If you read Stories from the Front Lines of EFL, and thought, “I’d really like to be part of this project, but I’m not sure anyone would be interested in my story” then this post is for you.
Answering just a few important questions can give you the confidence to share your thoughts and ideas about teaching. It may take a bit of time, some reading and some effort, but anyone can do it. You can benefit yourself and all of us by taking this step in your own development as a teacher. Everyone has some great successes from the classroom to share, and all of us really do want to learn from you. (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…)
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…)
I thought that a one month TEFL course and the fact that I am a native speaker of English would be enough to equip me to teach English. As I started to teach in Nepal, and later in India I slowly learnt many lessons myself. The most important lesson I learnt was to be genuine and honest with the students. Teaching is not simply about entertaining the students, but guiding them honestly and directly through the maze of learning ahead of them. As a teacher we are imparting more than just knowledge, we also impart wisdom. As we stand in front of a class day after day the children witness our behaviours both good and bad. The teacher has the task of showing them how to learn effectively, and so the teacher must look to herself (I use this to mean both genders) first and at the methods she employs in developing and presenting both the lessons and herself. (more…)
The way to become a teacher is to be a teacher.
It is a truism in education that the way we become good teachers is through experience. The things we learn in certificate programs and grad school help, of course, but it is the act of teaching that gives us the skills we need. (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…)
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…)
What do your students call you?
Does it matter? (more…)
A few of the things that gave me that beginner feeling
Try something that makes you feel foolish.
Something that guarantees you’ll make mistakes.
Something that frustrates and overwhelms you.
In other words, do something that helps you remember what it feels like to be a beginner. (more…)
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…)