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Wise teaching for testwiseness

Japan is a country in which people hold meetings about holding meetings, rehearse for rehearsals, and conduct tests to help prepare test-takers for other tests — such is the degree of fastidiousness and meticulous preparation that makes so much of this country both hyper-efficient and exasperating. Indeed, if you have children who’ve gone through the […]

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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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