“Sometimes the slightest things change the directions of our lives, the merest breath of a circumstance, a random moment that connects like a meteorite striking the earth. Lives have swiveled and changed direction on the strength of a chance remark.”-Bryce Courtenay
I have been teaching English for more than 20 years. From teaching children to adults; from teaching students to training teachers; from EFL to ESAP; from using board and chalk (I still do!) to computers, flipcams and smartphones; from teaching F2F to emoderation; from being trained to teach able-bodied students to “training” myself to teach and care for functional diversity students; and from contemplating a career in arts to choosing my second best: teaching English. And from this last revelation, and maybe you sitting on the edge of your seats, you might be wondering how I ended up taking the road of teaching – and not exactly the one less travelled! Sorry about that Mr. Robert Frost and Sir Ken Robinson. No regrets, though. (more…)
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Image: rosipaw (flickr)
This week, the iTDi bloggers are talking about motivating students. As always, they come at the topic from different angles, and (as always) they gave me plenty of ideas to think about. (more…)
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This week, the discussion question over on the iTDi blog is How do you use technology in your classes? I’ll be honest … I sort of expected that all of the posts (except for my own) would gush about the wonders of technology in teaching. I know that’s a dreadful generalization, but almost all of this week’s authors are digital natives, and quite tech savvy. This generalization sounds worse and worse, doesn’t it, especially when I know that the whole digital native and immigrant distinction is rarely worth the space used to describe it. But sometimes, in online networks, saying anything cautionary about using technology in teaching seens about as popular as saying anything favorable about coursebooks (more…)
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Every once in a way you hear someone say something so true that everything inside you shifts a little. Lights go off in your mind. Pieces of things you’ve been thinking about for years suddenly get tied together, and all at once you wind up with a new frame for the window you use to see the world.
This happened to me a few years ago when I heard community activist Bob Stilger say, “every community is full of leaders just waiting to be asked to step forward”. Those words from Bob helped me to reframe and redefine my thinking, the same way that Steven Herder’s now famous statements about collaboration did. When I first heard Steven say, “Anything I can do, we can do better (together)” and “collaboration provides just the right amount of pressure to get things done” similar bright lights went off inside me as a new framework took hold. It is now not too much to say that these statements have come to define how I think about community building, collaboration, and leadership. (more…)
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image: Fuschia Foot
I’ve been out of town, so am just now getting caught up on the last round of posts on the iTDi blog about working with difficult students. If life happened to interfere with your chance to read those posts, please do. They’re as inspiring as always.
This week’s topic is lesson planning, and there was quite a range in the way the iTDi bloggers approach their planning. (more…)
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“Let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.” – Bob Dylan
Listen. Although I had a chance to tell you all this in my recent post on the iTDi Blog, I didn’t. Rather than write about staying healthy, I wrote about motivation. Then I read Chiew Pang’s wonderful post How To Stay Healthy The Cheap and Easy Way and decided to tell the whole story, and by doing so, the truth. (more…)
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I’m tired today. Actually a lot of teachers I know are tired. Whether we’re teaching long days at a language school, or large classes at a public school, or teaching at multiple schools to try and pay the bills, teaching can be a tiring job. Burning the work candle at both ends makes it a challenge to stay healthy, and feeling less than valued by employers makes it hard to stay motivated. I was very interested in reading the teacher posts on the iTDi blog this week because they deal with this very topic–how to stay healthy and motivated. As always, I got a lot of great, practical tips, and food for thought. (more…)
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First, an explanation about a couple of changes that I’ve made in the past week. You may have noticed that the last couple of posts had a copyright statement at the bottom of the post, and if you subscribe to Teaching Village in a reader or by email, you certainly will have noticed that you now receive a snippet rather than a post. Plagiarism has always been a bit of a problem, but it was manageable. However, Sue Lyon-Jones’ post about copyright and plagiarism was reprinted (without permission) more than was manageable. Luckily, Sue is waaaay more knowledgeable about this stuff than I am, and she helped me make changes here that will keep everyone’s posts safer. If you’d like to read more about snippets vs. full posts, Sue has written another wonderful post about that topic over on Marisa Constantidides’ TEFL Matters. Now, if my posts were the only ones being copied, I don’t know that I would have made the change to snippets. I like getting full posts myself, and as a coursebook author I’m used to living with copyright infringement. However, I’m also responsible for being a good steward for the Villagers who share their writing here–78 guest authors representing 33 countries, and counting. I appreciate your understanding about these changes. (more…)
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Telling teachers to collaborate is a bit like preaching to the choir. Collaboration is the norm for teachers working together in social networks. Every time a guest author shares a post on Teaching Village and then interacts with readers in comments, we are collaborating in our own learning. However, bringing collaboration into our classes is often a different story. How do we include collaboration in classes where we have a syllabus to follow, or in a school environment that doesn’t encourage different ways of teaching? (more…)
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From time to time, I recommend blog posts that I think readers might enjoy or learn from. The International Teacher Development Institute (iTDi) has started a blog that puts a “think tank” twist on the sharing. Every two weeks they ask six teachers to write on the same topic. The first round of posts dealt with error correction, the second round of posts dealt with with homework, the third round dealt with getting students to use English outside of class, and this week’s posts are all about strategies for dealing with large classes. The writers all represent different teaching contexts in different parts of the world, which makes the answers quite interesting. (more…)
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