The Line Between Hare-Brained and Useful

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I’ve had this post going on in my head for a while and probably the catalyst for getting it out of my head and into pixels is Sandy Millin’s Incomplete Thoughts post.
I was having a chat with a colleague yesterday and he said, “I don’t know where you get the time for all your ideas.”
“It’s a massive pain in the arse,” I replied, “because I can’t concentrate on other things when something pops up.”
I don’t know if this leads to a condition of not following things through properly, or even just dilettantism but a few things that have got me going all over the internet are:

Open Badges for Accreditation of Some Kind

This blog being about development (ostensibly, though probably more my own), actually having evidence-based accreditation for continuing professional development (CPD) would be a good thing in a landscape of expensive qualifications, cheap qualifications that mean nothing (20-hour internet TEFL courses) and absolutely nothing at all. ITDi provides this, with certificates available and whatnot, too. However, something that can also contribute to teacher-centred, teacher-led teacher development has bugged me for too long. Open Badges seem to sort if fill a gap in that people sit in webinars for certificates but there’s no real proof that they didn’t just leave the laptop on and play games on their phone. How about an open-peer-reviewed bit of writing that helps contribute to the community? Keep your eyes open at #TBLTChat.

Modular Materials

Again, with my Task-Based hat on (which is a beautiful purple crushed-velvet and Kevlar deerstalker), and my ‘I hate coursebooks‘ T-shirt on, how better to address a gap in materials availability than to actually get cracking and make some through refining them. Think less of a Minimum Viable Product than a ‘actually see if students react positively’ approach.

A Co-Op (ad)Venture

I am still investigating the possibility of sorting out a Tokyo/Kawasaki/Yokohama-based co-op of language teachers. Yes, inspired by Serveis Linguistics Barcelona. Viability? Time, Marc? It’s more the client liason that’s a problem but still something I’m looking into. Sometime in 2047.

10 Replies to “The Line Between Hare-Brained and Useful”

  1. I like the last idea, but Tokyo-Kawasaki-Yokohama is like 50% of all language teachers in Japan, is it not? That said, the industry certainly needs organizations like this from a quality-assurance perspective. All you need is enough teachers and students who care about quality and can agree on its definition.

    1. This is precisely my problem but there needs to be something to show that good working conditions and CPD are not magical unicorns hiding in the forests. Is it market saturation that’s making it hard or just the quantum of energy needed to launch?

      1. Possibly also the fact that people in Japan long enough to start caring about quality have also already proven to themselves that they can survive without it?

        1. Possibly, yes. I hope not, but yes. This riff on quality will end up with me rereading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance again.

          1. I hadn’t but now have. /brùà/. Will think hard about such principles. One of pay is the area in which I am unflinching and say ¥3000/hr minimum if not including planning/preparation/marking time. And that is for newbs. Not shilling books is another. Needs (and wants) analysis (perhaps linked to out-of-class work for anything too out there). For starters. Call me Utopia Man.

  2. Hi Marc,
    Glad to be the catalyst for this post.
    And I’m so glad I’m not the only one who has this problem…
    “It’s a massive pain in the arse,” I replied, “because I can’t concentrate on other things when something pops up.” 🙂
    Good luck with following through on those thoughts!

  3. Thanks for the comment.
    I like JALT a lot but they are only for people in Japan. Also, the Task-Based Learning SIG is very academic and their journals are not open to all.

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