by Hazel Orchard (Former Deputy Director of the RSA Examination Board)
I met John after I joined the RSA in 1972. International House was one of the early supporters of the certificate in TEFL and it offered a large number of short courses too.
John wanted us to certificate these short courses and this meant we had a big battle on our hands. After all, at the time there was no final written examination, no externally assessed practical test and no conventional syllabus. Nevertheless, we did perservere and eventually won through.
John was on the RSA Advisory Committee which was at that time an anarchic and disputatious group. His contributions were urbane, laid-back and sometimes provocative.
I am reminded of an occasion when he boosted the RSA scheme with the briefest intervention. The universites were worried about the growth of the Diploma and were trying to convince the British Council not to recognise it when recruiting. A university representative said "Give me an employer who would appoint someone with the RSA Diploma rather than with an MA in Applied Linguistics." "I would" John replied simply.
In 1982 he delivered one of the RSA lectures and Frank Candlin, the great EFL guru, introduced him by saying that "no one has contributed more to the spread of the English language throughout the world."
I am sure that all those involved in the RSA scheme would agree.
Source: ELEuropean August 1996
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