Sunday, January 30, 2005

Models of teacher learning [quoting Ur, 1996]

P5 Ur, 1996. A Course in Language Teaching, UK: Cambridge

Various models of teacher learning have been suggested; the three main ones, as described in Wallace (1993) are as follows:

1. The craft model
The trainee [teacher student] learns from the example of a ‘master teacher’, whom he/she observes and imitates.

2. The applied science model

The trainee studies theoretical course in applied linguistics and other related subjects, which are then, through the construction of an appropriate methodology, applied to classroom practice.

3. The reflective model

The trainee teaches or observes lessons; or recalls past experience, then reflects alone or in discussion with others, in order to work out theories about teaching; then tries these out again in practice. Such a cycle aims for continuous improvement and the development of personal theories of action (see Schon, 1983)

Which is likely to be most effective? Or, how do teachers learn most effectively?

What’s your opinion on this?


Friday, January 28, 2005

working scenario of EFL teachers in buxibans: a must read

Hello All,

Hmm, awfully quiet...[in Taiwanese EFL Teachers' Yahoogroups list]

Anyway, hopefully this message [from Peggy] would spark the fire. I'm forwarding to you her message [with her permission, of course] because I think she has given me an insight of what's it like working in buxibans. My comments are inserted and put in between line breaks.

Dear Aiden,
I just post a message on the board. I agree with your opinion about buxiban. In fact, the purpose that I would like to held this conference is for the teachers in buxiban, not really for the teachers in elementary or primary schools. For the teachers working in buxiban, they are like working in the private company. The boss seldom gave them training lessons ,especially they like to hire the native speakers to teach.
Aiden asks:

How many of you here on this list receive training sessions from your school? You don't need to name your school. How often do you get training sessions? If no, what do you think is the reason for not providing training sessions?
Peggy wrote:

Most of the teachers in big chain buxiban are from American or Canada. The Chinese teachers can only assist them. But it doesn't mean they don't have the potential to teach. As I know, most of them major in English or forignal language. But it's the tendency to keep the native speakers to do the main teaching now. I think it's not really a bad thing for them, coz it will push them to improve their listening and oral ability.

Aiden asks:

Does it matter to you whether you're not given any teaching job assignments even if your job description states "English teacher"?
Peggy wrote:

Some of them left buxiban and started up their own after 3 or 5 years.

Aiden asks:

Do you see yourselves 2-3 years from now, putting up your own language school? Yes, no, maybe? If you do, I'll be your number one supporter ;-)
Peggy wrote:

Therefore, I found a very interesting phenomenon. The bigger size buxiban will have more native speaker teachers. The smaller size buxiban will have more Chinese teachers. But it doesn't mean the bigger one is better than the smaller one. For the small size buxiban, the teacher's personal style is a very important factor to decide the quantity of the students. I found, the small size buxiban, they are more creative and would like to try any new teaching idea. It's a lot of fun to work with them. They usually gave me many new ideas and questions to think about.
Most of them would like to learn profession skills in teaching.

Aiden says:

I agree, that's why you're here.

Peggy wrote:

But there is a difficulty for them, their working time is too long. Almost from 12:00pm to 10:00pm. For the bigger size ones, they might have 2 days off. But for most of the buxiban, they work 6 days a week. If I were them, I would feel exhausted after work. When I release this news to my customers, lot of them want to join. But they have to ask their boss coz it's still their working time. Luckily, since it's free, so some of the bosses just let them come.
Aiden says:

This comment was similar to what Aaron said in his message. Buxiban teachers are too busy, too exhausted, over-worked yet underpaid [?] Should any of these be a stumbling block for your learning and professional advancement? Should you give yourselves a little nudge and say, 'It's darn hard, but I've gotta do it for myself'
Peggy wrote:

I will put ur url on my website. But I need to think how and where to put it on the website. You are doing a very interesting project. Frankly speaking, I prefer work with the teachers in buxiban to the teachers in public schools. It's more fun and they are really more creative.
Thanks for inviting me to join your group. It's nice to learn more even I am not interested in teaching at all. haha..
BTW, I have tried the reading group for around one year. It's doing pretty good. We have 3 different groups in my store on Saturday now. We didn't teach but just reading and share our opinion together. It's not easy at first for the kids who are are around 12 or 13 years old. But it's amazing that they are doing better now. Their parents are happy to see their kids to read the books automatically.
But I will close down the story-telling even in my store from this week. My store is too samll and I don't like to tell the story for the same kids every week. Therefore, I decide to go to the schools to tell the story for 30 kids instead of 3 or 4 kids.

It's like the experiments for me and I am having fun.
I will go to the group often to learn from you guys in the future.

Best regards


Well, I hope you could tell me what you think. I call the attention of my subject pool [or those who are participating in my research] to start the discussion rolling.



Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Building Spelling and Pronunciation Through Games and Activities

To those who can't attend Cambridge Day 2005, here's another great opportunity that I think should not be missed [see below]. Let me know if you're going to attend. You can just print this invitation and fax it to them.


Topic:Building Spelling and Pronunciation Through Games and Activities

講師:Todd Hess






時 間:2004/02/23(三) 1:30PM~4:30PM
地 點:福東國小 高雄市苓雅區福德三路96號 TEL:07-7510048 E xt 150




報名地點:佩績的店 (07-3135109,傳真:07-3135120)





Thanks for your continuing support. Hope we all could enjoy reading as we can.


Peggy Bookstore ( 佩績的店 )
No. 120, Chende St., Sanmin District,
Kaohsiung, Taiwan 807, R.O.C.
TEL: 886-7-3135109 FAX:886-7-3135120

Cambridge Day 2005

Jack Richards will be in Taiwan in March to hold a 2-day conference. One in Taipei and the other in Kaohsiung. I'll be attending the one in Kaohsiung. I am also taking this opportunity to invite other teachers who are participating in my research to join this conference. Unfortunately, according to Joy Chiu, this conference is limited to teachers of higher education. It's a pity, really. I was hoping that these teachers could reflect on their experience and write something about it on their blog. Well, I guess, I will have to do that for them [sigh].

Cambridge Day 2005

Joy Chou's blog

One of the teachers who is participating in my research, Joy Chou, has already created her blog! This is good news. It's a small step but at least we're going somewhere.

She raised an important issue about student's motivation. I left her a message but I think I'll try to scout some articles online and will forward it to her.


Judith's Comments

I gave my supervisor, Judith Lamie, an update of my research, and here's what she said: "This is all looking good."

Short? Yes, but promising;-)

Anyway, at least it's a moral booster, and that's what I exactly need at this point.


Why Blog?

A major part of my research is about teachers engaging in reflective teaching. I believe that we could only achieve professional development if we are critical about our teaching. The topics and activities that I have lined up are exploratory in nature, for example, creating and maintaining your online journal, observation, discussion and action research can be carried out individually, thus promoting reflection, self-inquiry and self-evaluation. In the old days, teachers record their activities and reflections by keeping a notebook or a diary. Now, thanks to the Internet, writing your reflections is a whole lot easier. The first thing that you need to do is to create your weblog or blog for short. A blog is an online journal, a notepad for your thoughts, for scribbling down the activities that you plan to do, what you do, and what you have done. It would serve you good if you maintain your blogs regularly and you could do this by posting an entry once or twice a week. Daily entries would be ideal.

There are many blog providers online, but I prefer because it is user friendly. I have a few favorite blog sites that I recommend you to visit. These are blogs created by teachers and I want you to take note of how they use it as a tool to help them in their teaching, learning and research [of their classroom].

Look at:

Renata Suzuki’s blog
Deivis Pothin’s blog
Barbara Dieu’s blog
My blog for this research

It’s your turn, Joy Chiu, April, Anna and those who will participate in my research, you need to create yourown blog. To do this, please go to and create an account. Please try to remember your password.

A step-by-step procedure with screenshots [photos] are available here:

To Amei [or Mei] since you are already researching your classroom and have aldready created your blog, you DO NOT need to create another one.

Joy Chou, you need to create a new blog, because your blog that you have is for your research writing which is focused not focused on your teaching.

Those who will be attending Cambridge 2005 you definitely need to create a blog.

Once you have done so, could you please write back to the list and report to us your blog’s url.

Help me help you go through this process.

Happy blogging everyone!


A must read: Renata's article on Blogs

Diaries as introspective research tools: From Ashton-Warner to Blogs
by Renata Suzuki
Economics English Instructor, Sophia University, Japan

This article reports on a study of the usefulness of a diary as a research tool conducted as a part of a Masters degree program in TEFL/TESL at Birmingham University, UK. The study analysed the efficacy of using blogs as a research tool compared to diaries, using the example of research in teacher use of motivation strategies, and found that blogs offer various possible advantages in the domain of action research.


This is a well-written article that provides a brief overview of the theories behind blogs and journal writing.

I suggest that you read it. We will use this article to kick off our discussion on blogs.

Happy reading!


Sunday, January 23, 2005

Joy Chiu is in the group :-)

Hi Joy,

Thank you so much! This completes my group :-) The project will be finished before September, don't worry. With regards to videotaping your classes, I could write a formal letter to your employer to inform her that the videorecording sessions would only capture your teaching and classroom management skills, and will not be used against the school.

I hope, Joy, that by participating in this research, you would learn something, be it teaching skills or research skills, and that you'd be able to apply them in your future career endeavors.

OK, let's go down to business.

