John Peter Sloan takes a bet on Sicily

John Peter Sloan takes a bet on Sicily and opens a school of English in Menfi.

Sloan, that most famous of English teachers, who has revolutionised teaching methods for both children and adults, has decided to transfer to the province of Agrigento.

petersloanJohn Peter Sloan, the popular actor and writer of dozens of English textbooks, is moving to Sicily “forever”. In less than ten years he has turned the method of teaching the language from across the channel upside down – becoming a point of reference for teachers in private and state schools – and he has decided to move to Sicily and open in Menfi the “Sloan scuola di inglese”, that’s to say a really proper place to learn the language, which will have as its focus children, adults and teachers who want to develop the maximum learning potential in their students.

The centre will be at Menfi’s scuola paritaria Rotolo, in via Benvenuto Cellini 12, Agrigento province. John Peter Sloan along with Asia Gagliano – the English teacher from Menfi with whom he designed the method aimed at the youngest children, Da zero kids – will introduce what is known in the field of teaching the world’s most widespread foreign language as the “Sloan Method”, centred on the conviction that Italians’ real difficult in learning English is due to boring and ineffective courses.

The “Sloan Method” focuses on enjoyment and on examples based around images and direct dialogue. And the results are proving him right. Sloan has fourteen publications to his name – he is also known to many through his comedy on Zelig, Amici, Quelli che il calcio, as a commentator on talk show TV and via numerous radio appearances – that have sold hundreds of thousands of copies and have been published in France, Germany, Spain, Poland and Brazil, as well as Italy. Sloan’s same technique is also now being applied in the teaching of Spanish and French.

Returning to Sicily, Menfi will be the beating heart of all of John Peter Sloan’s present and future activity. There, on December 7th, he will present the school to the public at a big event. Teaching activity will start in January 2017. Meanwhile, course enrolments are open.

“I’m starting with one classroom”, says Sloan, born in Birmingham on 27 February 1969 and resident in Italy since 1990, “and I hope that with time it will become two or three. If there are many enrolments I will bring other teachers with me who are already educated in my method. We will focus on children and adults. English is so useful here in Sicily. It’s not the Sicilians’ fault if they’re not comfortable with English. The problem lies with the teachers who must learn to teach. Sicilians, who are so creative, have an ace up their sleeves in learning languages. Having perfect grammar is not important, but knowing how to use the language for communication is”.

Regarding the origins of his move from Milan to Sicily, Sloan explains: “I was in Menfi three years ago on holiday and from then on I have returned to Sicily on more occasions, ending up by choosing to finally move here. I’ve been living in Menfi now for five months and I’m selling the house in Milan in order to buy one here. Why? Because I don’t understand how I have managed to live twenty years in Milan, when in Menfi I can work, write and see the sea from the actual window of my house. And to live in such a way is fantastic. Life is beautiful here, simple and still on a human scale”.

Sloan’s Sicilian project is simple and the fruit of his experience in Rome and Milan: “A few lessons are enough to learn and speak English from scratch, simply by playing. I want to make my language the Sicilians’ passport to the world. And I want to place a bet on this island”.

Giampiero Cannella
Giampiero Cannella
Giampiero Cannella was born in Palermo but has lived for a long time between Rome and Milan. As a journalist, he has worked for several national and Sicilian newspapers and is the author of the book "Blue Revolution". He was also twice a member of the Chamber of Deputies, a Defence Committee member and Deputy Mayor of Palermo, with responsibility for Culture. A lover of the sea and sun of Sicily, he loves the colors and the flavors of his homeland even though his intellectual curiosity led him to travel and explore places and cultures other than his own.

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  1. How wonderful Mr. Sloan! I’m an American living in Taormina for the last 3 years, which suits my soul well. When you come up this way, please visit us at St. George’s Anglican Church. We would love to meet you.

  2. Me Sloan i’ve seen your method on how you teach and i love it.
    I’ve always said to my students in my class last winter,…its not important the grammer but the way you say it.

    My town is called Cianciana and its become international, we have expats from all over the world, looking or buying house or for holidays. So now the Ciancianese people are all willing to learn english.

    P.S. If you decide to come here send me an email and i will organize everything.
    Cheers Franca

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