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Equity and Diversity: Beware the Buzzwords (Pt. 2)

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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I used to think that showing deference to someone simply because they were older than me was illogical and irrational. Not surprisingly, I thought this when I was young. Now I’m in my late fifties. The people at my university who held the power when I first entered twenty years back have moved on to […]

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Consider the following post to be wisdom based on almost 30 years’ teaching experience in Japan and not the product of an objective, in-depth research study (in other words, this has greater peer-to-peer reliability) 🙂   The question is this — Who among my Japanese students come to speak the best English? The students most […]

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Rather than pummel readers with a Big Thematic Blogpiece today, I’d like to throw out a few EFL nuggets that I’ve been digesting recently and hear what commenters have to say:   Whatever happened to notebooks and notepaper?   Remember when college and university students actually brought notebooks to class? Each year the number of […]

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