Category: Prof. Development

BALANCE-SCALE-3

Educational Absolutism

One thing that has slowly happened to me in my own development as a teacher – I’m now less absolute and sure of myself. Now, that may seem a contradiction and that after 25 years meandering through the fields and mountains of schools, classes, education,...

glasshalffull

Back To School: The art of possibility

A story. Two teachers visit the principal’s office to get their new class assignment for the school year. The principal assigns them each to a class of new students. Both teachers don’t speak a word of the student’s mother tongue. The students don’t speak even...

linc2001

Stories From The Trenches 3

In the mid to late 90’s I was teaching new immigrants to Canada, downtown Toronto. It was a government program and all new immigrants with lower level language fluency would get paid for up to a year, if they regularly attended language lessons. I’ve written...

jana palacha

Stories From The Trenches 2

I had the luck to start teaching English at a school where I basically had free reign to teach as I saw fit.  It was just after the fall of communism in the Czech Republic (then still Czechoslovakia), a beautiful spa city, Karlovy Vary. I...

musadaq

Stories from the Trenches

If you’ve been to any of my training sessions, workshops, presentations – you’ll know I often start with a story  They are a perfect way to frame conversation and get us thinking about our teaching.  We are hard wired for narrative and I think for...

teaching

Doing What Works For You

Throughout my teaching career, I’ve often found myself  in what I term, “the rut”.  Not bored of teaching nor unexcited but rather teaching without any “spice” and just going through the motions.  Settled is what I call it.  Finding myself feeling like I’ve figured it...

make things clear

Teacher Training

Please see my Teacher Training page for loads of presentations I’ve created and delivered throughout my teaching career.   My new glossary is also a steadfast reference. This list and video library of Educational Thinkers has a lot of valuable learning. Please be sure to...

teachersurgeon

If Teachers Were Doctors …..

The other night I watched an interesting news program profiling a doctor who writes out prescriptions for exercise to many of his patients. He writes out what they should do every day and like medicine, expects it to be done and completed just like we...

differentiation

The #1 Reason To Use Tech In ELT

** Not your ordinary, endless list – just what’s number 1.                               Differentiation I have thought about this long and hard. I’m not a big proponent of using “tech for tech’s...

hands2

It’s About Relationships

There is one thing that too often gets left behind in all the post it notes stuck on the door of educational reform: Teacher – student relationships.    Not enough do we hear the message that what education really is about is what invisibly transpires...

no project 2

Saying NO (more)

May 1st has come and gone but how many of us teachers really challenged our students to learn about the place and importance of “the working class” in our teaching?  How many of us challenged students to think about how we get the things we...

istek

ISTEK ELT Bound

I’m sitting in the airport in Toronto, heading out to the ISTEK ELT Conference in Istanbul. Looking forward to my presentations there and at other universities in Turkey. I’m especially excited because of the focus / theme of the conference – “Through their eyes: Understanding...

stereotypes

A Lesson On Stereotyping

Scott Thornbury offered up a stimulating blog post this week titled “R is for Representation“. About how textbooks don’t represent the world of the student, the spaces they live and walk among, the people they know nor the dreams they have for themselves. I won’t...

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Blast / List From The Past

I spent a few contemplative hours this morning going through some of my dozens of notebooks of poetry and philosophy/aphorisms, written over the last 30+ years. As I was reading one, I came across this list of points on “How To Learn English”. I remember...

zombies

Is “Long form” dead?

A number of recent events have had this question swirling around in my head. First and foremost, the recent ELT Blog Carnival I hosted and promoted. Not too many entries and not a lot of interest from those I emailed about it. “Too busy” everyone...

low impact2

Low Impact Teaching

Over the last 5 to 10 years, I’ve been developing new ideas about how we should be teaching in our classrooms.   These ideas have changed as the possibilities and promises of educational technology have become reality. The most fundamental of these ideas are always...

chalkbrush

What is your metaphor?

Metaphors are powerful things for teachers.  They are the very building blocks of thought and allow us to see what isn’t there, to connect on a higher level to hidden realities.   Cynthia Ozick in her timeless essay, “Metaphor and Memory”  talks of metaphor as...

earth children

Reformation not reform

Last week I watched the “Reinvent Learning” roundtable with Howard Reingold. As I walked and ran on my treadmill (got in a good 14 k), I listened to the pronouncements of all the experts about what is happening or should happen in education right now....

reflective writing

Reflective Writing: Thomas Farrell

Last month I attended a weekend course on Reflective Practice led by Thomas Farrell.   This year, one of my own goals has been to attend to my own professional development instead of leading workshops, giving presentations and all that.  As the French say, “reculer...

learning

5 Myths About Learning

I spent part of the morning rereading Frank Smith, particularly his thoughts about how we learn. Delightful, insightful, thoughtful.  Here’s an excerpt from his book: Comprehension and Learning but I also highly recommend his book about whole language, Understanding Reading. One of the things that...

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