Simon Mellor-Clark is the director of Mission English, a Spain-based
company specialised in language training and testing for the military.
Simon has worked extensively in ESP teaching, testing and materials
design. Simon started in the field of Business English and went
on to become Director of Studies of an International House executive
school. He later specialised in ESP for the military, studying for
an MSc in Teaching English for Specific Purposes oriented towards
military English. Simon is the author of a course in technical military
English and is a NATO STANAG 6001 examiner for the Spanish Defence
Language School and for Spain’s Guardia Civil. He has worked
in Greece, France, Spain and the UK.
I have two great passions in life: text and textiles, which I suppose
in a way define my chaotic but hopefully creative lifestyle, surrounded
by books, fabrics and yarns. I am never happier than when I manage
to create something, whether it be ELT materials for my students,
a classroom atmosphere conducive to learning, a good translation,
or quilting or weaving a tapestry on my loom.
When I left university with a degree in Modern Languages, I wanted
to travel round the world and use my languages. Spain seemed like
a good place to start and without much thought or planning, I accepted
a teaching post in Zaragoza, expecting to move on after a year or
so. However, apart from a brief interlude in Cusco, Peru, I have
spent my entire working life in this country, dividing my time between
free-lance translating and ELT, collaborating in particular with
the Spanish military. During this time I have collected a number
of professional qualifications in both fields, including an M.Ed,
which led me into doing some serious ELT research, particularly
with respect to language learning and motivation. One of the immediate
outcomes was to co-write a series of course books specifically for
the Spanish cadets. And then along came Macmillan.
After obtaining a degree in International Marketing at Thames Polytechnic,
I went to live in Madrid and accidentally got into EFL teaching
and have never looked back. In 1989 I started my own company and
opened two language schools just outside Madrid. I’ve taught
general English and business English and in 1996 I obtained a contract
with the Spanish Ministry of Defence to teach English in the Engineer’s
Military Academy, in Hoyo de Manzanares, Madrid. Over the last four
years I have also taught part time for the British Council in Somosaguas.
For family reasons I moved to Pontevedra on the north-west coast
of Spain in January 2003, and have been teaching part time for an
academy and for the army at the BRILAT (the airborne division),
as well as studying for the Institute of Linguists Diploma in Translation
and of course, writing the procedural notes for the Campaign Teacher’s
I have over 20 years of experience in English teaching and training. My first post after graduating with an MA from Edinburgh University in 1984 was as an English teacher in Sudan’s Northern Province. After a two year break in Scotland as a freelance journalist I took up a post as an assistant lecturer at Beijing Foreign Studies University. I was awarded an MSc in Applied Linguistics from Edinburgh in 1992. I moved to northern China for three years where I was responsible for training in-service tertiary level teachers from Heilongjiang, Liaoning and Hebei provinces. From 1995 to 1998, I was a lecturer at the University of Brunei Darussalam. More recently, I co-ordinated a teacher training programme for several hundred teachers across 24 countries in Central & Eastern Europe and Central Asia on behalf of the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Ministry of Defence. I was based in Bulgaria and advised the Bulgarian Ministry of Defence on its English language and testing policies prior to NATO entry.
I now live and work out of Edinburgh where I run an education consultancy business. My clients include DfID, the FCO, MOD and British Council. I continue to write books and newspaper articles in my spare time.
I've been teaching ESL in Madrid for three years, primarily to military
personnel. I've written or helped develop numerous materials for
military students, including: thematic military and political texts
for class discussions, a mini-text book, test preparation materials,
official exams, and a speaking and writing guide for briefings and
I'm passionate about politics and international relations, and
have recently finished writing a non-fiction book exploring a new
theory for human rights.