ARENA thinking – what actually IS IT in terms of THE business of LEARNING ENGLISH?


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Makes you think of a gladiator and a lion, a roaring crowd and a two thumbs up or two thumbs down…  But actually it’s not quite this. Arena thinking is the new business model for the future.

Arena thinking is about looking at your own business and what world you are working in. Let’s take the world of learning English. In fact this arena is so huge that it is hard to know where to begin.

Arena thinking means that in the past we used to think of our competitors as the enemy, and we must never divulge our secrets, strategies and tactics, otherwise they will annihilate us and completely capture our market. Well, this thinking is definitely NOT arena thinking. This is about working together with our competitors, supporting and encouraging and understanding the market together.

The truth is that on the odd occasion when I have met my competitors on issues related to language schools generally, I am met with an overriding sigh of relief. They always say, it’s so great to talk to someone who completely understands the problems I have, because you have them too. Imagine this is you work together to support and help each other. This sounds very scary because you can feel that you will lose your edge if you all become one, but the reality is that you won’t just become one, they will never be you, and you will never be them, you are both unique so don’t worry about it. They can try to imitate you and that is a danger sign. Imitation is the highest form of flattery remember. But actually everyone will be able to be themselves as well as feel supported.

Okay so other language centres are the obvious groups in your arena, but actually there is so much more. I am going to just brainstorm a whole lot here:

  • Universities and colleges
  • Online learning courses
  • Immigration dept
  • Education dept
  • Businesses, local and international
  • Magazines, books and all forms of literature
  • Television, film , video, internet

…so these are the obvious ones.

Let’s look at some unlikely ones:

  • Cars, buses, trains and all forms of transport
  • Mobile technology
  • Medicine
  • Architecture
  • Water
  • Fashion
  • Health
  • engineering
  • Air travel
  • Employment….

…and so it goes on….all these things are in the arena somehow in terms of learning English (I have only give a few, it is endless) but just imagine 6 of these things all together in one piece of invisible technology with an overlay or underlay of English?  Just imagine…

Just imagine learning English through fashion, while on a bus, at the same time drinking water, or through building a house while you are in a car.  It all seems crazy and insane. But the learning will be so different, so innovative and highly achievement orientated rather than attainment orientated.

I would say right now that there is no point in worrying about this, but what I would suggest is that you just sit back and observe and make sure you are ready….ready for something and don’t be afraid to make a decision to do something that is so against everything you ever believed about learning English.

What do you think?

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