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Revisiting Multiliteracies & Moving On

I have been interested in a multiliteracies approach to English language learning and teaching for almost a decade now. I've been blogging about it since 2010 and I gave a presentation on this for two conferences in Iowa. I decided to put this interest aside so I could complete my dissertation on another topic and search for jobs. Now that a few years have passed, I'd like to share how my interest has changed.

The foundation of my interest is best represented by the Prezi I made (below) for my 2010 MIDTESOL Conference presentation:



My primary reference was Stuart Selber's 2004 book Multiliteracies for a Digital Age, published by Southern Illinois University Press. While working for the Kirkwood Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (KCELT), I found some similarities between my highlighted concepts from Selber's book and the Framework for 21st Century Learning, which you can view at http://www.p21.org/our-work/p21-framework. The third category (Information, Med…
Recent posts

When You Can't Teach, Administrate

There's a somewhat famous expression that most teachers find insulting - "He who can does. He who cannot teaches." It implies that teachers cannot function or "produce results" in the "real world" but they know enough to tell or direct others how. And this implies that education is mainly about skill building (for jobs) and not about knowledge or character. I could go on and on about this, but I wanted to discuss HL Mencken's addition to George Bernard Shaw's quote:
Those who can't teach - administrate. Those who can't administrate - go into politics.
I heard this quote way back in late elementary school or junior high school and it struck a chord. It especially rings loudly in my mind as I have spent the last few years of my life in administration rather than teaching in higher education. And sadly I have to confirm that many administrators can't or won't teach. Yes, it makes me sad because I am an educator and I believe that …

My First Job: Was I Good Teacher?

To go along with my new blog theme of praxis, I thought it would be fun to evaluate myself when I was a new teacher nearly 20 years ago in Japan. More specifically, I explore what made me a bad teacher, a mediocre teacher, and a good teacher. But first a little context: I started my English language teaching career shortly after graduating from college in 1998. I took a full-time teaching position for the most famous eikaiwa in Japan at the time, Nova. Back then, there was no social media: no Facebook, no Twitter, no YouTube, and not even blogs. When I wanted to learn about teaching English in Japan, I used my Netscape browser to do a search using Yahoo! because Google didn't exist yet. I wasn't even aware of Dave's ESL Cafe yet if it existed back then. I had no idea was I was getting into, but I was fortunate enough to have a generally good experience even though I wasn't the best teacher.


What Made Me a Bad Teacher? That's an easy question to answer: lack of teac…

The Tao of Praxis

Last week, I started reading The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff to my daughter as part of her bedtime regimen. I bought this book years ago after a colleague recommended it to me when he learned I was interested in Taoism. Since then I have embraced much of its philosophy, but I stop short of calling myself a Taoist. I didn't realize until now that Taoism has deeply affected my attitudes and beliefs towards English language teaching and scholarship, especially concerning the concept of praxis. Below are some examples.


The passage above comes from Chapter 3: Spelling Tuesday, page 26. It's not a subtle attack on academics, specifically those whose goals are to get published to be accepted among an elite circle of scholars. This is particularly striking to me because, at this point in my life, I would like to gain acceptance among this elite circle, which I perhaps naively equate to tenured professors. However, I strive to make my life's work beneficial to English language te…

The Future of Professional Learning in TESOL

Earlier this month, the TESOL International Association held a summit in Athens, Greece on the future of our profession. This summit was recorded and can be viewed here: http://www.tesol.org/summit-2017/themes/futurology-recorded-sessions

There were many takeaways from this summit, and I've been following reactions both internally, through the myTESOL online portal, and externally, through the Twitter hashtag #TESOLsummit. Below are some screenshots of tweets that got my attention.



These struck a chord in me because I believe CPD (collaborative professional development) is not the future of TESOL. It is the present! It's what I'm doing right now on this blog and what I have been doing by engaging TESOL teachers and researchers online.

However, online PD is not an option for many teachers, either because of accessibility or personal feelings towards social media and e-learning. On the flip side, accessibility and personal feelings towards massive international conferences k…

Are you an Open Educator?

Image from https://www.flickr.com/photos/gforsythe/18162314289 What is an Open Educator? According to a recently published article from the International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning (IRRODL):

An Open Educator chooses to use open approaches, when possible and appropriate, with the aim to remove all unnecessary barriers to learning. He/she works through an open online identity and relies on online social networking to enrich and implement his/her work, understanding that collaboration bears a responsibility towards the work of others.

Does this sound attractive for English language teachers? It seems to some who offer courses through or with YouTube. But what does it mean "to remove all unnecessary barriers to learning?" Working for free? Not necessarily. If you read the article, it seems you'd be working on a sliding scale depending on the socioeconomic status of the learners, but this sliding scale is a sliding slope. How can poor le…

2016 ELT Job Market in the United States

Depending where you are and where you want to be, 2016 was a good, bad, or typical year for ELT programs in the United States. 
Bad year for university jobs, teaching and administrativeGood year for community college jobsTypical year (trending positively) for professor jobsTypical year (unpredictable) for other jobsIf you want to learn more, read on. I describe each job sector through my interpretation of ELT job opening announcement data from the TESOL Career Center, Higher Ed Jobs.com, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
University Jobs I work at an intensive English program at a public university in the United States, and it's quite noticeable that the ELT job market has taken quite a hit this year with the Saudi government cutting scholarships. I saw this firsthand as the Saudi enrollment numbers at my university dropped, but this is only a few years where most programs saw record numbers of Saudi students. My data confirms this trend.

Since 2009, I've been keeping tra…