English Language Teaching Experience

Southern Illinois University Carbondale, 2015-2017

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What has the experience taught me about teaching?

More than any of my other experiences before, I have had a sharper focus on the extent to which curriculum meets the learners’ needs.  As curriculum coordinator, teaching is only a part of my job and I wear my coordinator hat in the classroom, which means I have a more critical perspective on how the curriculum serves the learning process as I teach.  During my first year, I was not permitted to make any changes to the curriculum, so it was very challenging for me to implement activities or exams that needed improvement.  It has helped me empathize with teachers who may feel powerless in the decision-making process of a program’s curriculum.

How has the experience influenced my research interests?

As teacher and curriculum coordinator, every class I teach spawns a plethora of research questions related to pedagogy and learning.  For example, during my first year, I was fascinated by the different levels of research literacy and of understanding research strategies influenced course design and discussions about teaching advanced reading skills. In my second year, I identified a need for extensive reading to be integrated into the curriculum. After a reviewing the literature on extensive reading, I worked with the curriculum committee to design an extensive reading program. Because I am fascinated by how research transforms into practice, I conducted a study on this design process and the paper is now currently under review. This has influenced my research agenda in that I would like to further investigate the extent to which practical implications of English language learning research are addressed and implemented in schools.

International University of Japan, 2011

IUJ

What has the experience taught me about teaching?

At IUJ, I only taught one course in their summer intensive English program.  Here I learned how to work with a team of teachers who taught the same content to their own classes.  This experience differed from my teacher training experience at Sookmyung Women’s University because we were not required to use the same teaching approach or methodology.  Instead we had to pace ourselves to cover the same content at roughly the same time to meet the same learning outcomes.  This gave me the opportunity to investigate my own teaching philosophy and approach as they seemed to be the only variables I could control that differed between my class and the others.

How has the experience influenced my research interests?

I was fortunate to have this experience a year after I had chosen my dissertation topic because I could gain first-hand experience of the sojourning English language teaching experience.  Although this context was not ideal because most of my colleagues could not really be classified as sojourners, I had the opportunity to test my interview questions for my dissertation.  Many of my colleagues were interested in my dissertation topic and my discussions with them helped guide my research proposal.

University of Wisconsin at La Crosse, 2007 – 2009

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What has the experience taught me about teaching?

After several years of being a teacher trainer in South Korea and Russia, I returned to the United States to learn how the English language teaching and learning experience in the United States differed from the experience overseas.  I learned so much that I was compelled to publish my first semester’s experience in the periodical English Teaching Professional.  To summarize, this experience was my first where I taught students from different countries/cultures in the same classroom.

How has the experience influenced my research interests?

This experience continues to influence my current research interest in the adjustment process of English language teachers, particularly sojourning ELTs who return from overseas to teach in their home country.  However, this experience has influenced my secondary research interest in multiliteracies.  The growth of online resources for reading and writing courses has both helped and hindered the language learning process, and I am interested in how language teachers can help their students use information and communication technology to develop their language and critical thinking skills.

Nova Group, 1998 – 2001

What has the experience taught me about teaching?

This was my first full-time teaching position, so it taught me a lot.  Although Nova did not use the terms, the teaching method that it required all instructors to use was a hybrid of the Audio-Lingual Method and the Direct Method with an emphasis on role plays for beginning and intermediate speakers of English, who made up a large majority of the students.  After a year of using Nova’s 10-step method, I learned the benefits and disadvantages of using a teaching method for every student and every class.  At the end of my 2.5 years at Nova, I found the secret to my success as a teacher there was meeting the students’ needs, which now seems like common sense.

How has the experience influenced my research interests?

This was my first time being a sojourning English language teacher.  Coming straight out of a liberal arts college experience, I was very interested in my own professional development, which then I perceived as adjusting to the “real world” as opposed to the life of a student.  I observed my colleagues at Nova to compare and contrast my own professional development, and that is where I became keenly interested in the various pathways to professional development and promotion, which were not necessarily one and the same.  After Nova, I discovered that there really was not much literature on the experiences of new teachings teaching abroad in the private sector.  This discovery inspired me to find ways of helping people like me find pathways to professional development while they are teaching abroad.

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