About @ij64

About me

My name’s Ian James and I’m a teacher of English as a foreign language. Originally from Cardiff, I now work at the Foreign Language Service of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. I have also taught English at International House and the British Council. I arrived in Barcelona in 1988 after graduating in Political Science at Leicester University.

Self-taught in HTML, CSS, Dreamweaver, Photoshop and Flash, I flirted with web design in the late nineties and early noughties. However, I threw in the towel when it became clear that everybody else had become a web designer too. Apart from things techie, my other interests include music (Ron Sexsmith, Rufus Wainwright, The Divine Comedy, Sufjan Stevens etc), photography, collecting thimbles and pricking balloons. I also have a weekend retreat (known as The Ruin) deep in the Catalan Pre-Pyrenees where I enjoy chopping wood, hugging trees and drinking wine on the terrace in front of the house.

I hope you find the blog useful,

Ian James


31 Responses “About @ij64” →
  1. Hugging trees?

    Are there only 2 schools in Barcelona? You all seem to hail from IH or British Council :-)


    • Yes, it’s a strange coincidence, Karenne. In fact, there are only 3 of us teaching in Barcelona these days. Tree hugging means getting close to nature and far from tech.

  2. Hey Ian,
    So, where were you & your great teaching ideas when I was teaching at IH Lisbon? And…how r u??
    Bé from Flatland

    • My God! Is that LPC Bé? How many years has it been? How did you find me? How’s life treating you in Utrecht? Hope the theatre work is going well! :-) Ian


  3. Andikona

    March 25, 2010

    What’s political science got to do with teaching EFL?

  4. Hi Ian,
    I really like your blog, excelent ideas. Well done and keep up the good work. Cheers, Kieran


  5. Pascal Shaw

    April 7, 2010

    Great blog…….I just need to find the time to read it ,-)

  6. Hey Ian
    What an impressive blog !!! That’s what I want to do when I’m a grown-up … Good stuff, thanks for the great ideas I’ll use in my English classes … and if Laura fancies a French version, let me know !!!

    • Thanks Manu! I am indeed flattered! As for a French version, from what I’ve heard I think there may be a pretty big niche out there i.e. not a lot of competition!


  7. Javier Sánchez

    April 8, 2010

    Estupendo blog, Ian, ya he comentado en nuestro Ning que me parece fantástico y la única pena para nosotros, los de español, es que las tareas están en inglés aunque algunas se pueden adaptar. Enhorabuena y saludos.


  8. Alex Vraciu

    May 4, 2010

    I absolutely love your blog! Hope you don’t mind my classes becoming Ian Jamesian very soon ( no need to “steal” the famous question sheets from the photocopier anymore!!!). Keep up the good work, Ian, but don’t put all your heart into it.


  9. philip Berman

    May 28, 2010

    Hello Ian

    Sorry to trouble you, but I was wondering whether you would consider reviewing a new TEFL DVD I’ve made. Or maybe, even mention it on your blog?

    The project was born of my wife’s frustration about the lack of good quality video materials out there. She’s a tutor at Sussex University. I am freelance BBC producer/director. Here’s a link to an excerpt from our first video.

    We are really proud of it, but wanted to get some feedback.

    I’ve written an article about how it was made. Let me know if you want more information

    Many thanks

    Philip Berman | Director | TeachTEFL


  10. Michael Shelby

    March 7, 2012

    I am a former ESL teacher. Would you like to read some of my articles that may give you new creative ideas?
    I have created a number of articles on mastering various aspects of English and a special list of the most important English learning aids. My articles have already been published on a number of websites but my articles may be of interest to you personally as I consider them more practical and more helpful than other articles for quicker and more effective mastering of English by foreign learners. My suggestions may be useful to you and adaptable for your purposes. You may be inspired to develop my suggestions further, or you may get new creative ideas in your English language activities.

  11. Hi Ian,

    Thought I’d add a comment to say you’re only the second tree hugger I have ‘met’ … and both worked at IH :) Jamie Duncan (ex IH Buenos Aires) is a great English language teacher who wrote a really useful activities book for teens (and some adults) called Passionfruit about 13 years ago – you can see him hugging a tree on the inside cover. Anyway, great teacher and great person, so for me tree hugging is certainly a plus in TEFL !

    • Tree hugging is most definitely cathartic … highly recommended … especially for IH teachers! :-) Thanks for dropping by, Irene!

  12. I’ve been trying to find ESL teachers in Barcelona. I have a question for you. I’m a teacher of IELTS in Singapore. I want to go to Spain and especially to Barcelona. Hablo Espanol – lo estudie por 3 anos in la universidad.

    Anyway, my question is if it’s easy for an ESL teacher to make a living in Spain and Barcelona? Also, is the IELTS a popular exam and is there a demand for IELTS teachers there? This is what I specialize in.


  13. Hello there, I found your site via Google at the same time
    as looking for a similar subject, your site came up, it seems good.
    I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.
    Hello there, simply turned into alert to your
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  14. Nicky Cullen

    September 19, 2013

    Hi James, I don’t see a contact section on your website. I have a partnership proposition for you. If you wish to hear more just drop me an email n.cullen@teachaway.com

  15. Hello Ian!
    I really like you are posting articles about so many different topics, what makes this website interesting not only for TEFL teachers?
    I have two questions: since you are promoting technologies into learning: have you ever tried Audience response system in learning? If so, what results have you accomplished?
    Second question is: would you be interested in making short interview for my blog? I would like to give example to follow for other teachers abroad :)

  16. Heya are using WordPress for your blog platform? I’m new to the
    blog world but I’m trying to get started and set up my own. Do you need
    any html coding expertise to make your own blog?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  17. Thanks for the good writeup. It if truth be told
    was once a entertainment account it. Glance complex to far added agreeable from you!
    By the way, how can we keep in touch?

  18. Hey there would you mind letting me know which web host you’re using?
    I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot quicker
    then most. Can you suggest a good hosting provider at a
    reasonable price? Thanks a lot, I appreciate it!

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1 Trackback For This Post
  1. Education: Some debates | Our Virtual English Classroom

    [...] activity, here comes the writing task. Choose one of the issues introduced in the presentation by Ian James and write your a comment presenting your [...]

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