Lewis Richards

About the Author

I got into EFL teaching completely by accident, loved it, and decided to make it my career, and life.  After finishing university in 1996, I really fancied living in France for a year and learning how to speak French, so I thought I’d just look for any job I could find and give it a go.  I was expecting to get a bar job, which would have been fine, but I saw an advert for a conversation teacher, no experience or qualifications requried, to teach in a secondary school in Paris, so I applied, and three weeks later I was standing in front of a group of 30 French teenagers, playing Pulp’s ‘Common People’ to a sea of blank faces.   My bad French was just about good enough at the time to understand the kids saying things like ‘What is he doing?’ and ’Who is this Pulp?’, ‘The teacher we had last year was much better’, and so on.

Despite the inauspicious start, I realised quite quickly that I really enjoyed what I was doing, and I wanted to do it more, but I needed to get qualified, so there would be fewer Pulp moments. When the year was up, I went back to England, and did a CELTA course in Brighton.  One of the tutors was a guy called Paul Seligson, who you may know as the author of some of the English File books, and his inspirational teaching style got me really interested and fired up about what you could do in a classroom, and how enjoyable English teaching could be.  I then spent about five years working abroad with International House, starting in the south of Spain, and ending up in Kiev at the age of 30, by which point, the overseas adventures came to an end, and I came back to my hometown, Portsmouth, and got a job in a school there called Language Specialists International.  Nearly a decade on, I’m still there, I now do teacher training, some management, and of course teach as well, mainly IELTS classes, but also some general English too.   I’ve since done a DELTA, and I find that the longer I teach, the more I enjoy it, and the better my classes are.  I even miss teaching if I’m on holiday for longer than about two weeks.  Sad, I know…

Working in LSI has been a real pleasure – a fantastic group of teachers, friends, and an enlightened management, who have all made it a fantastic place to work, and have been a great source of ideas and support.  One the most amazing teachers, and nicest people I’ve come across in the thirteen years I’ve been doing it is Richard Brown – we met in LSI, and our book IELTS Advantage: Writing Skills is the product of about five years of us working on and discussing ideas of how to help students to tackle the writing part of the exam, in as fun and interesting a way as possible.

When I’m not teaching, I play bass in a band with the very EFL name of ‘The Uncountables’, play a lot of tennis, watch Portsmouth FC, and enjoy beer and Korean food.

Lewis's Recent Blog Posts

  • Model Answers and IELTS Writing – why and how?

    In his last blog,  Richard Brown described the thinking behind how we organised ‘IELTS Advantage Writing Skills’, and in this one I’d like to talk a little bit about the thinking behind one of the key components of each unit of the book – model answers. Our book has nine units, and each unit starts [...]

  • Grammar and IELTS writing

    Hi there, I’m Lewis Richards, co-author with Richard Brown of ‘IELTS Advantage Writing Skills’, which is a new book published by Delta, aiming to help students achieve a 6.5 or higher in the writing part of the IELTS exam.   If you’d like to have a look at some sample pages from the book, have a [...]