My Family (Details)

A picture celebrating Mina's 100th day
A picture celebrating Mina's 100th day

Self Introduction: James (Details)

I was born and raised in Boston, Massachussetts. I grew up loving sports and listening to the hair metal bands of the late eighties and early nineties such as Guns N' Roses, Poison, Aerosmith, etc. I still have bad taste in music!

I have been living in Japan since 1997 as a JHS ALT, part time high school teacher, student, lecturer, and associate professor. My one regret is that I never added a more interesting job to my resume such as chef, sushi devilevery boy, or professional dancer. 

I met my wife when I was working in Hokkaido as an ALT and we have three children, aged 10, 4, and 0. My second child was born on my birthday and I like to tell her that she was my birthday present. Being a dad is absolutely exhausting but also very fulfilling. 

My Teaching Philosophy (July 8, 2015) (Details)

I believe that learning is caused by a combination of experience, interaction, and instruction.  A teacher's role is to

  1. Provide the appropriate classroom conditions where students are interested in the content and classroom activities and feel little anxiety.
  2. Classroom learning should provide the right level of challenge with the
  3. Help students learn how to learn. This includes helping students develop strategies,  helping them learn how to work with one another, and encouraging them to analyze their experiences.   
  4. Provide learners with the necessary instruction when the timing is right. 
To accomplish this, I think teachers need to not only have a profound knowledge of their academic areas (English grammar, current events, learning theory, SLA, etc.) but they have to have knowledge of a repertoire of activities that will help students develop their knowledge and skills in English and the know-how to modify these activities in an appropriate way for a specific group of students. 
 

I LOVE the Patriots!!!!

My Development Goals (July 8, 2015) (Details)

Here is what I would like to accomplish in the ETM classes together with the other members.

My ultimate goal is to help ETM members develop into teachers who can independently conduct classes which encourage students to learn English as a means of communication. To accomplish this I should:

1. Provide an environment where ETM Members can learn

  • The ETM experience should have the right mixture of challenge and support for each member to help them grow as teachers and people.

2. Help ETM members learn a repertoire of activities that they can use at ES and JHS

  • Interesting and easy ideas for livening up the class will help ETM members

3. Help ETM members use teaching concepts or theories as a means to analyze their own teaching

  • ETM members can use concepts such as CLT, TBLT, PPP, or theories such as SLA to organize their teaching. They can then use their practical experience to better understand the positive aspects and limitations of the concepts.

4. Help ETM members make sense of their experiences

  • I would like ETM members to look at their experiences from multiple perspectives to understand the true meaning of an experience. This is the purpose of Critical Incident writing. I want teachers to reconsider their previously help beliefs about language learning and teaching. The reason is that some of our beliefs might not be correct. A good teacher is open-minded and willing to change their understanding about language teaching and learning.

5. Help ETM members become excellent users of English!

  • This means I want ETM members to speak English confidently and with good and understandable pronunciation. They need to be able to spontaneously react to students in the classroom. They also need to have superior listening, reading, and writing skills and understand what it takes to develop these skills so that they can show effective learning strategies for students.

6. Talk about global and educational issues.

  • I think good teachers are also interesting people. They have curiosity about the world and about learning. 

My Development Between 2012 ~ 2015

In my development goals, I wrote about the kind of qualities that I want ETM members to develop in my classes. My critical incidents in the teaching experience page show how I have helped teachers develop from 2012 to 2015. I have shifted to a more hands-off approach and try to help student teachers learn from their experience. In terms of ETM goals, I believe that my Subject Matter Knowledge and Pedagogical reasoning skills have changed the most. I am learning more about how student-teachers learn and I am getting better at responding to individual needs.

Critical Incident 1 (2012, Thailand): I discover the drawback of providing step-by step guidance about how to do a class through my experience supervising English Department students in Thailand.  

Critical Incident 2 (2013, Thailand): This year I decide not to provide as much guidance to student-teachers in Thailand. What happens? The classes are worse than they were in 2012. Hmm, what does this mean?

Critical Incident 3 (2014, Thailand): This year I supervise the Puean Program together with Simon Townsend. I notice that he provides a lot of guidance to students. It seems to be very effective for him. However, when I provides student-teachers with advice before going to Thailand about a class that I KNEW would not work, they did not follow it. They taught a bad class but then improved it after the hard experience. I learned that student-teachers need to be ready for the advice for the advice to be effective.

Critical Incident 4 (2014 - 2015, Japan & Myanmar): I realized that overall I have become very hands-off and let teachers make mistakes and learn from them. This is the current state I am at my development, I am trying to support student-teachers in solving their own problems

 

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