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About This Blog
This blog is written for English language teachers who are interested in the intersection of teaching, learning, research, and technology. It was originally created with the purpose of answering frequently asked questions when I was a teacher educator in Russia.  I often found myself with limited time to answer questions during my outreach program presentations, so this blog gave me a platform to more thoroughly answer their questions.  It also helped me to demonstrate the relatively new phenomenon of blogging at the time.

The purpose changed when I became an English language teacher in Wisconsin.  I wanted to use this blog as part of my portfolio, especially with activities and lessons I found to be successful and/or fun to implement.  Just as I started getting grounded with ideas such as skeptical thinking and cooperative speaking and listening activities, I enrolled at the University of Iowa, where I spent the first couple years fleshing out my ideas that emerged in Wisconsin.
 
About Me
After earning my PhD in Teaching and Learning (Foreign Language and ESL Education) at the University of Iowa, I became the Curriculum and Technology Coordinator for CESL at Southern Illinois University.  I have lived in Carbondale, Illinois with my wife and daughter since July 2015.  My research interests are in teacher education, specifically in developing the intercultural competence in pre-service and in-service educators of English language learners.  My dissertation is on the adjustment process of sojourning English language teachers in Japan and South Korea.  

Prior to my life as an Iowa graduate student, I was an associate lecturer for two years at the ESL Institute at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse, where I began to develop my ideas for incorporating skeptical thinking into the English for academic purposes (EAP) classroom, a frequent topic in this blog a few years ago.

My interest in English language teaching methodology and curriculum development came from my four years as a teacher educator in South Korea and Russia.  In South Korea, I became a disciple of content-based instruction (also known as CLIL) and a practitioner of classroom interactions, which are a collection of techniques used to develop learners' oral proficiency and increase their oral output.  As a Senior English Language Fellow in Russia, I focused more on cooperative learning techniques and task-based learning and teaching as I traveled around the Greater Volga Region as part of an outreach teacher education program.

The foundation of my pedagogical knowledge and philosophy comes from my graduate studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.  There I learned not only about English language education but also instructional systems design, an incredibly useful tool for efficiently developing curricula.  My training at UMBC has helped me stay focused on the academic, linguistic, and affective needs of the learner and to develop course objectives, assessments, and activities based on those needs.

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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…

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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…

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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…