About me

My name is Mark Andrews, I work in Budapest and live in that yellow building in the picture behind the bridge! I have been teaching at ELTE university since 1996 and before that worked as a teacher trainer in the German Democratic Republic, Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. I also co-ordinate the IATEFL Hungary Culture and Literature Special Interest Group.

My educational influences are a strong belief in comprehensive schooling as eloquently argued for by Caroline Benn, the strong version of communicative language teaching in ELT developed by Mike Breen and Chris Candlin and, in more general pedgogy,  the writings of Paulo Freire, John Dewey, Carl RogersJohann Heinrich Pestalozzi, whose school I visited a few years ago in Yverdon in Switzerland.

My father was also a big influence. He was also a teacher trainer with a strong sense of justice and saw the importance of treating everybody as individuals, rather than one big mass, always taking into account their personal circumstances. He always encouraged people in the real sense of giving them courage to try to achieve what they wanted to achieve in life.

I’m sure he would have been pleased with me getting into blogging although I wonder, given his somewhat shy personality, whether he would have been into it in a big way but he’d have been in there somewhere!  He took and passed an “A” level in photography shortly before he died in 1998, he was fast mastering the internet and was just about to buy a digital camera, so who knows how digitally shy he might have been?

So, in 2010 I’m going to try to use this blog as an exploration of “Quality of Life” in classrooms in all its manifestations.

When I’m not in classrooms I’m usually to be found soaking in thermal baths, wandering round Eastern and Central Europe, often in countries that the Danube flows through,


or enjoying all the delights that Budapest has to offer of which there are many! A friend of mine, Andrew Eames, followed the Danube, and places around the Danube, from source to delta, by bike, by barge, on horseback,  paddling in a boat and hiking.


He was following in the steps of Patrick Leigh Fermor and his journey was an inspiration for me to embark on this journey on an exploration into the world of the classroom, broadly based on the territories of the old Austro-Hungarian empire. I hope you enjoy reading what you find here and please feel free to comment on anything you feel would add to an understanding of the issues, questions and puzzles raised.  And wasn’t it Oscar who said that nothing that is worth learning can be taught?:)


18 thoughts on “About me

    • yeah Anita, I really enjoyed Lindsay Clandield’s talk on blogs at our IATEFL conference very much and I almost started then but it took me till the New Year to get it going properly. Am enjoying it immensely and wish you lots of readers too! Being able to use Web 2 tools gives us so many opportunities to share and communicate, doesn’t it. We are no longer at the mercy of rich newspaper owners for getting our voices heard. They are still mighty powerful but maybe this whole blogging thing is a step in the direction of building a much more democratic cuture. I hope so Anita anyway. Good luck with your blog too!

  1. Hey Mark! I had no idea you were so close to Varazdin or I would have, of coure, let you know. I was there yesterday (lovely group) and today have talks in Zagreb…tomorrow back to rainy Spain. Hope you’re well and LOVE your blog!! Congrats!!

    • glad you like the blog Nina. It’s been a lot of fun putting it together, so many things to think about in terms of layout, colours, topics and how to provide a focus for it. I’m learning a lot! Good luck in Zagreb! And hope to meet up somewhere this year like we did in Slovenia and Poland. Are you going to Lisbon for the OTA training?

    • thanks for that Agi, very thoughtful of you, will listen to it,am a big fan of bridges as you know. I’d thought of doing a blog post of my favourite 7 bridges sometime and link it to ELT!

  2. Hi Mark, I just want to say that I really enjoy your posts. Thank you for sharing what is in your head with us. I’ll almost have my blog! I should have one months ago… I examined the site you recommended (about dyslexia work of your friends), thanks again. Go on twitting:) @bcbuge

    • thanks Candan, glad you enjoy reading them. Don’t know why I didn’t start earlier really, I suppose there is a time for everything in one’s life and when it feels right……probably wouldn’t have started without twitter though, as Scott Thornbury also said. Twitter really is the thing that lubricates all this interesting discussion.

  3. Hi Mark ! I hope that you are doing well . Grenville has just sent me ur blog address . I am so happy to know your news . I do still remember the good time I had in your class in Barnstaple two years ago . By the way , this summer , I will be there and wish I could see you .

  4. Dear Mark, Ekaterina and all,
    If this message works I would just like to say that I was so happy to see the kind and fond words about my Dad Fred Singleton. Thank you so much. Please email me, I’m in touch with Vaska, Mel, Peggy and Graham, all dear friends.

  5. Dear Mark,

    I was quite inspired by your blog… I am actually planning a family trip to Eastern Europe this Spring. Currently we just have Budapest, Prague, and Dubrovnik on the itinerary… if you have any recommendations of not-to-be-missed cities/villages/sights, that would be most appreciated..

    Thank you for your time,


  6. A BIG hello to my flamenco dancing partner at IATEFL conference! :)I love your blog and Leni Dam interview and will keep checking the page regularly! Greetings from Ljubljana,


  7. I am a former teacher of English as a second language.
    Would you like to read some of my free articles that may give learners of English new ideas for more productive learning? 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 learners (users of your site) and to you personally. I consider them more practical and more helpful than many articles for quicker and more effective mastering of English by foreign learners. My suggestions may be useful to you and adaptable for your purposes.

  8. Hi Mark,

    Have been trying to contact you about our Euro Studs reunion on 22nd Sept in Brighton. Could you please get in contact?

    Thanks and all the best,

  9. Loved this site. Needed the information as my son was working on an Eastern European project for school.
    Can’t wait to take him to Europe in a few years to enjoy the history and culture.

    Great writing. I remember my days when I was studying in Vienna and going to other European countries on weekends.

    Thank you.

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    I’ve visited your site  and found that your site’s themes are related with ours. Therefore, we’d like to place a 3-month 125*125 banner ad (Do Follow) or Text Ad(Do Follow) on your site. And a sponsored post is also available. I don’t want CPM or CPC. Would you please quote me your price?
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