(hatsuhinode – the first sunrise of the new year)

The Winter holiday is a time above all to reflect on what has been and plan for what might be. Aside from what goes on in the classroom, I have a few things coming up in the year ahead.

  1. On the evening of January 14th I’ll be giving my first Pecha Kucha, with a bunch of very talented and interesting PKers thanks to Chuck Sandy. I’m drawing the pictures now. Is it cheating to use animation?
  2. Two days later I’m going to Yokohama to present on technology for Yo JALT! I love that city so I hope I get a chance to look around too.┬áPlease come and see one or both if you are in Japan!
  3. I have taken up a post as book reviews editor at a new journal based at the University of Central Lancashire, The Journal of Second Language Teaching and Research. There is a very strong editorial board involved, the journal is open to all, and the intention to offer early career researchers publishing opportunities is admirable. If you would like to review a book published within the last two years, or you have a book you would like to offer for review, please contact me at darrenrelliott@gmail.com
  4. I am planning a new content course on ‘Digital Literacy’ for university students, which is a departure. I’m learning a lot myself in preparation.
  5. I am especially excited to be involved in a new book coming out in autumn, initiated by the JALT Learner Development SIG but taken up by a quality UK publisher with additional chapters by some very well-known writers in the field. I am also working on a conference to launch the book here in Nagoya, with some international speakers, which will (fingers crossed) take place in October.
  6. The blog is a going concern, and I hope I might have more chances to meet interesting people coming through Japan as well as a few possible skype interviews.

If you want to know more, or want to offer any advice, please let me know ; D

On top of all this, and most importantly, I can’t wait to meet the new students and keep tweaking the courses I am already teaching on to make them the best they can be!

I enjoyed 2010…. Here’s to a productive and happy 2011!

Now Lindsay is retiring his blog, we can safely plunder its fantastic format. I suppose it would be more respectful to wait until after the official date, but frankly I’ve been sitting on this one for a while and it’s Friday afternoon…. I feel like starting a meme. Here is my ‘something for the weekend’, in a slightly TEFLtastic vein. Six things…..

“Sorry about the noise, they got quite excitable today”

What you are actually saying is “My class was fun and engaging, and the happy laughter and lively English conversation may have disturbed the pedestrian and turgid activities your slug-like students were working on”. The truth – your students have no respect for you and you left the classroom to get your hip flask.

“Haven’t you handed those in yet?”

The modern school is heaving under a mountain of paperwork. The trick is never to be the last one to hand it in. As you turn in your overdue exam results, scour the room to find that cringing worm who still hasn’t finished. Say this loudly in front of the admin assistants (or, even better, the school owner).

“No, I haven’t seen it…sorry”

That’s because it’s locked in your desk drawer, under a stack of unmarked writing compositions. The trouble with shared resources is that you will walk into the classroom, pull out the photocopies you cobbled together three minutes before the lesson, only to be greeted with blank-faced stares and a lone groan of “We done already” from a Belgian teenager at the back of the room. Prevent that happening to YOU by “managing” the school materials.

“Got anything good for first class?”

On the other hand, why not tap into the knowledge of your fellow professionals? Best uttered as the bell rings.

“I didn’t have any trouble with them last year….”

Like number one, this is a double whammy. It implies that you are a Super-Teacher and your colleague is hopeless. Actually, they locked you in a store cupboard but that is beside the point. Again, drop this in front of the DoS.

“Oh yeah, I’ve been doing that for a while”

Don’t you hate those keen types with their methodology, their technology, their research and their experimentation? Next time young Thompson starts piping up about his student podblog or his dogears (or whatever the damn thing is), hit him with this. In reality there’s nothing wrong with the lesson plans you perfected in 1987, but it helps to look like you are on the “Cutting Edge” (second edition).

Any key phrases you like to drop? And do you have a ‘Six Things’ of your own?