I’ve been a freelance professional since mid-1996 and I’ve had a very varied career with many ups and downs. The main thread in my career has been my vocation to educate and inspire people.
www.explorelearngerman.com (redirects to the channel on YouTube)
In 2019 I launched a new YouTube channel called ExploreLearnGerman. I invite people to explore the world – die Welt erkunden – and at the same time, learn German – Deutsch lernen. In recent years I have become more committed than ever to teaching languages, especially my first foreign language, German.
German is part of my identity, though you might not think so, as I speak English with an English accent and I have an Irish name. English is my native language but I speak German to a very high level. I am effectively bilingual – zweisprachig. I think in a mixture of English and German. Often the German word comes into my head before the English word and I often speak German aloud.
After many years, my enthusiasm and fascination for the German language are undimmed. I began learning German at the age of 15 and got top grades in GCSE and A level. I studied German and French at Trinity College Dublin and spent my year abroad in West Berlin.
I taught German, French and English in Further Education in the UK, then moved abroad and taught English. In non-work time I developed my photography. After five years I returned to the UK in 1996 and set out on a freelance career. I founded the website Eyewitness in Manchester, with newsletter pages and features from Manchester, illustrated with my photographs.
I went on to take lots of photographs of Manchester and became involved with some amazing projects. I was one of the official photographers on the In The City music convention with Tony Wilson, I did stills photography for short films and feature films and eventually made my own short film drama.
Later I developed my aidan.co.uk site and benefited from a boom in online advertising and licencing of photography. As the market changed, I shifted towards teaching and started to build a portfolio as a freelance teacher of languages. Over time, the portfolio grew and in 2019 I spend most of my time coaching German language
I teach in multinational companies, including Siemens, I coach individuals both GCSE students, adults and retired people. I do evening classes in German with Cactus Languages. I also teach English as a Foreign Language. I have developed some strong principles of language learning which challenge conventional approaches.
I use my experience in photography and media for the benefit of my students. That’s why on the 9th of January, 2019 – my birthday – to set up a new YouTube channel focused on German language.
I want to help and encourage everyone to learn German. For this reason the channel is presented in a mixture of English and German. In fact I use mostly English, embedded with some German, so that everyone can learn a bit of German – ein bisschen Deutsch – even if they don’t want to!. I want people to think of German not as something foreign and difficult, but as an extension of English.
Photography remains an integral part of the project, though now I use my photographs to illustrate videos as well as web pages. I encourage people to make use of photography themselves, as a means to explore the world and for language learning. As an extension to the YouTube videos, I’m planning online courses in German and Photography.
I continue to offer my photo walks, the Victoria Baths Workshop and my one-to-one photography tuition.
My unique selling point is that I want to be a bridge between the English-speaking world and the German-speaking world. I will initially focus on the North West of England – Liverpool and Manchester, where most of my students are based. I want to provide them with interesting material about their home region with some German language content. I will also feature Dublin and Berlin and other cities across Europe. I am going to produce comparative features, comparing cities, the economy, transport and daily life in both areas.
I am keen to promote European co-operation and cultural exchange and to campaign in favour of language learning.
I want to be recognised as a ‘cultural ambassador’ moving between the two worlds – zwischen den beiden Welten. I would like to do this by becoming an authority on YouTube with lots of subscribers.
Well, those are my plans, let’s see if I make progress towards my goals.
Here’s the shortcut to the channel. Please hit the subscribe button, thank you, Danke schön!