Alison Jean Thomas is a specialist teacher, editor, and freelance writer with more than 30 years’ experience. She lives in Egypt at the edge of the Sahara Desert not far from the Great Pyramids of Giza. Having retired from teaching to write full time, she now provides content articles and has her own column, enjoying the freedom to write on a fascinating diversity of subjects.
Education and Literacy Expertise
Alison holds a degree in Drama and Theatre Arts plus a TEFL Certificate. She has vast experience in education, having worked with young people ranging from pre-school to university undergraduates at the American University in Cairo. She is a teacher trainer in local primary schools, where she inspires teachers to use interaction and drama in the classroom through the use of puppetry, improvisation, and music.
Alison is a great believer in the importance of the written word. She maintains that her most satisfying work is in teaching non-readers, children or adults, to reach the stage where they can read confidently and independently. Having worked closely with children suffering from reading disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, and hearing impairment, Alison is keen to encourage and assist parents and teachers through her articles.
The advent of the Internet to Egypt in the 1990s allowed Alison to branch out, and she worked as a freelance and in-office copy editor, firstly at the American University of Cairo Press and then with World Health Organisation's Eastern Mediterranean Office, where she edited several books and reports including a series for the Department of Health Education:
- Health Education of Adolescents: Guidelines for Parents, Teachers, Health Workers and the Media
- Health Education of Adolescent Girls
- Health Education of Adolescent Boys
As well as Health Education, she also worked on several publications for the Department of Child Health and Development, Reproductive Health and Research, and Nutrition.
Alison loves reading children’s fiction and has published her own children’s novel, Soaring Dragons: First Kingdom Quest. It's a fantasy adventure about two children who must help a princess prevent an evil sorceress from destroying the land. Alison asserts that children’s books should be funny, exciting, emotive and intriguing so their readers always want to discover what happens next but, paradoxically, don't want the story to end.
During the three years Alison and her husband spent living on a farm in the Nile Delta, she became concerned with the role of fresh dairy, fruit and vegetable products in maintaining health. Later her interest in healthy lifestyles was reinforced through her work at World Health Organisation. Her first publication was in the Department of Nutrition when she worked on a study examining the effects of supplementing flour with iron on the diet of Eastern Mediterranean populations.
With increasing disquiet about environmental issues around the globe, Alison was pleased to be given the opportunity to work on several publications promoting improved lifestyles through the planning and creation of 'healthy' villages and towns in the Eastern Mediterranean region. At this time the effects of water and the need to preserve and purify water were also under discussion and she edited A Regional Overview of Wastewater Management and Reuse in Countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region (CEHA/WHO).
A mother of four and a grandmother of three, Alison has plenty of parenting experience! Thirty-five years ago, as an English expat, bringing up a family on a farm with neither running water nor electricity in the Nile Delta, she had to have a strong amount of self-reliance. She admits that she is very opinionated on the subject of raising, educating, and simply having fun with children.
Alison believes that the most important resource you can give to your children is your time. She spends much of her leisure in activities such as pottery, painting, baking and handicrafts, sometimes alone but more often with her three charming granddaughters. She is happy to share her knowledge and ideas on nurturing children with others through online articles.
Since her retirement from teaching Alison is enjoying a sense of freedom and pursuing a number of hobbies that she had little time for previously. She is a keen fitness enthusiast, enjoys walking in the countryside, and belongs to two sporting clubs where she swims, runs and takes yoga classes. She believes that physical fitness, psychological and spiritual peace of mind are interconnected, having a therapeutic effect. Similarly, she confesses that she finds baking both soothing and creative; she will often rise at dawn to bake fresh bread and continue working in the kitchen until midday, simply messing around with recipes and filling the freezer.