Why write?

How many reasons can you think of? Here are some to start us off…

1. Writing is good for your memory

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Research shows that writing using pen and paper helps build motor memory. Why? The brain triggers as you form letters with the pen and associate the letters with ideas. Your brain loves to grab at new ideas.

2. Writing helps you relax

Ever tried to fall asleep while your brain scrolls through your “things to do” list and the negatives of the day? Add a 2 minute write down to your pre sleep wind down routine. Keep a notebook and pen next to your bed for this.

What if you are feeling down – or angry, or if you are depressed?

Make a note of your feelings – or write a letter to the cause of the feelings. It can really help to get perspective when you write. You can keep the writing – or  burn it later!

3. Can writing help you feel happier?

Experts differ in their views about Positive Psychology. But thinking actively and feeling thankful work for me. Again, using a nightstand notebook, I write down a message of thanks before sleeping. Maybe I had something major to be thankful for – perhaps a fantastic holiday experience. Or maybe something small – I had breakfast off my favourite plate. Or my cat curled up on my lap. Actively thinking about the positives, and looking at my list from time to time helps me to appreciate all that I have.

4. Improving relationships

It feels great to write and send messages on social media, giving instant connection and warmth. A written card or message received from a loved one helps us to feel valued and to know we are in someone’s thoughts.

5. Becoming a better writer

Do this by actively writing with a reader and a communicative purpose in mind. Think about organisation, grammar and vocabulary variety. If you would like to become more confident, why not write something for me? We can see how I can support you in getting your message just right.

Fran Traynor 😁


Tide Whisperer

Tenby September 15 2018


When I was a child we went to Tenby every summer. We camped. We played in the sand, we had ice cream for breakfast and ate chips for every other meal. It also rained every day. But we didn’t care. We put on our coats and carried on. We loved it. But everything changed.

One year we stopped. We became too old for ice cream and soggy games. We had friends to see and more exciting places to explore. It was 1979 and high school lay ahead. Long lazy summers disappeared and school work and Saturday jobs took over.


So returning last weekend was rather exciting. I didn’t camp – but stayed in a traditional guest house. I ate chips for every meal and walked on the beach. I am happy to say that not much has changed after all these years. It still rains and it is still beautiful.


On Saturday there was a National Theatre of Wales production – ‘The Tide Whisperer’. It was amazing. The audience wore headphones and we followed the actors to different locations where we watched each scene. The stories were so tragic. Stories of people having to leave their homes and travel across the sea to make new lives in new countries. We tried to understand from their different perspectives.

We were given headphones and divided into colour groups.


We walked in our groups to the beach.received_259963704851508The actors played their parts as we watched and listened.received_238335213518499Finally all of the groups converged at the water’s edge.received_551537621933238We were asked to consider these questions:

What if it was me? What if I had to leave my home, my family and my country?

What if it happened here?

How would I feel?

What would I do?

Where would I go?

How can I take responsibility and do something to change the situation?

If you would like to know more about Tide Whisperer, please go to

Fran Traynor


How do I become a TESOL Teacher?

This was a question asked by a lovely friend who has taught children for many years. Well, it’s a good question. To answer it, you need to consider what, who and where you would like to teach. There are many contexts for the profession….

You might consider Teaching English to adults or children (Teaching Young Learners) on short or extended courses at home, abroad or online. Many TESOL Teachers (including me!) work with students of different ages and with different goals both face to face and online.

Some learners want to communicate in English with people from all around the world. This is sometimes referred to as General English, or English for International Communication. Others need English language skills and qualifications to survive or thrive in their academic lives – (English for Academic Purposes) and careers – (English for Business). Many learners – and their parents- regard achieving a good command of English as being essential in life.

There is a variety of formal English Language Examinations which teachers can help students to prepare for. Students can use the results to demonstrate their English level to employers and academic institutions. Some examples of common exams are: IELTS, TOEIC, TOEFL and Oxford, Trinity and Cambridge Certificates at different levels. There are also specialist tests and qualifications to support specific professions and vocations, residency and citizenship in countries where English is spoken as the official first language. There are also suites of exams aimed specifically at young learners. There are so many ways for teachers to make a difference as they support learners in defining and achieving their goals.

The opportunities to make a difference to people’s lives through teaching really are major. Whilst low earnings can be an issue in this kind of teaching, the day to day variety and enjoyment of the work and the real impact of knowing I am helping other people keep me coming back for more.

To explore online teaching opportunities – search online as the situation changes daily. At the moment there are many organisations operating, most of them offering lessons to children. Some examples include DadaABC and iTutor Group. Teachers tend to work part time for different ones according to demand.

