An “old dog” and “special tricks” (by David Deubelbeiss)

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11 Responses

  1. Barbara Barbara says:

    Thanks, David. I think that many of us “old dogs” will see ourselves in your own journey. I also notice that I have fewer “rules” about teaching than I used to.

    Thanks for introducing me to Dinklage, Ganschow, and Sparks. I’m definitely going to add them to my reading list.

    And, I’m looking forward to the second half of this–repetition is one of my favorite topics 🙂

  2. Marisa Pavan says:

    Great post, David! I’ve felt identified with you in my growth as a teacher. I’ve slowed down my teaching pace and I’ve become aware of the fact that no all the students learn in the same way. As to risks, I’ve introduced technology in the classroom and I use blogs and wikis to upload material for my students. It must be a natural consequence of gaining experience, which makes teaching much more enjoyable. Now I’m even considering teaching online!

    • David says:

      Go for it Marisa!

      That is one of the “rich” things about teaching quite a few years. The fruit you are on the vine is much more sweeter!

      I’ve always been so skeptical about the adage that older teachers don’t innovate. I find that as you “age”, you are much more settled about so much else in your teaching toolkit that you are apt to risk, try new things, innovate. It takes confidence, quiet confidence to innovate and I think experienced teachers have that in spades in many cases.

      My rule though for innovation is to always experiment with your “good” classes! That’s an important rule of thumb.

      Barb: the second half is a lot “meatier” and I’ve probably left out a lot. But well have time to “repeat” it and get it right.

  3. Eric Kane Eric Kane says:

    Very good points. I can especially relate to slowing down in the classroom. Silence and pause create anticipation in learners. The become more focussed and, especially when teaching younger learners, better behaved. Thank you!

    • ddeubel says:


      Good points also. It is true, like the taoist philosophy – sometimes less is more. I’ve seen it so many times, how older teachers, seasoned professionals are very slow and deliberate in the classroom – giving students time to process things and follow along….


  4. Kevin Cozma Kevin Cozma says:

    Thanks for the article. The point about slowing down really hits home. I have done this myself, but only recently. Since I teach English conversation classes out of my home, I try to move the classes along fairly fast to cover more information because the students only come once a week for 1 hour.

    Recently I started studying Japanese from a teacher. Until recently, I had studied it by myself. The teacher comes to my house and teaches a friend and me. Sometimes she moves a little too fast, and I realized that I often do the same thing. I have adjusted my teaching speed and I find it is not only good for the students, it is good for me, too. It gives me a little time to think about the class while I’m teaching it.



  5. David says:


    Thanks for confirming I’m not just an old dog! You highlight the same thing I’ve felt and like yourself, it became so much more apparent upon reflection of my own second language learning experiences.

    I think one of the most damaging things, especially as it happens in Asia with so little out of class exposure to English – is the rush , rush through material. Students learn so much, they learn nothing – that seems to be how it works.

    There is a “slow” dining movement why not a “slow” teaching movement?

  6. Kevin Cozma Kevin Cozma says:

    Slow teaching movement? Well, I’m going to try it this week.


  1. July 13, 2010

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