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Ross Thorburn
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  • Shanghai
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Profile Information

When will you join EF?
Current EF staff
What city will you be/are you in?
Which EF division are you with?
EF Corporate
What nationality are you?
What excites you most about China?
Because it's awesome!
What kind of teaching qualification do you have?
Who's your recruiter?
N/A (office staff / local teacher)

Useful Stuff

For any teachers coming to Shanghai, here are directions to Zhongshan Park, where your initial training will take place.


COD Observations is something which might help CODs observing lessons.


How to be a good/bad trainee?


Training & Development Newsletter October 2012


Typical teacher training feedback.

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Comment Wall (41 comments)

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At 11:37pm on June 5, 2016, Terrence B. Miller said…

Thanks bro, I was just wondering

At 5:52pm on October 21, 2015, Pamela Elston said…

Thank you for the kind well wish, Ross. I am quite excited about the trip and the new job. :)

At 12:01am on June 24, 2014, Christina Nguyen said…
Hey there Ross! What weekend? It's been a very long few days, but I did manage to find an apartment in the French Concession. Thanks for asking. Saw more of your videos in class today :)
At 11:44am on January 9, 2013, Linda Yu said…

Thank you very much.

At 10:13am on December 8, 2012, Crystal Geng said…


At 2:54pm on December 5, 2012, Samuel Lawrence Wade said…
I've had a couple yes. These days I have a few early HFs starters, 1a, 1b. If you get the right students it can be fun. Was running around giving jumping high fives to my students with the hand flash card yesterday. One high fived it so hard that it broke the plastic wallet it was in. Haha
At 2:33pm on November 12, 2012, Miranda Lemburg said…

Hi Ross!!!! It was good to see you again on Wednesday. Thank you for coming to mine and Jacky's workshop- I hope you enjoyed it.

At 12:51am on November 10, 2012, Lionel Rowe said…

It was great to meet you, really enjoyed the workshop too. See you next time!

At 11:29pm on November 9, 2012, Nathan Eberly said…

Ross it was a pleasure to meet you and have the opportunity to talk. I hope to see you again sometime. Take care.

At 6:23pm on July 19, 2012, winnie zhang said…

Hey Ross, its a great website~~ nice photo by the way~

Ross Thorburn's Blog

We forgot to teach the 3 most important words in English

Posted on July 30, 2014 at 11:04am 1 Comment

Last summer, somewhere 37,000ft above the Middle East, in line for the bathroom, I overheard these words: "They're so rude. They never say please or thank you."

You get no prizes for guessing who the flight attendant was complaining about: the hapless Chinese passengers on the VS251 from Pudong to Heathrow.

Every year China spends $2.1 billion on English language education to help its people interact with the rest of the world and every year 100,000 foreign teachers move to China…


Echo, echo, echo

Posted on July 9, 2014 at 4:11pm 1 Comment

Who do you think the following exchange is taking place between?

A: What are you doing this weekend?

B: What are you doing this weekend?

A: Maybe I’ll go to the cinema.

B: Maybe I’ll go to the cinema.

A: Really?

B: Really?

A: What?

B: What?

Were the participants:

1. Person A and their talkative parrot?

2. Person A and their annoying younger sister?

3. Person A and their English Language Teacher?

Sadly, the most likely scenario for…


Put your phones away. On second thoughts, don't.

Posted on April 11, 2014 at 10:00am 2 Comments

How many of us start lessons by asking students to put their mobile phones away? Probably too many. The vast majority of our students come to class with a computer more powerful than all of NASA had in 1969. NASA used their technology to put men on the moon with a rocket. Our students use their technology to fight zombies with plants. Doesn’t that sound like a waste?

Mobile phones dominate how we interact with each other and access information. Phone usage continues to…


The Sound of Learning

Posted on October 21, 2013 at 11:17am 1 Comment


You can’t hear learning taking place, can you? You can’t hear the cogs in students’ brains turning as they try to get their heads round a new language concept, can you? You can’t hear the humming of a learner’s’ brain as they internalize a new word, can you? Well, I think you can. The best classes I’ve ever observed and taught all had this sound in abundance. You’ve heard this sound before. You know what it sounds like.


What’s the sound?…



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