The end of meanness?

And the benevolent shall inherit the earth

calvin and hobbes moe

I just read a fantastic essay on the role of character and success, and how it might be changing due to our society’s evolution. Check it out here.

From a teaching perspective, this underscores the importance of helping our students learn how to work together and collaborate.

3 Dec 2014, 11:08am
conference JALT


  • JALT National Conference 2014



    Was actually really good


    This year I was again lucky enough to be able to attend the JALT National Conference in Tsukuba. It’s no secret that I prefer the intimate, geeky atmosphere of the Pan-SIG conference to the sprawling opulence of the national, and to be honest I wasn’t super-excited about going to Tsukuba. The dearth of transport links meant taking the shinkansen down to Tokyo, then the Tsukuba Express back up to Tsukuba. Grumble grumble.

    However, I was wrong this year about both the conference (which was excellent) and Tsukuba (which I ended up liking quite a bit). Humble pie for brunch today.

    So what was so good about this year’s conference? As a predictable blogger, I have a list for you:

    1. the venue was fantastic. Compact, clean, and easy to navigate, it was pretty close to perfect
    2. lots of people came to my presentation on Saturday evening, despite the unsociable time slot
    3. I somehow managed to attend a really good selection of presentations (and one truly awful one, but we won’t go into that)
    4. as usual, the conversations in the hallway were just as good as the presentations, and I came away with some really good ideas
    5. central Tsukuba (well, the bit around the venue) was pretty good: nice restaurants, a decent bar, and lots of trees
    6. I only managed to see one plenary (Thomas Farrell on reflective teaching) but it was excellent

    So I may have to rethink my attitude towards the national conference. I guess the more people you know the better it becomes in aggregate, and I’m starting to feel like I know most of the people at JALT :)

    Next year’s conference is in Shizuoka again. O-tanoshimi da ne!



    26 Nov 2014, 10:00am

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  • We’re back

    computer restart

    You may have noticed the site’s been down for about three weeks. Apparently some plugin didn’t like another plugin, resulting in a fatal error.

    I got in touch with my hosting company today and they fixed it in about two minutes. Sorry for the delay, which was entirely my fault (it’s been a busy couple of months)!

    The Tohoku University Library

    The library just got a makeover, and you should see what they did with the Readers Corner

    201410 Readers Corner

    I am so grateful to the library staff for their support and encouragement. They’ve been on board with our reading program for the last five years, and I am so proud that I was able to contribute to this project.

    This is the fifth iteration of the Readers Corner, which is the library’s collection of graded and leveled readers, and I think this is the best one yet. Classes start today, and the newly refurbished library opens for business for the first time.

    201410 Readers corner 3

    The Readers Corner is surrounded by well-lit seating and study areas, making it easy to read books there (useful for students trying to power through the lowest level readers, which aren’t really worth borrowing as they can be read in 5-10 minutes).

    201410 Readers corner 2

    The inside bookshelf, with higher level books.

    This might be the best thing I have accomplished here at Tohoku University, providing the push to get this started. A great start to the second semester :)

    The Tohoku University Library can be used by the general public after registering. Please come and check out our English materials if you are interested. Drop me a line, and I’ll be happy to show you around.

    Time to leave?

    How do you know?

    clock 450

    A recent series of events has started me thinking. On Friday, we had a meeting at work to talk about possibilities for promotion and tenure. On Saturday, I had a talk with my wife about it, and that evening, I received a very timely email.

    The short version of the meeting is that I may be eligible for promotion and tenure in three years, at my employer’s convenience. This is kind of disappointing, as I was expecting that to be the case this year.

    The conversation with my wife was even more unexpected, as she ended up saying ‘if they aren’t going to give you a proper job, maybe it’s time to look for one elsewhere, even if that means a move’.

    The email is pretty self-explanatory.

    The two combined really started me thinking. I’ve been pretty happy at work so far, and it’s been an interesting and satisfying six years (normally I get bored after three!). However, I don’t know if I am going to learn all that much going forward, particularly without being promoted. Three years of the same doesn’t seem that attractive…

    I’ll have a chat with a sympathetic senior colleague next week and see what he says. Also, if you know of any interesting job opportunities from April 2016 please let me know about them :)

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