Teaching English is Fun!

This video (4.5 min­utes) records one of my classes of nurs­ing stu­dents in Zhengzhou, Henan, China in 2010.


The secret key to teach­ing well is to learn from stu­dents, and odd as it seems, the stu­dents who learn best are nearly always those who are most eager to teach. Some­how, swap­ping ideas keeps the uni­verse in bal­ance. Nowhere is this more true than in lan­guage teach­ing and lan­guage learn­ing. Human lan­guage that is worth know­ing about is always an exchange. It can be so inter­est­ing. We all like to share fun, and nearly all of us hate being treated like zom­bies. When a teacher tells me she is bored with teach­ing, I know that she is a bur­den to her stu­dents and a fool to her­self. Life is so short, and there are so many won­der­ful things to find out about. Since 1976, in seven coun­tries and every imag­in­able kind of set­ting I have taught Eng­lish lan­guage and lin­guis­tics, some­times directly and some­times to those learn­ing to teach. That has been a priv­i­lege and a fas­ci­nat­ing jour­ney, by no means com­plete. I see myself as a wan­der­ing scholar, an ancient tra­di­tion that keeps one forever young.

My doc­toral dis­ser­ta­tion on lan­guage teach­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity can be seen at http://thormay.net/lxesl/lxtangle_abstract.html.

Thor May,
thor­may AT yahoo.com
Zhengzhou, Henan Province, China
June 2010

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