2014 Awards

Some Good News

This year the ER@TU (extensive reading at Tohoku University) program was recognized by the university: we were given two prizes for education.

In January we received a prize for Excellence in General Education.

General Education Prize
Receiving the award

Last week at the graduation ceremony we received the President’s Prize for Excellence in Education.

Before the ceremony
 Before the ceremony

 The stage
The stage

Presidents Prize
Receiving the award

The certificate

It was actually a bit nerve-wracking to be up on stage in front of so many people (I think there were over 5,000 in the audience).

However, I was really pleased that the program has been noticed by the university. Many people have worked hard to make it a success (none more than my partner in crime Daniel Eichhorst!), and it is a tribute to the efforts of teachers, the kyomuka, the library, and administrators, not to mention the thousands of students who have passed through our ER classes. I hope this will make it easier to continue developing and improving the program.

VIDEO Oxford Teaching Workshop Series, Sendai 2015

Oxford Reading Tree

I really enjoyed presenting at the Sendai Oxford Teaching Workshop Series last Sunday. It was great to present on home ground, and we had a fantastic audience on the day.

My presentation was “Reading: the key 21st Century skill” and made the following points:

  1. reading is very important, and should be part of all language courses
  2. non-fiction is often neglected, but many learners prefer it and it is sometimes easier to understand
  3. OUP has a nice range of non-fiction readers
  4. how to include reading practice in your classes
  5. how to design an extensive reading program

You can see the full presentation below:

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments :)

REVIEW: Lifer, How to be a Bald Middle-aged Conversation Teacher in Japan


I’m really pleased to kick off 2015 proper with a review of Lifer: How to Be a Bald Middle-Aged English Conversation Teacher in Japan. Based on the blog of the same name, it is written by the teacher behind Good and Bad Japan, a whimsical look at daily life here.

I think Carl must be a bit like me, because I suggested he turn his hilarious blog into an ebook years ago, and it’s only just come out :)

Lifer is probably the best book I have read about teaching English in Japan. Most of the time I could imagine that he was writing about my life, as I have lived many of the scenes in the book. A lot of the time it is laugh-out-loud funny, but the best thing about it is the author’s love of Japan and teaching that shows through the cracks in the anecdotes.

Please buy a copy immediately if you teach English in Japan or are considering doing so -not only will you enjoy it immensely and probably learn some things, but if it does well enough Carl may even get around to writing a sequel.

6 Jan 2015, 11:27am

leave a comment

  • Welcome to 2015


    Looking ahead to 2015

    I have no idea what will happen in 2015. Unexpected events, good or bad, are almost guaranteed. I’m hoping there will be more good than bad this year.

    Also, I have some idea of what I want to accomplish. Here are my educational goals for 2015.

    1. University

    My main goal here is to write the second edition of our extensive reading manual. Beyond that I would like to continue improving my classes and supporting other teachers in the ER@TU program.

    2. Cambridge

    The main goal here is rolling out the new program Cambridge 2015, along with the SEG-inspired Cambridge Academy. This is on track and looking good so far.

    3. Independent

    I would like to write and publish some more ebooks. I also plan to work on my Retire Japan project.

    I also have personal (mainly to lose weight) and financial (to continue saving and investing) goals. How about you? Any projects or resolutions for 2015?

    30 Dec 2014, 2:57pm

    leave a comment

  • More 2014 retrospection

    WordPress puts together quite a nice ‘Your Blog in 2014′ package. You can see the one for sendaiben.org here:

    Year in 2014

    Next up, goals for 2015.

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • %d bloggers like this: