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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.

What’s good or getting better in the world of TEFL?

I admit that at times I must come off as a bit of a curmudgeon in this blog. What I write seems to be coloured with more spit and vinegar than I actually feel. But there is something perverse about the urge to focus upon that which may be wrong in the world of EFL […]

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I could forgive you this indulgence if you were new to teaching, or new to a teaching milieu. Before, say, age 30, it’s quite natural to be asking yourself, ‘Do I really want this to be my vocation? If so, then what type of English teacher should I be? What exactly should my role and […]

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This is the second post explaining why teaching content should be valued more than teaching grammar (the first post can be found here).   In this post, I’d like to point out how an explicit focus upon teaching grammar can retard learner communication skill development as well as how unreliable, elusive, and, in some cases, […]

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One of my roles is as a teacher trainer in a EFL Master’s Degree Program at a national university in Kyushu (not my home uni). Most of the students/trainees in my classes have been in-service teachers currently employed at junior high and high schools. About 80% are Japanese. The course I teach is ‘Classroom Practice […]

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I don’t think there’s a teacher worth his/her chalk box who wouldn’t hope that somehow, in some way, through their teaching, through engaging the language, a greater sense of compassion, of  interpersonal awareness and sensitivity, might develop among their students. One of the reasons that English is lumped in with the humanities is the implicit […]

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No, this post has nothing to do with the current socio-political situation in the U.S. Yes, it does contain ideas about how to improve your students’ English speaking skills. Read on.   “For the Japanese … associations with the English language invariably involve the U.S.”   Having spent most of last year in Thailand (on a […]

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‘MEXT’, or ‘Monkasho’, is the standard abbreviation for the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, Technology, and International Hot Air Ballooning. More importantly, MEXT is the scapegoat for everything that happens in any given education institution in Japan. Teachers at your school will now have to undergo eye-scans to gain entry? Sorry, MEXT says […]

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Do they even need me to be here? Does it make any difference how well I teach, what I teach? Will I have any impact upon my students’ English skills at all?       Sometimes I wonder. How many of you have had certain students enter your classroom with a certain level of English […]

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Reputations are made in small groups. This is true from the pre-school playground to the nursing home. One’s ability to engage and interact with one’s peers defines our role and position, the wider perceptions of our value to the group, to the community, even to society at large. For Japanese who are members of professional […]

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Having just completed half a year’s residency as a visiting professor at a Thai university, on top of my nearly 30 years in Japan, I’ve come to some conclusions regarding relative English proficiency skills in both countries.    On the surface, the two countries would seem to be starting on the same line: both languages […]

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