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Reflection

Reflections about professional growth and the ELT profession in general

Upon reflecting on how I became an EFL teacher in Venezuela (by Miguel Mendoza)

“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…)

The Role Play App

I got an email recently about a new iPhone app from Edublogs, which is the platform I use for my class blog. Since today is the day I teach at the community center (no Internet except for my phone) and I had planned to have students review language, it was a good opportunity to try it out. While it isn’t really an app for role plays, that was the use I had in mind for today’s lesson. (more…)

Listen: You’ve Got To Be The Change You Need to Be (by Chuck Sandy)

“Let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.” – Bob Dylan

Chuck in his gardenListen. 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…)

“Excuse me. Could you tell me the way to the post office?” (by Kate Cory-Wright)

Last night, as I browsed through the latest “status updates” from my Facebook friends, I was struck by the fact that over 60% of my friends are non-native speakers of English (NNS). Their mother tongues range from Arabic to Zulu, yet almost all of them regularly communicate with me in English. Additionally, many write blogs in English, attend webinars, use Twitter, run PLNs, and carry out other activities in English.

This set me thinking… How are NNS using English these days? Who are they communicating with? For what purposes? (more…)

Why I Love Teachers

WTD2009

WTD2009There are teachers, and there are Teachers. I respect anyone who steps into a classroom, but I adore educators for whom teaching is as much a vocation as a job.

Why?

(more…)

Refreshing and Recharging

It has been a busy, exciting year.

  • Karen Frazier, Ritsuko Nakata, Carolyn Graham and I finished the 4th edition of Let’s Go.
  • I did workshops on the 5 largest islands in the Japanese archipelago (Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu and Okinawa, in case you’re curious), in Korea, and online.
  • Chuck Sandy, Kate Cory-Wright and I co-wrote a course, English for Teachers, for International Teacher Development Institute.
  • I wrote two columns: Teacher’s File 2.0 for Teachers Learning with Children, and Barb’s Bits and Bytes for ELT News.
  • Most Wednesdays found me helping to moderate ELT Chat with Marisa Constantidides, Shaun Wilding, Berni Wall and Shelly Terrell.
  • I taught. And blogged. (more…)

Because teachers matter

Soon after I moved back to Japan, I had coffee with Kazu Nakamura, the new (at that time) president of Oxford University Press Japan. During our conversation, Kazu outlined his goals in regards to OUP’s educational mission. Part of the conversation, paraphrased in my memory, went like this:

Kazu: I want us to provide teacher training workshops in all areas of Japan.
Me: OUP  already organizes workshops every year in all regions. How would this be any different?
Kazu: I want to send authors and trainers to the rural areas that don’t usually get attention. Even if only a few teachers attend, that’s OK. I want teachers to know that they matter.
Me: That’s nice.

I smiled, and gave Kazu credit for having his heart in the right place, but really didn’t expect to hear anything about his idea again. (more…)

The Blasted Oak (by Torn Halves)

The blasted oak

Image: Edinblur

This is the story of a sensitive soul who decided to teach English as a foreign language. Like other such souls she was acutely aware that the world is not as it ought to be. While at university she had seen fellow students flocking to the careers fair and queuing up to become employees of the big corporations, ditching their ideals (if they had any) for the best possible pay check. She wasn’t going to ditch her ideals, and becoming a teacher seemed to be a way of joining the forces of good. (more…)

Are we going too global? (by Yitzha Sarwono)

Some people fear that in the race to make Indonesian students more global, they may be losing the sense of what it means to be part of the Indonesian nation.

August 17th is Independence Day in Indonesia. Just like other countries, on this day we celebrate the history of how Indonesia became a nation. When I was a student, I felt like I was drowning in nationalism, even when it wasn’t anywhere near Independence Day.

(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…)