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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.

Existential dilemma runs amok: Do I make any difference here?

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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The number of language teachers who champion the term ‘equity’ without practicing it in their classrooms is surprising. For example, very few, if any, would willingly choose to give all students exactly the same grades or ensure that each one had developed precisely the same skills to the same level. After all, that’s what equity […]

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  “Deploying the ideologies that these terms embody can backfire in ways that many don’t realize“   It’s hard to attend an ELT workshop, seminar, presentation, or teacher training session these days without someone trying to appeal to the audience by name-checking the three terms associated with current notions of ‘sensitivity’: inclusivity, equity, and diversity. […]

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The Japanese National Center Test for University Admissions system is a highly-controlled, meticulous affair. Administrators are hyper-cognizant about removing any potential claims to unfairness in a noble attempt to maintain the all-important notion of university entrance being based solely on merit. For example, several years back, yours truly was denied a role on the committee […]

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I’ve very rarely taught English to absolute beginners. To be honest, after years of teaching university students and adults in graduate programs, I would probably be far out of my comfort zone facing a student standing at that very first step.   For this, I’ve always been grateful to those L1 (for most readers that […]

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  I was as guilty as anyone, I must admit. There was a time that I thought critical thinking was an essential tool in the English teacher’s arsenal and I indulged. It was arrogant, wrong-headed, and I’m damn sorry. I’ve reformed.   Here’s why. A critical thinker should sense the rich irony, the obvious paradox, […]

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Scene 1: ‘Let me introduce Daniel Filibuster, our chief of international relations.’ ‘Hi. Call me Dan.’ ‘Nice to meet you, Daniel!’   Scene 2: ‘I’d like you to meet Vice-Regent Professor Emeritus Montgomery Hardwhistle.’ ”Nice to meet you Monty!’   It doesn’t take a Professor Emeritus to realize that the respondent in both cases above […]

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“From this activity I learned that I should listen to my patients.” “I realized that I have to study English more and more.” “I came to know the importance of cooperation with others.” “I was surprised to see cultural differences.”   “…if taken at face value, they are all pretty much lies.”   At some […]

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