My name is Sheila Thorn and I am the founder of The Listening Business. The name reflects my fascination with listening, both in terms of language acquisition and qualitative research in social care settings.
I founded The Listening Business in 1998. As a linguist and a teacher specialising in ELT (English Language Teaching), I knew from my own experience how quickly students can make progress when exposed to recordings of authentic speech accompanied by suitable tasks. I was also aware that most teachers are simply too busy to prepare labour-intensive authentic listening materials.
At first I specialised in writing exercises to accompany BBC radio programmes. These were used by language schools, FE colleges and universities throughout the UK. Then in 2004 I began working on my unique series of Real Lives, Real Listening books, which I am delighted to say are now being released by two major publishing houses: Collins in the UK and Klett in Germany.
January 2013 saw an exciting new departure when I teamed up with another listening enthusiast, Richard Cauldwell of Speech in Action. We are currently piloting our authentic listening teaching packs with a view to turning these into eBooks.
Meanwhile I am pursuing my other career in qualitative research, building on my Quality Assurance work in Social Services and my MSc in Social Research Methodology. I sit on the Patients' Panel at my local NHS hospital and I regularly carry out inspections and surveys which involve talking to patients about the quality of their care. I am also involved in staff training.
Finally, since the summer of 2012 I have been working as a freelance copyeditor, both of ELT books and public documents produced by my local NHS trust.
Further information about my services and books is available on this website. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch. I would be delighted to hear from you.
Sheila Thorn, BA (Hons), PGCE, RSA Dip TEFL, MSc