Note from Barb: Patrick first wrote this for Teaching Village in 2011, but it’s such a great post for St. Patrick’s Day that I decided it was worth sharing again
The real St. Patrick is shrouded in a deep mist (like many of his followers). Legend has it that he brought Christianity to the Emerald Isle while simultaneously banishing snakes. Both these are clearly true. We still have some Christians and no snakes in Ireland. But what can language teachers learn from this Fifth Century Zero to Hero?
This month, Let’s Share is all about reading.
Reading is arguably the most important skill we can help our students develop. While we assume that speaking and listening will be important in our students’ future lives and careers, we don’t honestly have any idea how much opportunity they’ll have to talk to other people in English. Being able to read in English, however, opens windows to the world. All of our students will have access to the Internet, and English is likely to remain the lingua franca online for the foreseeable future. Not being able to read in English limits our students to only that small part of the Web that is in their native language. (more…)
If you’ve read my About page, you know that one of my day jobs is co-author of a coursebook series called Let’s Go, for children learning English as a foreign language. I’ve worked with my co-authors Ritsuko Nakata, Karen Frazier, and Carolyn Graham for more than 20 years. We’ve shared many “firsts” during our long partnership, quite a few involving technology. We got our first computers in order to write the books, and our first fax machines in order to share drafts of units (because the Internet was still off in the future). When e-mail finally came along, our first messages were sent to each other. Our books have given us amazing opportunities to share what we’ve learned in workshops with teachers around the world, and to learn even more from working with those teachers. (more…)
Whenever I teach, I do all I can to present language so that it comes to life for the students. As an English teacher, I instantly become an actor in order to convey meaning for any new language being taught. I recall the first time I was teaching in a classroom in Taiwan, where every student spoke the same language. In order to communicate with beginning and elementary level students, clear gestures and the use of realia were essential. These helped create a context for the language so the students could grasp the meaning. (more…)
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…)
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…)
Like many native English speaking teachers of English, when I started out I’d had no real training in teaching young learners. I’d had training in teaching adults (CELTA) and happened to quite like children – but it didn’t make me qualified or prepared for the YL classroom! Looking back nearly 15 years later, I can identify a few key lessons I’ve learned along the way – through trial and error – sometimes quite long periods of error! I’ve decided to focus on 3 of them – the 3 I think have helped me the most or the 3 I wish I’d known before starting out! (more…)
I was in Okayama last weekend for the OUP Teaching Workshops. Okayama is famous for several things, including a story many of you know (at least in translation) and a food enjoyed by the main character in that story. Finding the name of the story and the name of the food is your webquest for today! (more…)
Date Masamune and Tanabata, both symbols of Sendai
Sendai was the first stop for this year’s OUP Teaching Workshop series, and what a great place to begin! (more…)