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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m getting ready to move, hopefully in a month or so.

I took a 130-hour TESOL certificate course from SIT/Global. I would have preferred to take a Cambridge course as they seem to enjoy more recognition, but they’re only offered in about six cities in the States, none of which were convenient. Still, I found the course a valuable experience. I was fortunate to take a class taught by the founders. We also had two teachers in training and only four students, giving us a 1:1 ratio. I knew going in that SIT puts a lot of emphasis on self-reflection. I expected perhaps an extra 20%, but it seemed more like 383%, although I can only speculate on the basis of reviewing the Cambridge textbook. But teaching without reflection is like eating a rack of ribs without belching.

One frustration with the course was their reliance on large posters constructed from sheets of foolscap. We had intelligent classrooms at DePaul with video projectors that we were never taught to use, not that I expect to always have every imaginable resource at my disposal. I’m more of a PowerPoint sort of guy.

I found a website that allows teachers to exchange PowerPoint presentations, lesson plans, worksheets and such. A lot of good stuff and why re-invent the wheel when you can simply adapt an existing resource to your purposes? Love the site, but don’t care much for the webmaster’s business plan. They insist you download their toolbar to access the site and I hate cluttering my workspace. At home I have dual monitors, but on the road I’ll be working with a 15½” laptop. I couldn’t download the toolbar onto an old computer I rarely use, which runs on Windows 97 and I couldn’t download it onto a virtual machine on my PowerBook Pro running under Fusion with Windows 7. I finally downloaded it onto a browser that I don’t use very often. Now I’ll only use that browser for this site.

I picked up an Aaxa P2 pico projector to display PowerPoint presentations and whatever other AV materials I may need. I was waiting for the Microvision Show WX or some new product out of CES 2010. But the Microvision unit isn’t very bright. They advertise 10 lumens, but reviewers measure it at only 8, about a quarter the brightness of the P2. The P2 itself is pretty small, about the size of three iPhones stacked together (and their iPhone adapter cable doesn’t work with the 3GS model), but by the time you pack up the external battery pack, two separate AC adapters (12v for the projector, 15v for the battery), a 15’ VGA cable, a DVI/VGA adapter and a compact tripod to replace the furnished tabletop model, you have about 1 kg of gear that occupies the volume of a cigar box plus a 1 kg tripod. All of which could be replaced by a couple of sheets of foolscap and a colored marker.

My other frustration with the TESOL course is that the culture and rules of the game often encouraged us to dummy down the lessons to ensure the illusion of success. We started out with maybe thirty-five students of widely varying skills whose individual skills at reading, writing, speaking and listening also varied widely. Imagine a class that mixed students from the first six elementary grades. There weren’t enough student teachers to split the ESL students into different classes by ability. If we taught a lesson at a fifth-grade level, we would lose some students, need to repeat more material and run the risk of not completing our lesson plan. But if we taught at a second-grade level, most of the students would review material they already knew, the class would go smoothly and we would seem to meet our teaching objectives. But the more capable students quickly became bored and dropped out.

Enough of a rant for today.

Gino
 
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