First things first. You need to join the Taiwanese EFL teachers Yahoogroups at You will receive an invitation from me later. It is a discussion group where I'd be communicating to you. Whatever you send out to the list will be received by the members of this group.

Second, once you've joined successfully, kindly give a brief introduction of yourself. You could also upload a photo in our photosection.

Third, we will attend Cambridge Day 2005, it is a conference [free but with limited seats] to be held on March 6, Sun in Kaohsiung. It's a whole day event, 9:30 am - 4 pm, the speakers are well known in the ELT industry, Jack Richards and Richard Walker.

Your attendance to this conference is highly valuable.

This is it for now.

Thank you once again and I look forward to seeing you online.

Aiden Yeh

Chiu Joy wrote:
Dear Aiden,

Thank you for inviting me to participate in your project.
I will be glad to help. However, I have to first check with my
boss about videotaping classes. I will talk to her on Monday
and let you know a.s.a.p.

PS. I will go to the UK in mid-September to do my MA studies.
Do you think this is going to be a problem? (Will the project finish
before I have to leave?)

Best Regards,

Friday, January 21, 2005

Cambridge Day 2005

Dear April and all,

Cambridge Day 2005 is a teacher training event sponsored by Cambridge University Press. It's going to be held in Kaohsiung on March 6, Sunday, from 9:30am-4pm. Topics to be discussed are:
Language teaching in Changing
Strategies and Techniques for reading success
Current trends in communicative teaching materials
Harnessing the power of multimedia to motivate students and enhance learning.

All sessions are free of charge but limited seating is available.
If you're interested in attending, let me know and I'll send in your registration. I plan to attend, so perhaps, we could go together.

There's free lunch by the way ;-)


Re: Something you want to know

Dear April,

Many thanks for your email. I will be passing your message to a group of TESOL experts and we will outline an online session for you. Before we discuss the firs topic of discussion, about the basics of professional development, I'd like to wait for Mei to join our yahoogroups. Mei has agreed to participate in this research also. As you know I need at least 2-3 teachers, I have other teachers who gave me their word but it looks like that I could not count on them. So, I am back to square one which is to look for the third teacher who's willing to participate. Once I locked this in, then I could proceed to the discussion and hands-on activity.

Thanks again, April [is this your name?].

I've noticed that 3 other invited teachers joined our YG but they have not made their brief introductions yet. I hope that they would do so in time.


apriltej122 wrote:
Dearest Aiden: Here are some answers I think you are eager to know. 1. My current working scenario---I have been working at the cram school for a half year since I came back to Kaohsiung. (I graduated last June then I flew to vistit my friend in Boston. That means I started to work at the cram school from last August). My working environment is pretty good.My duty is to cooperate with the foreign teacher. I teach English one hour a day but I need to be in the classroom to deal with the children's problem when the foreign teacher teaches.(The foreign teacher teaches English 2 hours a day in my class) That means the children learn English 3 hours a day. I think I am very lucky because the foreigner who I cooperated is from "Hess". He has been trained to teach English for a period of time in Taipei. I don't need to worry about his preparation or teaching methods before the class.I learned a lot of things(e.g games , phonics, teaching story....) from him. Although I abandned this job in favor of another, I still contact with him.... 2. The teaching skill I know---Depending on different children and English level, there are some skills can be used! For example, TPR, games, activities, roll play......but I think the most important thing is to understand each kids personalities and characteristic to develope and apply the skill what we know from the books or experience. 3. The skill I want to learn and improve-- Because I always teach 7-9 years old students, I don't know how to teach higher grade students.4. The poll--- I took the poll already!! 5.What I want to learn--I would like to learn both to improve my own language skills and to learn how to teach these to my students!! Thank you !!

Inviting Aaron to join Taiwanese EFL YG

Dear Aaron,

Welcome to Weblogging Session, being moderated by a colleague of mine, Bee Dieu. My name is Aiden Yeh and I teach at Wen Zao Ursuline College of Foreign Languages. Your message of introduction caught my attention. You said you're on your senior year at Normal University, I wonder if you're teaching English [fulltime or part time at a cram school or buxiban]? The reason why I'm asking is because I'm doing my PhD research [Birmingham] about Teacher Professional Development among Taiwanese Teachers in Buxibans. I'm leading a discussion group at but not much discussion has taken place. I find it difficult sometimes to encourage Taiwanese teachers to talk. Anyway, if you feel like joining then please do so, or if you know of other teachers who may be interested in joining, I'd appreciate if you could pass on the word for me.

Part of my research is to introduce to 3 teachers blogs as part of their professional development and use online discussion tools to discuss issues that matter to them. I have already 2 and am still looking for the 3rd teacher to volunteer to participate in my research for 6 months or less.

I'll stop here but if you wish to know more please do not hesitate to write.

