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Content over Grammar (Part two)

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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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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