Back to Reality

I spent most of last week in Hiroshima attending the summer seminar for the MA TEFL course through the University of Birmingham.

It was stimulating, fun, and inspiring. The group this year was particularly cool. They seemed to have bonded from the first day, so when I got there on the 3rd day they were cruising right along as if they’d been together for months.

I made a presentation about collaborative learning using Skype. It went very well, especially due to the advice and support of Mark, Paul, Terry, Anthony and Matt. I hope others will be keen to follow my lead and offer to do other presentations at future events.

Anyways, here’s the video. There’s a 6-minute introduction, an 18-minute presentation and 7 minutes of comments and questions at the end.


6 thoughts on “Back to Reality

  1. Hi Steve,

    Wow, what an informative video and it’s so good to see such a high turn out in Japan for the seminar! I have a study partner and it has been great to share ideas about the course but we never really chatted about creating a specific agenda for the study sessions. With your video presentation, I jotted some things down to bring to my study buddy to make our sessions more useful. Everything you mentioned about the modules is so true! I too did Mod. 1 by myself and yes it was an “obsticle course” and lonely. Mod. 2 is such a grey area of study and now i’m on Mod. 3 with TBL. I’m now in the research stage of paper #3 and I’m off the TBL bandwagon as a fulltime syllabus. TBL is one of the tools to use in the classroom. I love your idea of defending your outlines for each paper. Paper 3 is due Sept. 30 for me so I do have time to implement your ideas concerning the study group. My husband will start the program this week and he will benefit greatly from your video and your advice.

    So it seems that your study group is at different places in the MA program. How do you work out what to chat about if people are at different places in the MA? Obviously, one can benefit from refreshing their memories on studied units as well as be on the look out for up coming units. Do you ever encounter conflicts of interest?

    I have also felt nervous or unqualified to contribute what I’m doing research in or writing my papers on. I still don’t know how to go about making contributions.

    I guess you have started Mod. 5 and possibly your dissertation. During the Korea seminar, I sat down with Terry Shortall and we constructed my dissertation. I’m super excited about it.

    I enjoy reading your blog, keep it up.


  2. Hi Rachel,

    Thanks for taking the time to write a long, juicy comment! It makes me feel great that you got something from my video. I worked very hard on the content, and my colleagues really helped to shape it into a decent presentation – without their input it would have been incomprehensible!

    In response to your not knowing how to make a contribution, Kumaravadivelu talks about 3 things that should contribute to your theory of practice: 1) linguist’s theories, 2) empirical research data, and 3) teacher’s experience. He goes on to claim that they should be waited equally. That’s where you come in – whatever you’ve been experiencing in your classes is real and valid. If you can learn to observe what’s working or happening in your classroom, then you are certainly qualified to begin to record and participate in classroom research.

    I’m totally interested in doing classroom research; if you ever want to figure out how to get started, give me a call, and we can stumble through it together.

    Good luck with that 9/30th deadline.


  3. Hey Steve,

    to my best buddy!

    Really sorry I missed this year, but you have my support all the way, there is no finish line is there?! Let’s take this MASH to the world!


  4. Steve,

    Very nice work, sir. It’s really great to see the enthusiasm that you and your colleagues have for the material and to see you motivating others in a similar vein. Very impressive, and very inspiring.

    Summer got away from us, and we never caught up for that beer, but I suspect we’ll be running into each other over the coming weeks/months:-)

    Hope to see you at the Nara JALT presentation on October 20th: Garr Reynolds on “Zen and the Art of Presenting ‘Naked'”.

    If not, maybe see you at JALT2007 (Tokyo)?

    All the best,
    Steve N

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