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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 in a Name? A lot… apparently!

Those of you who’ve been living in Japan for a while know how convoluted all this can get   The textbooks would have it that Mr. Brown asks “What’s your name?” and Ms. Smith duly answers with, “Karen Smith” (before calling for the manager, naturally). Simple as that. But real life is a little more […]

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  “An unhealthy dose of social awkwardness”   I’ve written previously about how the propensity to teach and practice fully grammatical sentences can lead to increased difficulties in producing speech for non-native English speakers, as well imbuing that speech with an unhealthy dose of social awkwardness. Moreover, when we reward fully grammatical speech forms with […]

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What they do care about is that I submit a REPORT about it   For the most part, everyone in Japan is an office worker. Office work is real work. Teachers are office workers. Police officers are office workers. Shopkeepers are office workers. You are only really working when you are sitting at your desktop […]

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  “The rising sense of desperation that English teachers feel when a deafening silence envelopes the classroom”   People might tell you it’s because the students are shy. Or that they are afraid of making mistakes. Some will venture that they lack opinions and yet others will argue that it is actually an integral, acceptable […]

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It’s been almost 35 years since I started teaching English, back when the internet meant some kind of reinforcement fabric, when cell phones were those contraptions that wardens called on to give death row convicts last-minute reprieves, and Krashen was what teenagers did with their Chevy Novas on summer nights after quaffing too much Baby […]

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I know that many language teachers in Japan blanch at hearing the infamous ‘We Japanese…’ response (and yes, that includes many Japanese teachers). You know what I mean. That loaded preface which marks many international conversations in Japan: Foreign human: So, what’s a good place to grab a lunch around here? Japanese human: Well, we […]

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I’m betting that most of you are heartily sick  (pun partially intended) of coronavirus talk. It has become the C-word of note for many. And yet, it retains something of that car crash ‘I-want-to-look-away-but-can’t’ dopamine effect — we keep plunging in, as if driven by an unseen aerosolized force, into the murky depths of Corona […]

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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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