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Reflection

Reflections about professional growth and the ELT profession in general

Thank you for an amazing year!

 

 

 

Thank you, my beautiful Guest Authors!

 

It’s the last day of 2010, and a good time to reflect on the year that’s nearly done. This is the 110th post since I began this blog in June of 2009. I know that’s not a lot compared to really prolific bloggers, but it’s enough to thrill me. I began this blog as a way to learn more about connecting with teachers online, but wasn’t really sure how well the experiment would work, or what direction it would take. I had a vague idea about creating a community where EFL teachers around the world could share stories about their unique teaching environments and share wisdom garnered from their teaching experiences. (more…)

Wishing you peace, love, and joy!

Happy Holidays from Teaching Village to all its Villagers*

At this time, and throughout the year, may you find yourself

living in peace

surrounded by love

and teaching in joy!

With warm hugs from cold Japan,

Barbara

* You’re a Villager if you have written guest posts, have left comments, or are a regular reader. In other words, you make this spot in cyberspace a community. Thanks!

For Want of a Power Adapter

JALT Nagoya was even better than expected. I enjoyed seeing old friends, meeting new friends, and buying books. I left with a head full of new ideas and a heart full of warm fuzzy feelings.

I also left without the AC power adapter for my laptop. (more…)

It all starts with a well

This year’s Blog Action Day theme is “water.” If you are reading my blog in Japan, you’ll notice that the date has actually passed, but thanks to the beauty of time zones, it’s still October 15th somewhere.

I couldn’t pass up a chance to talk about water, and the difference it can make for education. (more…)

What I did on my summer vacation…

Ohisashiburi!

That’s a Japanese greeting for when greeting friends after a long absence, and I certainly have been gone a long time!

Where I’ve been….

I actually planned on unplugging for a little while this summer. My daughter was home from college and I wanted time with her.

Then, we went to Maui, and most days I was in the water,

hanging out with the fish . . . .

. . . . and the turtles.

(If you can’t get enough of other people’s vacation photos, more of mine are here.)

Then, we returned to Japan. After helping friends buy furniture and move into their new apartment, I was inspired. After over a year and a half living here, I figured it was about time to unpack our books. (with a professor and a teacher who both write, books are an occupational hazard!) From there, events unfolded rather like one of my favorite picture books–

If you want to unpack the books, you’re going to have to buy some shelves.

Then, if you buy (relatively) inexpensive shelves, you’re going to have to put them together.

Before you can put up the shelves, you’re going to have to move all the boxes and clean the floor.

Then, you might as well wash the drapes.

And, while the drapes are off, you might as well wash the windows, too.

And the screens.

Finally, you can put the books on the shelves.

But, because you have way more books that you thought you had, you’re going to have to buy some more shelves :-)


And suddenly, it was September!

Where I’m going to be. . .

On Sunday, September 26th I’ll be at The Chubu Junior and Senior High School Teachers’ Seminar in Nagoya. The theme is “Collaborate to Motivate.” If you’re in the area, there’s a great line up of speakers (Chuck Sandy, Darren Elliott, Mark Kulek, Mike Stockton, and more!). It’s free, but you’ll need to pre-register.

I’ll be doing an online presentation/workshop sometime during the weekend of October 8th and 9th for the 3rd Virtual Round Table Conference. The theme for the conference is “Language Learning with Technology.” This will be my first online workshop, so fingers crossed! The conference schedule has not yet been finalized, but I’ll link to it as soon as it is.

November will be a busy month. First, there’s JALT 2010, the biggest gathering of language professionals in Japan. This year, JALT will be in Nagoya from November 19th through the 21st. The theme is “Creativity: Think Outside the Box” , and I’ll be doing two workshops. The first, High Tech Ideas for Low Tech Classrooms, will explore ways that teachers with limited technology access in the classroom can exploit the benefits of Web 2.0 technology and the social Internet. The second, Making phonics work for your student: from sounds to reading, will take a lighthearted journey through the history of phonics and the many ways we’ve taught children to read since the 16th century. Rather than adhering to any particular “brand” of phonics, teachers can pick and choose from among an array of approaches and techniques–some familiar, some not–in order to create a phonics programs as unique as their students. I’ll also be part of the OUP Experts forum, with Michael Swan and others (Sunday afternoon, sometime). If you are going to be in Nagoya for JALT, I hope you’ll let me know–I love meeting my online friends!

I’ll finish up this year with two workshops at ETJ Expos. On Sunday, November 28th, I’ll be in Osaka, for the Kansai Expo and on Sunday, December 5th I’ll be in Fukuoka for the Kyushu Expo.

What else I’ll be doing…

Blogging. I have several great guest posts for Teaching Village in the pipeline—great ideas on exploiting Power Point in the classroom from David Dodgson, more ideas for using mind mapping for writing from Hobie Swan, and another game makeover from Marco Brazil. Then, of course, there are my own posts, waiting in draft form. And, several interviews and guest posts that I’ve promised to others (and won’t jinx by mentioning specifics!).

Other writing projects. I write a monthly editorial for ELT News (sharing the duties with David Paul, Steven Herder and Theron Muller). I had an interesting, if unexpected experience trying to access my facebook account from a new computer in a different country—what happens when you can’t identify your friends from their pictures—and I’ll be sharing that experience in my next editorial.

I also write a column for the Teachers Learning with Children (from the JALT Teaching Children Special Interest Group). The next two issues will be online, so they’ll be easy to share. Or, you can join the TCSIG and get all of the issues :-)

I’m also going to start working on a series of easy, digital English readers to get some more mileage out of the photos I got on vacation–can anyone recommend a program to create online books that allows me to embed narration?

I had a great time offline, but it’s good to be back! See you around!

Why Recognition Matters

Teaching Village has been nominated for another award!

This time, it’s as one of the Lexiophiles’ Top 100 Language Teaching Blogs. This is the post where I would normally thank them for the award and give credit to my guest authors, who are largely responsible for any recognition Teaching Village receives. However, I just did that about four posts ago to acknowledge our TEFL Site of the Month award, so it would feel a bit redundant. (more…)

Lessons Learned from Great Educators

This post is in response to Shelly Terrell’s wonderful blogging challenge, Lessons Learned From Great Eductators. She tagged other teachers to share stories about teachers who influenced them, and I’ve been enjoying reading those posts (you can find links to the response posts in the comments at the bottom of Shelly’s original post). I sort of invited myself to the party by commenting about a teacher who inspired me, and Shelly was gracious enough to invite this party crasher to join the group :)

I never wanted to be anything but a teacher.

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Recognizing the Worthy

“Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.”

Abraham Lincoln

I started blogging to explore a belief that “we are stronger, better teachers when we work together, share our knowledge, and connect with others.” I’m only marginally better at the tech stuff now than I was at the start, but I’ve learned a lot about the power of the internet to create a community of teachers.

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Life on the Learning Curve

I have a confession to make. As I get older, my learning style more and more resembles an eight-year old boy’s. You know, push buttons until something works. That, coupled with my determination to maintain a beginner mentality by trying new things, keeps me solidly on a learning curve for something or other.

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The English Auntie

One of my favorite walking routes takes me near the neighborhood elementary school. Last week, as I passed a young girl, I heard her question (in Japanese), “An English person?” I turned and explained that while I spoke English, I was American. Turns out that I was the first foreign person she’d had a chance to talk to “up close and personal.” We chatted for a few more minutes and I continued on my way. While our entire talk had been in Japanese, I got a “thank you!” in English as I moved on.

(more…)