Please tell us a few things about yourself and your involvement in education.
I initially trained as a high school teacher before moving into tertiary education in the field of ESOL. Although most of my teaching has been in New Zealand, I have also taught briefly in Indonesia, Japan and UK, and more long term in China, North Korea and, currently Istanbul, Turkey.
What attracted you to the field of education?
I guess like most idealistic young people I thought I could change the world! I am not sure that I have managed to do that, but I like to think I have made some small differences in some places.
Which are some of the most memorable highlights of your career in education?
Life as a teacher has many memorable moments, so it is difficult to identify particular highlights. I guess the most unusual period would be the time I spent in North Korea, because so few have actually been able to do this. It was a privilege to be able to view the situation from both sides, and to realize that people are people wherever they are.
Which aspects of your work do you enjoy the most?
I guess it would have to be working with motivated students. No doubt we all have our share of those who are only interested in doing the minimum to just scrape through their qualification, who use terms like “boring”, and who make you wonder why they are wasting their time and money doing something in which they appear to have absolutely no interest. But then there are also the delightful ones who work hard and produce much more than the minimum required and who really seem to learn something, even to teach you things you didn’t know!
What are you working on now?
In addition to a number of articles, I have been working with Rebecca Oxford to co-edit a special strategies edition of “System” due in April. And also with Ying Tang (Rose) to produce a book on strategy instruction aimed at the Chinese market.
What are your professional plans for the future?
I achieved Associate Professor status in 2013. Professor would be nice!
What should your audience expect to learn during the plenary session
at the 21st TESOL Macedonia-Thrace Northern Greece Annual International
I would like the audience to develop an awareness of the motivating power of stories, and how this can be used to engage attention and promote language, including vocabulary, grammar and skills.
What are the three words that sum up your session?
Fun, motivation, attention
One of your books has the title ‘Lessons from Good Language
Learners’. Over the course of your career, what three most important
things have you learned from good language learners?
They are motivated
They use strategies
They work hard
Thank you very much,
for TESOL Macedonia Thrace Northern Greece