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Showing posts from 2012

Buzzwords: Mindfulness & Reflexivity

In the midst of writing my dissertation and preparing myself for the job market, I have become acutely aware of certain buzzwords in the field of English language teaching, or perhaps in the field education generally.  Mindfulness and reflexivity are characteristics that teacher educators would like other teachers to develop if they haven't already.  I decided to blog about these terms for a couple of reasons.  First, I'd like to share these institutional buzzwords with newcomers to the field.  Second, I think the meaning of these buzzwords can help bridge the research and practice gap.

I have encountered the term mindfulness in and outside the field of education.  In education, I've seen it applied to situations in which a teacher must adapt to a new teaching context (such as in my dissertation) or when a teacher needs to resolve a conflict.  Slightly outside the field of education, mindfulness is used in psychology for stress reduction.  In both cases, to be mindful mean…

Online Professional Development

Today and yesterday, I attended the Iowa Culture and Language Conference where I co-presented about online professional development for STEM and special education teachers with English language learners in the classroom.  The presentation can be accessed here: http://tinyurl.com/uiowa-iclc-2012.

Dr. Pam Wesely was the lead presenter with Zeynep Bilki and I providing examples of online resources to help STEM and special education teachers learn more about English language learners and/or learn about certain approaches to engage English language learners in their classroom.  The three I presented were from the British Council & the BBC, the Internet TESL Journal, and a site from George Washington University about ELLs in special education.  I also contributed a significant portion to the list of additional resources at the end of the presentation.

As a Senior English Language Fellow, working along with the U.S. Department of State, I felt a little conflict of interest advocating the…

Effective Teaching: A Reflection on Student Evaluations

As I was reading literature for my dissertation, I came across a table that I found useful to reflect upon my teaching, particularly on student evaluations.  Although not a part of my dissertation, one of my interests is investigating differences of student evaluations from context to context.  For example, I have found the level of formality and education/entertainment ratio differs from class to class and culture to culture.  I wanted to use this table from Barnes & Lock's (2010) article, "The Attributes of Effective Lecturers of EFL as Perceived by Students in a Korean University," published in the Australian Journal of Teacher Education, as an reflective exercise for my own professional development, and if it is seems useful, I may be interested in applying this table (or similar ones like it) as a teacher educator.

Barnes & Lock (2010) divide effective teaching into five major categories: rapport, delivery, fairness, knowledge & credibility, and organiza…

Teaching Idioms

Although I stated I would blog about what I have learned at the University of Iowa, this posting is more inspired of some news about a colleague of mine whose proposal was accepted by the TESOL organization to write about about teaching idioms.

I have always been interested in idioms when I was growing up, and when I first became an ESL teacher, I wanted to teach them, but I realized how impractical many of those idioms were.  That's when I realized that I liked them because certain idioms were only spoken by certain groups of people and not the general English speaking population of the world or certain counties.  Since then, I have avoided teaching idioms directly.

When I was earning my MA degree at UMBC a decade ago, I learned that idioms should be taught as vocabulary for the most part.  I also learned that it was important to separate phrasal verbs from idioms. The average American English speaker usually lumps the two together as idioms.  Phrasal verbs are more grammatical …

Second Thought

I realize that my dissertation topic may change the purpose of this blog, which is to share ideas about teaching and learning in the English language classroom.  My dissertation is focused more on the EFL teacher instead of teaching or learning.  If you are interested in the sociocultural contexts of sojourning EFL teachers, then I will provide a link to that site as soon as I get it up and running.  I will insert the link right here once it's up.  In the meantime, I will try to write a few postings this summer based on what I have learned over the past three years at the University of Iowa.  However, my dissertation will get most of my attention.

Hiatus Ending This Summer

I plan to start actively writing here soon as I have successfully passed my comprehensive exams.  From here on I will publish fragments of my research interests, which concentrate on the population of expatriate or sojourning EFL instructors.  However, I have a strong interest in multiliteracies, so I will probably publish updates on this topic as well.  Thirdly, I may publish about the future of education and higher education in the United States and the world because I believe it will not be the same by the time my daughter graduates from high school.

I expect to post at least once this month, and more regularly through the summer.  Stay tuned!  Thanks for your patience.