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June, 2011:

Proactive Discipline–Tend to Your Garden (by Eric Kane)

Creating a positive learning environment with few discipline problems is a goal of any teacher.  We all want to give our young learners the best opportunity to succeed, but sometimes we forget that building this type of environment, much like tending to a garden, takes planning, effort, consistency and a fair amount of time and patience.  Any missed step can lead to a reactive environment, or a garden full of weeds. (more…)

The “Reading Pictures” Strategy (By Naomi Ganin-Epstein)

It’s Wednesday, 11:00, just a regular day at the high school. Two English teachers are sitting in the teacher’s room marking exams during their “free” period. Every now and then you can hear each one exclaim (or mutter, as the case may be) “How could he have possible written THAT?” or “How in earth did she come up with such an answer?” They compare notes.  One of these two teachers is Delia, who teaches a weak group. One of her pupils wrote the following: (more…)

Rice in Japan and Rice Around the World (by Bob Middleton)

Bringing food topics into the language classroom is one way to stimulate language learning as well as   hungry appetites. 9 and 10 year old students in the 5th grade of our elementary school in Japan take part in an 8-hour lesson on varieties of rice in Japan. This Japan-unit is later followed by a similar one on rice around the world. In the lesson they will learn names and kinds of rice, the amounts of rice grown around the country, prices per kilogram, special dishes, and special points about each of the rice varieties. The end result will be a hand-made Japan rice book including a small sample of each kind of rice (more…)

My guest interview on Iasku

I recently had a chance to sit down (virtually) and be interviewed by Chiew Pang. You might remember Chiew from his recent guest post here, or his work on his own blog, A CLIL to Climb, or his presence on Twitter. He’s a good man to know, if you haven’t had the pleasure yet.

Anyway, if you’re curious about my background, how I got into teaching, what my current and future projects are, and what advice I’d give new teachers (among other things), I invite you to visit Chiew’s new blog, Iasku, and check it out:

Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto interview on Iasku

 

 

Creating a Buzz in Teens’ Classrooms (by Mari Nakamura)

“Aren’t teenagers too self-conscious to speak English?”

“Do they care about the contents that do not appear in their school tests?”

“Well… I wouldn’t want to get into that area…”

I have been teaching teens as well as pre-school and elementary school children at my language school, English Square, in Japan, for the last 20 years. When I tell my teacher friends about it, I’ve almost always met the responses like the ones above. (more…)

Sandy has a real job, thank you very much!

Sandy Millin first popped onto my radar as one of the most enthusiastic participants each week on ELT Chat, and I’m thrilled to have an excuse to get to know her better as part of Brad Patterson’s brilliant blog challenge:

If you haven’t heard of it yet, the premise is simple.  Ask your favorite PLN person 5 standard questions, which you’ll see below, and from there, get to know them in ways that you might not otherwise have the chance to on twitter or other social media. (more…)

Iro Iro

Iro iro is Japanese for “this and that.” I love the sound of the word, and it sounds better than publishing a post called “miscellaneous stuff” :-)

So, here’s my iro iro:

20 years of learning and playing with Let’s Go (more…)

Teaching Pronunciation Online (by Tara Benwell)

Until a few months ago, I always considered myself an English teacher who specialized in writing. I love writing, and I love helping others realize that their stories and ideas are worth sharing in more than one language. Recently, however, I’ve been drawn to another area of the English language. I have a whole new outlook on teaching pronunciation, and it’s all thanks to the Internet. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that teaching pronunciation online is far more interesting and possibly even more effective than teaching pronunciation in a classroom. (more…)

Teacher Development 2.0 (by Steven Herder)

I’ve always believed in the power of people to be able to come together to create something much bigger than any one of them individually. Here is a story about a bunch of teachers (myself and Barbara included) who are coming together to create something new called The International Teacher Development Institute (iTDi). (more…)

Images à la Dogme (by Chiew Pang)

I must admit that when Barb invited me to submit a guest post, I felt I wasn’t worthy of such an invite. Later, I thought… if she’d felt that I had something to contribute, well, then I couldn’t very well let her down, could I? Besides, one has to step out of one’s comfort zone every once in a while! (more…)