we work for. This is not really a direct criticism of the content as there is undoubtedly a wealth of advice and suggestions for improvement and some of the problems and inefficient management practices we face on a daily basis are included in the vignettes. Readers may, however, feel that the aims are unachievable and be left with a sense of desperation about their current working conditions. The main feeling it left me with, however, was “Can we get this book translated into Spanish for the owner of the school where I´m currently working?”

Reviewed by Janis Crolla for Teflnet December 2008

2 Comments

  • amir says:

    i want o download this for my professional development and for helpinhg others

  • Joshua Lange says:

    It’s an excellent update from Management in ELT with very good case studies. The marketing plan section should be essential reading for all ELT decision-makers!

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Teflnet : TEFL Book Reviews : Teaching : From Teacher to Manager: Managing Language Teaching Organisations