Teaching and Learning in Punta Allen

I have been teaching on and off now, for a couple of years, I am accustomed to an array of western classrooms, however I had never taught English as a second language up until the other day.

I arrived at Pez Maya, fresh from teaching at a traditional American summer camp, I had the sole ambition to dive, conduct research and detox from children. However, a few days in I was asked to visit Punta Allen; a remote fishing village located down a dusty road ridden with pot-holes, and lend a hand to Pez Maya’s community project which focuses on teaching English to school children. To my surprise I jumped at the opportunity, I was happy to give up a day diving too immerse myself in an unfamiliar culture, get a negligible perspective on the Mexican school system and once again interact with children.

Headed by Rachel, a dedicated Pez Maya staff member who is adored by all the students; the project runs once a week and helps those from the ages of 3–14 learn basic English – a skill which has become more vital in recent years since Punta Allen’s slight tourist influx. Different to western schools, the classes are small with a variety of ages and abilities. With only one Kindergarten, Primary and Secondary school in the village, it was a shock to see the large size of the kindergarten compared to that of the secondary school. Having only ever read about high school drop out rates in areas such as Punta Allen, being confronted with the reality made me appreciate the positive affect projects such as these have on local communities.

The morning consisted of classroom activities at each school, which included games, songs and flash cards. After our lunch break at a small local café, we made our way to the ‘kiosk’ – a central area of the village which resembled a band stand; here children voluntarily partook in a craft workshop (or football), where cards and pictures were made out of recycled material.

Typically British, I speak no other language except for my own, although this had its draw backs I found all the children to be friendly and eager to participate, a rarity that I feel would be hard to come by back home. All in all I had a great day; I gained an insight into how GVI’s projects positively make a difference whilst feeling a sense of self accomplishment.

This English documentary raises difficult questions and offers few answers to the current inequality debate.

However it is pleasing to hear so many voices, whether in the school playing fields, in public life, in gaming and on TV screens. At the very least, it’s good to see a well-known TV presenter approaching 60 making a documentary about pressing matters.

The underlying message of the documentary is unsettling: “We have reached a tipping point, and now is the time to act.” Persuasive, provocative and insightful, the program succeeds in raising an issue that needs to be addressed I can only hope some men have tune in; you would be a fool not to watch it.

A Documentary Worthy of Anyones Times!

Using Ethnography for in-depth Insight

Since beginning my career in research, I have started to put into practice the theory which I was taught during my degree. Although practically useless when it comes to the actual research world my textbook knowledge has given me a sturdy platform. 

Ethnography isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time, but the method is one of the best ways to gain deeper customer insights. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the method; Ethnography in short is spending a weekend sitting in someone else’s house reporting when, why and how much they ate, drank, bathed, watched TV or used their mobile phone. The process can result in breakthroughs for brands, offering an insight into what people are really like, rather than what they want researchers to think they are like.

Market researcher Ipsos MORI says ethnography allows “deep insight into the contradictory nature of much of human behaviour: the focus is on what people really do versus what they say they do”. In other words, it is about identifying hidden needs – and this is where the real breakthroughs can occur.

The more brands know about people and how the world around them shapes their behaviour, the more we can empathise with them.Thanks to Facebook, Twitter and smartphones, consumers have got used to reporting what they do, when they do it and why. Mobile ethnography is an increasingly popular tool, sometimes known as ‘lifelogging’, with subjects carrying cameras to record events as they happen.

Marketing has traditionally been the home of customer understanding, but through ethnography it can be the driving force behind major breakthroughs.”


For this reason marketers have a vested interest in knowing what goes on behind their customers’ front doors, and keeping what they discover under lock and key.




Weight Watchers Encourages Diners to use Social Media

To dispel some of the negative perceptions about diet foods, food and drink brands and retailers could put a stronger emphasis on health benefits, nutritional value and taste improvements.

This month Weight Watchers launched its first pop-up UK cafe in London to demonstrate how consumers can manage their weight whilst still eating the foods they enjoy. The cafe is serving breakfast, lunch and dinner from its 250-strong range of food – all the things that customers would expect to find in a typical cafe, but with a Weight Watchers twist.

The cafe is a teaser for the company, as it considers opening similar cafes across the country. Diners who share pictures of their plates of food on social media don’t have to pay for their meal, effectively making social media a form of mobile payment.

Whilst Weight Watchers used social media to announce the opening of the pop-up, it also leveraged the channel to encourage people who might have otherwise been inclined to shy away from the brand (owing to the negative perceptions associated with dieting and dietary foods) to visit the cafe.