P eer Barber-Meyer – Turning One‘s English into a Second Nature
Peer‘s confident smile with a not far behind friendly humor is part of his English as a second nature. He is, after all, one of some 40,000 working worldwide for the UK megapublisher Pearson PLC.
Peer represents Pearson‘s English Division for schools, higher institutions of learning, private and public, and German Volkshochschulen. He covers northern and eastern Germany. It‘s a bit of a swim from Pearson‘s London base, one might say.
Tall, thin, and lanky, this German born native hails from Hamburg. He has a preciseness to his spoken English and an ever so light British accent marking his tempo.
Smiling, he ushered me into his Berlin kitchen for coffee and a chat. It was a follow-up to feature a remarkable man whose most often quoted phrase describes education as assisting discovery. That of course includes educators and their institutions. It is part of Peer‘s passion and profession.
The Digital Divide
Peer is a postmodern 70‘s man. In today‘s world the digitial edge is marked by whether one was born before or after the 1970‘s.
Peer is married with two quickly growing pre-teens, a daughter, Penelope, and son, Elliot. Peer and Ramelle’s wedding places them on a Honolulu beach. It‘s a few miles GPS wise from Berlin‘s beach strand on the Spree, so to speak. Berlin Mitte is where they met.
Interestingly, he met Ramelle at a Berlin Mitte school. She, too, is an educator working in the English classroom.
Peer came to English in those critical years when one steps into adulthood. Before meeting his wife, marrying or their having children.
In those years while at a German University his English World opened to its language and culture. It was an aaa-hhha moment he mentions quietly.
During his West German school days, he reflects if the truth be told, learning English was less than inspiring. But since university, he has never stopped learning nor putting his English to use. His English works for him and not he working for his English.
Teaching What He Does
Peer first taught English in private schools, higher and adult education, as well as the German Volkshochschulen before joining Pearson in 2007. He is living proof one professionally grows with the times and technology.
He has hands on experience in bringing the classroom of tomorrow to today‘s educators, and their department heads. It‘s about assisting in the discovery of learning.
It‘s a world where content, educators and learners live surrounded by Online access, data mining programmes, computers, tablets, videos and conferencing, social networks, and Cloud platforms. It‘s a world changing the face of education, of what exactly is a classroom, what an educator does, and where the classroom begins and ends for all involved.
Not so long ago, few would have imagined such a possibility. For individual, group, or classroom Pearson provides a learning framework Peer points out. It is a hallmark of Pearson‘s innovation for its own workforce as well he continues.
Peer‘s delightful smile with acknowledged laugh confirms he is in his element. It is an English speaking world that comes second nature to him like taking a breath of fresh air. Should you see him in a hallway, know he has just assisted someone, most likely your teacher in a learning discovery. Smile.