Monthly Archives: April 2014

Waiting

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Image courtesy of Kate Mereand-Sinha
This post is in response to Anne Hendler’s blog post challenge to share one thing that happened today and post it with #OneThing on Twitter. I decided to write it as a short story instead, something I’ve never really done before. Thought it seemed appropriate. Don’t worry, I won’t give up my day job to become a writer any time soon!

With the sun straining to appear through the blanket of grey, I shoved my hands in my pockets and started my way towards the college. “At least it isn’t raining,” I muttered to myself. I’m not really a morning person, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to get used to the morning commute. I was careful to walk around a small snail creeping along on the sidewalk when I almost stepped into the line of car climbing out of the underground parkade. “Thanks for stopping!” I thought as he squealed his tires, launching himself over the curb and onto the road. The driver leans on his horn as he swerves around a truck backing into an a building parking lot. “Patience, please!” I growl. Oi. And I’ve hardly gone fifty paces. I begin to wonder what this day has in store for me. Continue reading Waiting

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Changing

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Image courtesy of Nick Page

Have you ever had one of those days where a certain topic keeps coming up over and over again in completely different situations? Yesterday was like that for me. The completely random topic? Critical pedagogy. Not sure why, but I’m not complaining. This is a topic that I have really started to sink my teeth into, even if I am still working out all that it encompasses and how it plays out in my language classroom.

For those not entirely sure about what critical pedagogy is, here is a really, really simplified (perhaps oversimplified?) version. In the beginning, there was Paulo Freire, a philosopher and educator from Brazil who wrote this amazing, albeit somewhat dense, book Pedagogy of the Oppressed. By the sounds of the title, I am sure you can probably start to guess where this is going. Freire believed that education should allow those who find themselves oppressed and cut off politically to gain a voice and be given the tools and space to transform their situation. Freire also fought against the traditional dispensing of knowledge by the teacher, instead giving the students the means to direct and create their own learning especially through social interaction. Basically, critical pedagogy levels the playing field by stripping away the hierarchical structure so prevalent in education. Students take what they learn in the classroom and transform their world outside of the classroom. There is so much more than that, so if you would like to understand it better, go here.

Okay, before anyone starts blasting me for missing important components of critical pedagogy, the purpose of this post isn’t to be a treatise on all things critical, but I simply want to provide a foundation to explain what I have been thinking about. In this case, three different things arose from the conversations and texts I read. Continue reading Changing

Disagreeing

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Image courtesy of Nathan Siemers

Yep, I’m back, but with a caveat. My concern about how we treat each other as ELT professionals hasn’t changed. In fact, that is the focus of this post. While most of my posts are mostly planned out before I sit down at the computer, this is one of those that is just a general idea and I hope that by typing it out, some of my thoughts will start to sort themselves out and will become more cohesive by the end. Either that, or this post will be a disaster.

A lot has happened in the past month with the TESOL conference in Portland and IATEFL in Harrogate as well as the discussions that followed. The major discussion has been focused on the session presented by Sugata Mitra and one given by Russ Mayne. Surprisingly, those are not the issues I want to discuss here. Instead, my focus is on how we conduct ourselves with interacting with others within our field (or with people in general). I feel we have become too comfortable with the ‘snark’ remark. Biting, sarcastic responses have become so commonplace, there are those who feel it is now expected in order to make a point. Well, I for one feel we are heading down a dangerous path. Continue reading Disagreeing

Contemplating

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Image courtesy of Simon Powell

I woke up this morning and this was spinning in my head. As I write this, I have a feeling it should have stayed in there where it made more sense (at least to me). Oh well, I will give it a go.

17th May 2013. That was the day that I started this blog. I had bold ambitions to share my thoughts on issues that mattered to the ELT community and how they were being played out in my classroom. I never ever intended for this site to make me rich or famous (and for the record, neither of those actually happened anyway), but my hope has always been that it might help others to reflect on their own teaching and possibly start a conversation as I learned from those who read my posts.

In part, that has happened. Continue reading Contemplating

Archiving

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Image courtesy of DRs Kulturarvsprojekt

Over the past few years now, I have been working on and refining my use of e-portfolios in my classroom. For those unfamiliar or only knowing a bit about what they are, e-portfolios are essentially an electronic archive of things the student does in the course of their learning. It can be made up of projects from inside or outside of the classroom and is primarily divided into two parts: the sandbox and the showcase. Continue reading Archiving