(lack of) Confidence

kitten and lion

I seem to spend my life veering between two extremes: certainty and self-doubt.

On the whole I am a fairly positive person, and tend to be optimistic about the future. I work hard, and think about my classes with a view to improving them.

Most of the time, I am fairly confident about my skills as a teacher here in Japan (brief aside: I think some teaching skills are universal, and some context-specific -future blog post perhaps?).

However, from time to time I have a bad class, or I’m tired, and I feel like I’m just going through the motions. Or I see, hear about, or meet an amazing teacher who is doing great things with their students. Or I think about what I could be doing, and how far I’m falling short. And then I feel like maybe I should do something else.

I’m not sure how to square this circle. Perhaps on the whole it’s a positive thing, serving to keep me from getting complacent, keep me striving to improve.

Or it could be a sign that my heart isn’t completely in this teaching thing.

Anyone else feel that they’re not good enough?

Seth Godin on education

Seth Godin’s TED talk on education is really interesting.

Very similar to Ken Robinson’s talks, eh?

If you like his style check this one out: this is broken.

Do Japanese Elementary Schools Need More English?


Saw this article in the Asahi newspaper online yesterday. Basically, the government is leaning towards making English an official subject (it isn’t one at the moment, just an extra set of activities), which would mean more classes, and lowering the age at which students start learning English.

Great. This is yet another good idea that is going to be executed horribly.

You know what I would like to see in elementary school.

You know that Japan’s English teachers are on the whole undertrained and not proficient in English (only 20% of JHS and 35% of SHS English teachers have reasonable English qualifications).

I think there should be English classes in elementary school, but they need to be well-planned and implemented by teachers who know how to teach and are proficient in English. Sadly I don’t think we’re going to see either of those…

Am I being too pessimistic?


Student Reactions to Extensive Reading (Pan-SIG 2013)

I was at the Pan-SIG conference this weekend, held in Nagoya (the excellent Nanzan University hosted the event). This is the video of my presentation (a little shorter than usual):


Thanks to everyone who attended.

JALT Pan-SIG 2013 @ Nanzan University in Nagoya: May 18-19


I’ll be attending and presenting at one of my favourite conferences, the JALT Pan-SIG, this weekend.

I love the pan-SIG because it is a gathering of teachers that belong to special-interest groups (the SIGs) that focus on things they are passionate about. The quality of the presentations and interactions at pan-SIG is always very high, and I always come away with new information, techniques, and memories.

I’ll be presenting on Saturday at 14:30, on student reactions to extensive reading classes.

The full schedule is here.

Hope to see a lot of you there!

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