Skip to main content


On Monday, February 26th, I will be going to Ulyanovsk, which is relatively close to Samara compared to the previous two cities I've visited--Orenburg and Saratov.

For those not familiar with Russia, Ulyanovsk is most famous for being the birthplace of Lenin. When he was born, the city was known as Simbirsk. I found a website with some pictures of the city at Ulyanovsk has roughly the same number of people as the city of Baltimore, and is located in a region roughly the same size as Maryland. Other than that, I don't expect to many similarities with the city where I once lived.

What will I do there? I will be conducting teacher training seminars the first day to teacher trainers, who will hopefully disseminate the information to teachers through the Ulyanovsk region. On the second day, I will be conducting a teacher training workshop for pre-service teachers about cooperative learning activities. In recognition of the 200th anniversary of US-Russian relations, I will also be presenting some materials on American Studies.

Unfortunately my wife, Jenevieve Nelson, who usually comes with me to regions outside of Samara, will not be coming with me this time. Ulyanovsk will be the second time I will be traveling alone. Nonetheless, I look forward to meeting new people in a new city.


Popular posts from this blog

The Horror! A Listening Curriculum for English Language Learning

I've been inspired by Clare Maas' blog post, which was inspired by Dr. John Field's TEASIG/CRELLA talks, to share my shock at the listening curriculum of an intensive English program where I previously worked. To be fair, this listening curriculum was designed twenty years prior and my job was to lead faculty efforts to revise it. Unfortunately, the program went through financial difficulties and leadership changes, resulting in the "non-renewal" of most of the curriculum committee members.
Upper-Level (EAP) Listening (B2-C1) Listening was relatively equally integrated with speaking and reading skills in one course set apart from another course that focused much more on writing. This was the case for the two highest levels for students who intended to matriculate into the university as undergraduates. The highest level was not dependent on any one coursebook, so all of the listening material had to be collected by the instructors. When I was the curriculum coordi…

Research in the ELT Profession & Industry

My career has taken me to the uncomfortable and sometimes exciting spot in English language teaching or education in general: middle management, a term I dislike. As an advocate of teachers, I find my direction and passion by supporting teachers, helping them make their jobs more meaningful. Unfortunately, I have had to work with supervisors that didn't understand or share this vision. I'm not sure if they saw me as someone to "manage" teachers, but it often felt like it. If you don't know what middle management jobs are, and there are a lot of them, they go by many different names. Match any of the words in the left column with the words in the right column to create a job title that can describe the same job.

It seems that most of these job descriptions do not include research, which I believe is essential in developing curriculum and professional learning. It also seems obvious to me that a background in pedagogical research (and for ELT, research in applied …

Engagement with Research as Professional Development

Last Thursday, I was reviewing literature for a research project that is just underway, and I came across a couple tables that resonated with me so much that I had to share it on Twitter. The tables come from Simon Borg's 2010 article "Language Teacher Research Engagement."

These tables would have come in handy if I had found them prior to my research project with teachers at an intensive English program (IEP) in the United States. They would have supported my professional learning and curriculum development philosophies as an administrator because I believe these two areas, professional learning and curriculum development, should have strongly overlapping goals as an English language teacher. Furthermore, I believe that it is in the best interest of an institution to support this in order to improve the curriculum. This belief is based on the assumption that curriculum is not static because is based on the needs of the learners, which are dynamic, as well as the resear…