Paul Seligson Returns to Valencia


Paul Seligson, photographed on the right with one of his many, young admirers, returned to a packed house at the Kinepolis cinema to present his star-studded blockbuster of a new, improved TEFL coursebook series.


Paul posed modestly for Valencia International after his exhausting and exhaustive presentation, in which he reviewed his philosophy of teaching and advocated the use of songlines as a way of enhancing teaching and learning, and crossing the Australian desert.


Seligson, like Churchill, is eminently quotable, and let slip more pearls than Maggie Thatcher, with statements such as: “I’m looking for investors in cognate wallpaper”

“we’re obsessed with native speaker English”

“imagine if you were from Korea…..”

“we’re over-editing ourselves for the wrong reasons”


And about his new coursebook….

“”it uses vocabulary you would never see in an international textbook”

“you can get anybody speaking at any time if you want to”

“the important stuff; practice and personalisation”


“I only use a teacher’s book when I don’t know the answer myself”


Paul launched a blistering attack on the use of the words ‘Polish’ and ‘Turkish’ in rival textbooks and gave an exemplary analysis in his down to earth way, connecting with the real daily work of teaching, and not with the unreality that the theorists working in their ivory towers and garages would have us swallow.

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As he pointed out in closing his remarks:

“I’m a dinosaur.”


EFL author Paul Seligson was the assistant director of studies to the late, lamented Peter Vickers at the British Council, Valencia at the end of the 1980s.

He was always an inspirational presence, someone who encouraged teachers to experiment, to push back the frontiers and try out new ideas.


He was also my occasional tennis partner, although he relied more upon irrepressible energy than technique, leaping around the court like a gazelle to little effect.

He was very much a ‘yes we can’ kind of person and many of us were sad to see him leave Valencia, although the tennis courts exhaled an enormous collective sigh of relief.

His career as an author had an auspicious beginning, being the creator of the highly successful English File series, before handing over the reins of that project to British Council disciple Clive Oxenden.

He began teaching in 1978, in Algeria and France, and, as well as Valencia, worked for the British Council in Egypt and Venezuela

A tireless, restless traveller, he has also taught in Argentina, Turkey, Mexico and Brazil, where he currently lives; all of which is a long way from Southend on Sea.

He began his writing career in the United States, before returning to the United Kingdom, teaching English to immigrants and refugees, and setting up a language school in Brighton.

He has published more than forty works, the latest of which is ‘English iD’ for the Richmond Publishing Company, the series that he presented in Valencia in style at the Kinépolis Cinema and leisure complex on April 29th .

paul books

There was also a presentation in Alicante on April 28th.
at the Auditorio Centro de negocios Alicante.
Muelle de Poniente.

Seligson is also the author of Essential English 1-5 (Richmond, 2009), Awesome 1 to 3 (Richmond, 2008-9), Power 1 & 2 (Richmond, 2004-5), Can Do 1 to 4 (Richmond, 2003-5), Your Turn Next: Teacher’s Books 1 & 2 (Richmond, 1999) and Helping Students to Speak (Richmond Teacher’s Handbook series, 1997).

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