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Mike Guest
Stories written by Mike Guest
Michael (Mike) Guest is Associate Professor of English in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Miyazaki (Japan). A veteran of 25 years in Japan, he has published over 50 academic papers, 5 books (including two in Japanese), has been a regular columnist in the Japan News/Yomiuri newspaper for 13 years, and has performed presentations and led workshops and seminars in over 20 countries. Besides ranting and raving, his academic interests include medical English, discourse analysis, assessment, teacher training, and presentation skills.

Language Chauvinism in EFL: Assuming the missionary position

A lot of readers will be familiar with the scenario: A relatively unqualified or inexperienced white ‘native-speaking’ English teacher gains a position over a more highly-qualified or experienced Filipino or Singaporean because, well, this better suits the hiring committee’s myopic notion of what foreign English teachers are ‘supposed’ to look like. This is not a […]

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  “I hope you prove me wrong — by acing the next evaluation”   I think everyone would agree that one of the main purposes of teaching, beyond actually enabling people to learn a skill, is to enhance their motivation to keep learning. So what do we do when our teaching apparently has the opposite […]

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    Celebrity Academics arriving at the 2016 IATEFL Conference     Conferencing has a bit of an image problem. Many members of the public, including certain hard-core conference attendees themselves, see them as thinly-disguised holiday junkets. A four-day hard-drinking, luxury-hotel-bed-snoozing, sample-the-local-whatever indulgence package given as a reward for bearing the year-round drudgery of the office desk […]

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I’ve met more than a few English teachers who’ve had their eyes set on that plum university job because, apparently, “University teaching is the gravy train.” Only 6 classes a week, long vacations, generous research and pay packages, full medical, pension, and retirement benefits, … hell, you can even eventually enter the secret university faculty […]

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As a frequent traveller I regularly use popular travel websites to make my hotel reservations and a major factor in determining my choices are the reviews of my fellow travelers. I have a few regular haunts throughout Asia — my well-trodden comfort zones — but I am often perplexed to see how many reviewers say things such as, […]

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So there’s this guy sitting next me on the train and he keeps looking expectantly at my face. I’m trying to politely avoid engaging him because I have my own thoughts to entertain for the duration of this short ride. But he just can’t resist and, like a child tempted by candies in a jar, he just […]

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Tribe without papers or pencils mysteriously weak at portraiture! Tribe’s not playing music traced to absence of musical instruments! Carless culture lacks driving skills!   The above are mock examples of invented Neo-Whorfian ‘headlines’ taken from John McWhorter’s “The Language Hoax – Why the world looks the same in any language” (Oxford Univ. Press, 2014). This is […]

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  Ok, before anyone gets their hackles up over the title of this piece, a few points. One, I do not believe in any of those magical one-hand-clapping Orientalist discourse keys crafted for unlocking the ‘mysterious, exotic’ Asian mind. Two, as someone who has taken over one hundred trips within the continent and has lived in […]

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Contrary to the wide-eyed, exotic version of Japan as a country in which silence and its nuances are believed to serve an active communicative function, the Land of the Rising Sun often displays a real penchant for overstatement. As in waaaaay too much. Take the narrative of the average city bus driver: “I will now advance. Please […]

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  “Ummm… why are your final grades 15, 26, 14, 32, 9, 41, and… 1?”   The course total is out of 100. 60 represents a minimal passing grade. Anybody who scores under 30 has to not only repeat the same course next year but will also be held back a full year in order to […]

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