Cheers and happy blogging,

Aiden Yeh
My PhD research blog is at
My Research Writing Class's Blog is at
and my blog for this class is at


Hi Joy,

I was wondering if you could help me. I believe you're aware of my ongoing research; I am now about to proceed to the second step which is a case study. I need to have at least three Taiwanese teachers who would be willing to participate in the teacher professional development sessions that I plan to carry out in the next 6 months. These involve action on the teacher's part, i.e. creating and maintaining online journals, online discussions, observations [I will have to observe [videotape classes- at least for 3 sessions]. I already have two teachers who agreed but I need one more. I don't know when you'll start your MA studies but if you have the time, would you consider partaking in my research? If not, would you please recommend a teacher who would be interested in doing so?

I have also included a letter that I've given to respondents to follow-up on their answers, a general outline of my plan is included.

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.



You are receiving this email because you have indicated on the survey form which I distributed a few months ago that I could contact you to follow up on your answers. I have set-up a yahoogroups for Taiwanese teachers teaching in bu-xi-bans who wish to join in the discussion forum and perhaps participate in online conferences pertaining to teacher’s professional development. The url is at

If you wish to upload your photos, you may do so; just open the Participants photo folder. I have already put mine up.

I have already finished the first stage of my research, distributing questionnaires and collating data. I am now about to embark on to the second stage, design and offer free online teacher training. I will have invited guest speakers who will be joining us [those who agreed to participate] online. These online sessions are synchronous, which means that we are going to meet online on a specified date and time. The chat tool that we are going to use requires the use of microphone and speakers to enable voice discussion. Text discussions are also permitted.

I will also set-up a discussion forum to further discuss relevant issues that you feel should be discussed concerning the working status and professional development of Taiwanese teachers in buxibans.

Your collaboration is deeply appreciated.

Yours truly,

Aiden Yeh

Thursday, January 20, 2005


Great. Would you like to learn these skills for yourself, meaning, would you like to improve your own language skills [all 4] or would you like to learn how to teach these skills to your students hence learning how your students learn? Or both?

Is this clear or am I confusing you?


apriltej122 < wrote:
I would like to learn *Language skills: reading, listening, speaking and writing because I think this topic is related to my job and I am really interested in it!!

Re: invitation to participate in my research

Thank you so much. You're heaven sent:-) You will be in good company, don't worry. OK, first things first.
This way all messages are archived. To post a message, simply write an email to and I will be able to receive your messages. This yahoogroup [or YG for short] is a discussion group. You will also be able to receive other members' postings. Not all of them will participate in my research because I could only monitor 2-3 teachers.
To participate in my planned teacher training activities, you will need to work with me for 6 months or shorter. You and I will be working together and corresponding through emails and chats. My yahooid is aidenyeh. I need to understand your current working scenario [aside from the questionnaire that you already filled in], I need to know the teaching skills that you know and skills that you want to learn more and improve. This way, I could design an online training session with TESOL professionals to help you advance professionally as a teacher and to motivate and inspire you with your teaching.
There is no monetary involve here as your participation is voluntary. The activities are flexible but focused on  your learning needs.
It is also important at this stage to develop camaraderie [friendly working relationship] between us.
All correspondences are archived at our taiwanese yahoogroups and will also be posted on my blog at
Speaking of blogs, you will also be asked to create one. I will show you and guide you on how to create your own blog when you're ready :-)
There's a poll at our YG, did you take it already?
Do you mind if you write a brief self-introduction at our yahoogroups?
Again, thank you so much. Your participation in my research is indeed very much appreciated.

apriltej122 <> wrote:
I would like to participte in your research!!

Do You Yahoo!?
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Ready to go but no case study?

OK, big, big dilemma. I'm ready to start my research but now I'm finding myself in a deep s___t hole. I've got no case study!!! No, I've got Mei, but she's not responding to my emails. That's bad news. I've also written other teachers who [once in my lifetime] have expressed interest in participating in my study. Oh, I just need somebody to talk to, some Taiwanese teachers who are willing to talk. I just don't get it. Anyway, useless to pour my brains out for this. Better read something- a self-help book will do "How to make Taiwanese teachers talk!"


TPD among Taiwanese teachers in buxibans

This is not my first blog. This is actually my 3rd. But in this blog, I will focus and will only talk about my research topic, teacher professional develoment among Taiwanese teachers in teaching bu-xi-bans or supplementaty schools. I am also maintaining a discussion [but nothing has been discussed yet lately] group at My webpage for myesearch is at

I have already received most of the questionnaires that I distributed a few months ago and I'll be collating them,and will start recording all the responses.

For the next six months, I hope to be able to provide online training sessions for the teachers who agreed to participate in my study. I just don't understand why many Taiwanese find it difficult to talk :-{