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Unpopular EFL teaching principles that work

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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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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