I’m only on the 3rd of 6 modules but my interests are quickly piling up. Being a type 7 on the Enneagram, http://www.enneagraminstitute.com/, it is no big surprise to me, but I’d better keep on top of things or else…
For anyone who golfs, the following tip I heard should be analogous:
Standing on the first tee, with driver in hand, ominously looking down the fairway, we are advised to, “Stay focussed on the ball and try to keep less than 300 things from racing through your brain at once.”
I can clearly see that I’m evolving as a teacher through this MA TEFL. I find that trying to stay “practical” while piecing together the many potential components that will form both my own theory of learning and the English program at my school can be overwhelmimg at times.
In Japanese high schools, there is a big difference between ‘learning’ English and ‘studying’ English. The former works best through a holistic approach to the language (like TBL) whereas the later centers on a rigorous and grueling mental study of English in order to pass university entrance exams. At the high school level, it feels almost impossible to convince JTEs to adjust their grammar-translation (GT) methods into a more holistic TBL approach. There are many universities that have recently been implementing TBL into the university setting and this seems like a very good idea according to many experts including, among many others, Nunan and Ellis. I think TBL is a reasonable approach because the focus can be on ‘learning’ English more than ‘studying’ English. I don’t know how many JSHSs have found a way to use TBL within the current world of “Juken Benkyou”.
I’m very interested in finding a way to “sell” the idea of TBL to the average JTE (who hasn’t got an MA TEFL) so that JTE and NT goals can be more aligned and their students can enjoy English more and be more successful in English as well.
Personally, I am determined to find the right mix of approach, based on theory, to lead me to my goal. Here’s where I am or my “recipe” at this point:
- I’m trying to wrap my head around understanding TBL in order to implement a TBL approach into my classroom.
- I’m starting an Extensive Reading program for both in-class and out-of class. I want to expose my students to a large amount and wide range of English.
- I’m evaluating how to give “Vocabulary” its proper place in my lessons.
The weeks seem to be flying by, with readings from the MA TEFL modules scheduled towards a weekly SKYPE session (online FREE conference call format, http://www.skype.com/helloagain.html) on Monday nights at 10 pm. If you are interested in what we are doing, skype me via bluesteed. We discuss, compare, clarify and try to understand the implications of what we are studying. We also laugh.
This week I joined TESOL http://www.tesol.org/s_tesol/index.asp and renewed my membership to JALT http://jalt.org/. I figured that for the duration of this MA, I would like to open as many avenues to new ideas, interesting people and new opportunities. I think both associations are worthwhile for my professional development.
The following link is a wonderful, up-to-date introduction to TBL. Thanks to Mark for sending it to me. http://www.asian-efl-journal.com/September_06_home.php. The editor’s introduction to some 8 articles is wonderful and the first short article by Nunan offers a variety of clear definitions of ‘task’. Check it out.