EF Education First Teachers


Ross Thorburn

Ross started his teaching career close to 10 years ago in EF Hefei. Since then he has worked in nine different cities in China, teaching everything from one to one business lessons to classes of 60 young learners in Chinese primary schools as well as being a Director of Studies in three different schools. Ross is a member of TESOL International and IATEFL and has presented at both TESOL International and IATEFL's global conferences in 2015. Ross has also published articles on Language Teaching Management topics like performance management, teacher motivation, and the relationship between training and turnover. Ross is currently Teacher Recruitment & Training's Training & Development Manager.

Special Interests: Employee motivation, performance management, staff onboarding, English as a lingua franca, phonology.

Qualifications: Trinity Diploma in TESOL;Cambridge International Diploma in Language Teaching Management;Trinity Fellowship Diploma in TESOL Education Studies.


 Laura Wilkes

Since graduating from the University of St. Andrews, Laura has gained experience in a range of ESL settings from teaching young learners in language centres to postgraduates in university. In her seven years of working in education, she has taught Chinese and Spanish speakers and trained education staff in China, Indonesia and Russia. Laura holds a CELTA, a Diploma in TESOL, achieving distinctions in Phonology and Teaching components, and recently completed a PGCE in Learning Technologies with the University of Leicester. Prior to her current role Distance Learning Trainer, Laura worked as the Regional Trainer for South China, for EFEC as a senior teacher and a manager, and as a teacher in Kids and Teens. Since taking on the role of Distance Learning Trainer, Laura has designed the Learning Development distance course, facilitates on average 18 courses a year and coaches the distance learning Teaching Assistant team. 

Special Interests: Phonology, Developing different speakers of English, Learning Technologies


Tracy Yu

Tracy has been working in education industry for 10 years since she graduated with a degree in English Education . Before joining EF, she taught in a respected High School in Beijing for a year. This experience enriched her professional knowledge and skills in terms of teaching young learners.

She is a TKT Practical assessor approved by Cambridge English Language Assessment and a trainer on the Trinity Certificate in TESOL approved by Trinity College UK. Since 2007, her role at EF has been changed from Teacher, Senior Teacher, Centre Education Manager in EF English Centers for Adult Learners to the current Regional Trainer position. 

Special Interests: Lesson structures, the role of feedback in the classroom and trainer development

Qualifications:  Diploma in TESOL, Trinity College London; Teaching Young Learners Certificate, Cambridge University and National English Teaching Qualification in PRC, China. 


Dave Weller

Dave has 10 years’ experience working in China and the TEFL industry. Along the way, he’s gained both a Trinity DipTESOL and a Master’s degree in TESOL. He currently works as a tutor and examiner for the Trinity DipTESOL, and is the Assistant Course Director for the CertTESOL. He has previously worked as a Director of Studies in Xi’an and an Area Manager for EF Franchise, supporting 24 schools China-wide.

Special Interests: Corpus linguistics, data in second language acquisition and the role of connection in the classroom. 

Qualifications: Trinity DipTESOL, MA TESOL


Matt Courtois

Matt has been in ELT for over 10 years, first as a volunteer in a Bolivian high school and then as a teacher for young learners and adults in South Korea, Nepal, Russia, and China. Since joining TRT, Matt has been responsible for teacher training in Shenzhen, including the Trinity CertTESOL course and helping with the Trinity DipTESOL practical block there. He's also run distance learning courses in Management, Motivation, Grammar, and Lexis. Previous to this role, he was a teacher for EFEC in Guangzhou, then Senior Teacher, and Center Education Manager. 

Special Interests: learning processes, student and teacher motivation, classroom approaches


Felicity Pyatt

After completing her CELTA in Brighton, England, Felicity came to China to work in EF Kids & Teens. She moved to EFEC in 2013 and became a Senior Teacher last year. Following her interests, she submitted a DipTESOL Portfolio in October, exploring the lasting effects of feedback, using phones effectively in the classroom, and a study of student reading habits. She's recently completed work as the Project Manager for the Guangzhou teachers' Autumn Forum.

Special interests: technology in the classroom, structuring lessons, etymology


Simon Galloway

Simon started teaching English in Fukuyama, Japan, more than 12 years ago. He then moved to China where he has worked for EF in Yuyao, Wuhan and now in Shanghai. He has been a teacher, senior teacher, DOS (in 3 different schools) and Production Manager, and has Cert.TEOL, Dip.TESOL, and IDLTM qualifications. During his teaching career he has taught all ages from 3 to 65, been a judge on Hubei Province’s Star of Outlook speech contest, coached TOEFL and IELTS applicants and once taught a class of over 1000 students. Simon adds to his learning about language development by studying Chinese and watching his young son become increasingly bilingual. As Senior Certifications Trainer, Simon is very excited to support more teachers making key steps in their professional development.


Special Interests: child development, theories of learning and memory, technology in the classroom, collecting and using feedback


Ray Davila

Ray started his ESL career in Costa Rica. While working for a private language learning institution, he became an English trainer for young Spanish learners in the CINDE Costa Rican National English Education program. After realizing he had found his niche in teaching, he decided to develop and broaden his teaching skills and experience by joining EF China which he has done for over 2 years. During his time here, he has worked for EFEC as a teacher and as senior teacher after his first year. He has also hosted talks and seminars at teacher forums and trainings, served as an in-center trainer in Shanghai, and completed his Trinity Diploma in TESOL. 



Special interests: learner autonomy, behaviorism in the classroom, social constructionism in the classroom, student motivation


Catherine Hsieh

Catherine Hsieh is a professional career coach and Training Specialist with a background in Psychology and Social Behavior. From teaching in 2011 to recruiting over 145 teachers, she’s now committed to strengthening and developing training projects to encourage development of professional skills among teacher and managers. She runs the distance learning course in Intro to Coaching, manages the Teacher Ambassador and Job Shadow program.


Special interests: Talent development, social psychology, teacher training and coaching

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