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Paul Davis



Who was he?

Paul Davis († 2020) was an international trainer for Pilgrims Teacher Training. He was a co-author of groundbreaking, innovative and influential resource books for teachers, most of which were co-written with Mario Rinvolucri, one of the founders of Pilgrims.

Paul inspired many colleagues and teachers to develop professionally and to publish their work. The most recent, posthumous, example is English is Context. Practical Pragmatics for Clear Communication. DELTA (2021) by Adreas Grundtvig, who dedicated this book to Paul Davis, as well as other prominent Pilgrims figures. The book was shortlisted for the ELTons in 2022.

Paul passed away at his home in Cambridge on 13 May 2020.

Professional life

Paul Davis worked as a freelance teacher at Eurocentres, a CELTA and DELTA trainer, and, temporarily, as an academic at Durham University. For many years he continued to work as a Pilgrims trainer and, occasionally, as Director of Studies at Pilgrims teacher training courses in Canterbury, UK.


Paul Davis was particularly interested in the workings of language and the field of pragmatics. His interests included The Silent Way, Linguistic Psychodrama, Corpus Linguistics,  Spoken Grammar  and the Lexical Approach.


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Paul Davis

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Paul Davis had a very keen interest in the way in which language permeates human existence and lies at the root of important social issues. His ideas, which permeated  his teacher training courses, international workshops and publications, drew on applied linguistics, but equally on his experience of practical experimentation.

The books he wrote, and the content of Paul’s training sessions, made ripples across the ELT community, inspiring many responses and further development of his ideas.  Paul was a natural rebel who constantly provoked teachers into re-thinking their routines and justifying their choices. He was a unique, unconventional trainer, inviting teachers to think for themselves and trust their own sense of direction. He will surely be remembered by one non-conformist feature: distributing handouts by throwing them in the air. ‘Catch them if you can…’ (no matter how many eyebrows this raised).

On a Personal Note

Paul was an incorrigible nonconformist who was passionate about issues he considered important like social inequality or…cycling. He was involved in teachers’ trade unions and protecting those who needed help. There was a strong left-wing voice within him which was heard on many occasions. Trained as a historian, he could become vociferous when discussing politics or the news.

At the same time, he was a faithful friend, a very generous person, a caring colleague and a thoughtful and sensitive Director of Studies. He was also a wonderful cook, who ‘cooked with wine and sometimes he even added it to the food ‘.

— (His close friends and colleagues remember him affectionately in HLT Magazine and on the C Group website.)
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