Sunday, 27 May 2012

Teaching English in Italy: Advice and FAQs from TJ Taylor

TJ Taylor, a language training and consultancy company based in Milan, have produced a very useful guide to Teaching English in Italy: Advice and FAQs for anyone considering becoming an EFL teacher in Italy – or, indeed, for teachers who are already working but would like to know exactly what their options are:

'Teaching English in Italy can be a tremendously rewarding experience, especially as Italian adults are generally very rewarding students. However, there are some practices and situations to be aware of that will help you avoid the most common traps and frustrations of being a ESL teacher in the 'bel paese'.'

The guide includes 'some FAQs that we hope will help make your time in Italy as professionally and personally rewarding as possible.’

You can find some really good advice here and even if you are an experienced teacher or you run a school / consultancy, I think you will benefit from reading TJ Taylor’s answers to these FAQs. They are especially good on the thorny question of Italian employment contracts and tax – seemingly impenetrable topics that can flummox even the most rational and intelligent person!

I would add one point to TJT’s FAQs: if you are considering teaching in Italy – or if you already teach and want to become a freelancer or develop your career – it’s absolutely imperative that you speak to a commercialista. For anyone who doesn’t know what / who this is, a commercialista is a kind of “super accountant” / tax lawyer / Gandalf figure who will help you navigate the perils of Italy’s fiscal system. (‘Bureaucracy in Italy is designed to make life difficult.’ – TJ Taylor.)

There is a spectrum of schools and different language companies with “excellent and 100% trustworthy” at one end and “don’t touch them with a barge-pole” at the other. The overall message is: find out as much as you can before you accept a job with a school / employer; ask around – most EFL teachers will be very happy to tell you whether or not a particular school is OK or if you should steer clear of it; and make sure that you have all the correct paperwork – especially a contract.

I would also add that in the age of social media, you should join as many groups and networks as you can (such as the Milan Business English Network) and contact people who are already teaching in Italy. I am always very happy to advise people who want to come and teach here – especially in Milan.

Well done, TJ Taylor – especially Alex Taylor – for providing such a useful resource for teachers!

Read the Advice and FAQs here.

How to "Interpret the Future": understanding Social Business in English and Italian this June

Delegates at the Social Business Forum 2011 at the Marriott Hotel
I am currently working on an exciting project with OpenKnowledge called “Interpret the Future”. The main aim of this project is to co-ordinate and support a group of Italian-English / English-Italian interpreters who will be providing simultaneous translation at the Social Business Forum on 4-5 June 2012 at the Marriott Hotel in Milan.

Interpret the Future has grown from my collaboration with OpenKnowledge, an international consulting firm that specializes in helping large organizations realize their business potential through open and collaborative approaches based on the Social Business paradigm.

We have brought together six young interpreters who are not only brilliant linguists, but who are also using a range of social media tools and practices to develop their professional careers and profiles.

The team is also providing an English translation of the Social Business Manifesto for OpenKnowledge. This seminal document is being published in conjunction with the Harvard Business Review Italia.

As part of the project we have also established a blog called “Interpret the Future” which contains profiles of all the interpreters and team members, as well as topical articles and discussions on the opportunities and challenges facing interpreters in the digital era.

“Interpret the Future” will continue to run after the Social Business Forum in order to provide greater exposure and networking opportunities for the language professionals involved. We also envisage developing and extending “Interpret the Future” as an informal network for (mainly) young interpreters, translators and others who would like to find out more about the opportunities available from combining language skills and insights into social media. (More seasoned linguists who would like to exploit new technology to develop their careers will, of course, also be welcome!)

Visit the “Interpret the Future” blog:

About the Social Business Forum
The Social Business Forum is the leading European event on employee empowerment, customer engagement and collaborative innovation. With over 5 years of international experience and expertise it has attracted over 3600 participants and 150+ speakers. Attendees can meet international practitioners, globally recognized thought-leaders and experts. You can also connect with a network of vendors, managers and consultants to build long term relationships that will help your business.

The SBF features free sessions, keynote speeches, parallel business tracks, and an open conference. And, naturally, real-time translation in English and Italian will be provided by the Interpret the Future team!

In addition to dozens of companies sharing experiences and success stories there will be an Expo Pavilion featuring leading Social Business software vendors.

Find out more and get all the latest news from the Social Business Forum:

The Social Business Forum is an international conference organized by OpenKnowledge, a company founded in Italy, with offices in London, Shanghai and Sydney. OpenKnowledge is a consulting firm helping clients realize and increase their performance and efficiency through creative collaboration approaches. OpenKnowledge brings innovation into organizations by means of the new Social Business paradigm which is based upon a more participative, informal and bottom-up approach.

Visit the OpenKnowledge website:

Registration at the Social Business Forum, Milan in 2011