Requirements and conditions vary, but many provide lessons for teachers to use and most offer initial training. In addition, most will pay a higher hourly rate to teachers with qualifications and experience.

There is an excellent introduction course on Futurelearn – ‘Teaching English Online’.  It is run by Cambridge Assessment. The course is free, with a fee for people who want to get a certificate.

If you are aiming to work with adults in UK private colleges and  have an accurate native speaker level of English, you need a Bachelor’s degree and the Cambridge CELTA, Trinity Cert TESOL or another initial TESOL quaification with 6 hours of observed teaching practice. You can see CELTA Information at

Or ask me – I have designed and delivered 120 CELTA Courses and am a Cambridge ESOL Assessor.

A really handy book for teaching adults is ‘Learning Teaching’:

Learning Teaching: A guidebook for English language teachers … › Learning-Te…

If you are aiming to work with young learners in UK or international private colleges you need a Bachelor’s degree and the Cambridge CELTA, Trinity Cert TESOL or another initial TESOL quaification with 6 hours of observed teaching practice. You will need additional training, much of which tends to happen on the job. You will also need police checks and training in sadeguarding and other issues as legally required for working with young learners.

Some really handy books for teaching young learners are ‘English for Primary Teachers’ and ‘500 Primary Classroom Activities’:

For online resources check out BBC Learning English to start you off.

If you would like to see some examples of language presentations, I am building a set of videos on my TESOLFran Youtube Channel:

I also regularly share TESOL related info on my Facebook page:

Please feel free to like my page and you will see the info as I add it.

All the best with whatever you decide – and I hope to meet you in a staffroom somewhere one day –

In the meantime, please feel free to email me if you have questions that I don’t answer here at –

Fran Traynor


Boots for the end of the world

Last night I had a nice glass of Bailey’s for a nightcap. And this is where I think the problem began. Before getting into my comfy bed, I looked out of the window to check that the world outside was as it should be. Which it was.

And so to bed. And the most horrendous end of the world nightmare possible. As there had been a terrible but unexplained disaster, I had to live in my car. Why did everyone else who survived still live in their cosy flats and houses, while I had to live in my car? And why was my car parked outside the house where I grew up? And why didn’t I just go inside and hang out with my family who were all inside? Who knows? But I didn’t. Instead I plotted and schemed for a way to get inside secretly and rescue my most important possession. All night.

And what possession did I want to rescue? My slippers. That’s it. They are great slippers – knee length Uggs. But seriously? When I finally woke up, I wondered why I hadn’t rescued something more important.  If I had the chance again, I’d rescue my passport. What would you rescue?

You can never go back


Last night I dreamed of Ho Chi Minh City. When I woke up I was surprised to be in Manchester. The dream was so real.

I immediately wanted to see my photos of the trip I made in 1994 but the photos are only in Australia – long story – stories actually – and in my head of course.

So I went to Google Images to find some, and – surprise, surprise- a lot has changed in 24 years and I could hardly recognise the place! The landmarks I remember are shadowed by towering buildings with pretty neon lights. All except one.

The Cao Dai Temple. The first time I saw it was with my sister in law Cathie who is a tireless adventurer, researcher of peoples and an incredible photographer – I must ask her for photos of that day.


It was a humid and heavy day but the building was glowing in colours impossible to describe or accurately capture in photos. It took my breath away. Seeing something like that makes me very emotional. But then we went inside.

And I was so stunned that I had to sit down a while. Inside was a riot of colour, ideas, chaos and order. In my travels before and since, no place has affected me in quite this way.


Cao Dai takes ideas and influences from a mix of sources and recognises prophets from a range of other religions as well as traditional ethical ideas from Vietnamese sources. In this context, every aspect of the architecture is completely logical and fit for purpose. What seems chaotic on first viewing makes complete sense – especially once the people come to worship. No part of the design is there by chance.


So you see you can go back. It just takes a dream and a bit of Googling to prompt you.

If you would like to know more, you could start here:





















Future Learn Teaching English Online Course

Taking a Future Learn Course is always good for professional development and confidence.

The Teaching English Online Course was designed and delivered by Cambridge Assessment. The mentors were highly experienced teacher trainers and there were hundreds of teachers from all over the world to interact and study with.

The course was three weeks long and there were lots of different practical tasks to complete. There were scripted videos, readings and links to useful tools and resources.

I’d recommend this course to teachers who are experienced face to face but who are novices to online teaching.