To all practitioners

Jeremy Harmer



Who is he?

Jeremy is an award-winning ELT author. His work includes methodology titles, course books and learner literature. He was for many years a course tutor and designer for the online MA TESOL at the New School, New York. He has worked as a teacher trainer in the field of EFL in Mexico and the UK and is often to be found delivering seminars and speaking at conferences around the world. Jeremy is a supporter of EVE: Equal Voices in ELT and is also a supporter of TEFL Equity Advocates, both activist groups within the TEFL community who challenge native speakerism.

Professional life

He has a BA in English Literature from the University of East Anglia, UK and a Masters in Applied Linguistics from the University of Reading (UK).

As an ELT teacher and trainer he has worked for International House, London, Eurocentre Bournemouth, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, the Bell School, Cambridge, NILE, Norwich, and at the Instituto Anglo Mexicano de Cultura (in Mexico City, Ciudad Satellite and Guadalajara – where he was a branch director earlier in his career).


He is a singer/songwriter and performer in the folk genre. He plays the piano, viola, and guitar. He performs regularly at folk clubs and often combines his love of Shakespeare and language with his music. Jeremy has performed several spoken word shows, usually with violinist Steve Bingham, their most best-known being Touchable Dreams.

He has released a number of CDs, videos, performances and podcasts (source). He also enjoys reading and storytelling.

Social Profiles


YouTube Channel




Jeremy Harmer

Recommended books

Notional Syllabuses

David Wilkins

1976. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (source)

The first book to make me understand the lexical component of language and how we might reflect that in our work.

Caring and Sharing in the Foreign Language Classroom

Gertrude Moskowitz

1985. Rowley MA: Newbury House. (source)

Easy to make fun of, but profound in her emphasis on making learning a positive experience.

Musical Openings

David Cranmer, Clement Laroy

1992. London: Pilgrims Longman. (source)

Maybe a bit too ‘music specialist’ but an ode to unleashing creative potential.

Guitar Zero: The Science of Becoming Musical at Any Age

Gary Marcus

2012. USA:Penguin. (source)

About learning the guitar, yes, but it’s also about cognition and a scientific account of why learning takes place in the brain.

Teaching Unplugged

Scott Thornbury, Luke Meddings

2017. Stuttgart: Delta Publishing. (source)

A controversial (?) ‘reach-out’ for a genuinely student-centred way of teaching.

Place in HLT

“Even before I got to know him personally, Jeremy was a key influence on my thinking about teaching and learning – primarily due to his role in popularising communicative language teaching in the 1980s. Through his books like The Practice of English Teaching (the first edition of which was published in 1983), he introduced a generation of teachers, not just to CLT, but to other – equally innovative – approaches, including humanistic language teaching. Jeremy was never a ‘signed-up’ humanistic practitioner in any doctrinaire sense, but re-reading his take on humanism in the 1991 edition of the book, I am again in awe of his capacity to capture the essence of the movement in a fair and balanced way, without any of the cheap shots (‘touchy-feeliness’!) which characterised my own, less measured, outbursts at the time (blush!). In an email exchange a few years back, in preparation for a talk I was giving, I asked him if he felt he had ‘an agenda’ when he wrote his methodology texts. His answer: ‘Rather boringly, I try not to be seduced by any particular position and my absolute certainties about what we do tend to fluctuate (although core beliefs remain the same I think).’ I would hazard that those core beliefs share a lot with humanism, because, au fond, Jeremy is a humanist, in the small-h sense, and everything he says and writes about teaching is infused with a genuine love of people, and of language learning as a form of self-realisation.”

— Scott Thornbury
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