Too comfortable? The need for challenge and stress.

hamster sleepy

Happy New Year! Yesterday someone told me that it’s okay to say that in English until the end of January, and I’ve been here too long to be able to tell if that is true or not.

I did a public lecture yesterday in Sendai about language learning. It was a fairly new topic for me, an unknown audience, a lot of time (90 minutes), and just to round things off, it was all in Japanese.

For the first time in quite a while (I think that last time was when I did a plenary in Vietnam) I was stressed to the point of discomfort. I procrastinated horribly, only really starting to get ready in a concrete form on Thursday and being unpleasant to everyone around me as the deadline ticked closer.

Then of course, the lecture went really well, people seemed happy, and I felt great (as well as very tired).

This made me think a bit. It seems to confirm that the best opportunities for growth are the things that are scary or put you under stress. Yesterday’s talk allowed me to take a bunch of concepts I had been thinking about and put them together into a (hopefully) coherent presentation.

Perhaps my life is becoming a bit too comfortable, and this may be one reason why I feel I am hurtling into a mid-life zone of mediocrity. Perhaps I need to seek out more of these slightly challenging experiences in order to keep growing. Something to think about.

Writing this post also reminded me that I haven’t done my usual roundup of goals and achievements for last year and this year. I will post that sometime next week. Maybe.


20 Dec 2015, 11:57am


Upcoming presentations


Just a quick update on some upcoming presentations. I’ll be speaking in Sendai on personal finance in January, then again on children’s reading programs in February and March (Sendai and Omiya). More details nearer the time, but for now here are the dates:

January 31st, Sendai 14:00-17:00, Personal Finance 101 at Sendai JALT. This is a RetireJapan workshop.

February 14th, Sendai 10:30-11:20, Starting a Reading Program for Young Learners at Oxford Teaching Workshop Series.

March 6th, Omiya 11:40-12:30, Starting a Reading Program for Young Learners at Oxford Teaching Workshop Series.

Hope to see some of you there!

22 Nov 2015, 1:51pm

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PRESENTATION: Sendai ETJ December 6th 11:15

Teaching Presenting Skills

hands gesturing

I’m very happy to announce that I will be doing a session on ‘Teaching Presentation Skills’ at the Tohoku ETJ Expo on December 6th. You can see the full schedule here, and register to attend at this page.

I’m very much looking forward to the event and have a few presentations I definitely want to see.

My own presentation will provide a fast-moving list of concepts and tips for teaching presenting skills. Most suitable for teachers at high schools and universities. Hope to see you there!

14 Jun 2015, 8:56am
conference presentations


PRESENTATION 6th Annual Shikoku JALT Conference


I had a great time at the Shikoku JALT Conference in Tokushima yesterday. Great crowd, some interesting presentations, and a nice dinner to finish off.

As promised, here are the slides from my talk: 1506 JALT Shikoku

Hope to make it back down here sometime for a bike tour of the island!

PRESENTATION 6th Annual Shikoku JALT Conference -Tokushima

hands gesturing

I’ll be giving a presentation tomorrow at the Annual Shikoku JALT Conference in Tokushima. Details are here.

My presentation is at 13:50 in room 302, on Integrating Presenting Skills into the Classroom. Very meta indeed.

Hope to see some of you there.

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