This book is for teachers of English Language Learners, ESL, EFL, & ELT. It is dedicated to the students in my EFL class, past, present, and future. I sincerely hope something within these pages will resonate within them and awaken the aspiration to become acquainted with words.
Words have power to do things.
Consequently, words are important in our lives, and we learn their spelling, their pronunciation, their definition, their part of speech, their collocations, their use in a sentence, their etymology, and above all, their friendship…
This book is dedicated to all the students in my writing class, past, present, and future. I sincerely hope something within these pages will resonate within them and awaken the aspiration to become writers who express themselves eloquently and purposefully, to the delight of the author, myself.
Writing is an art form that bestows great rewards upon those who can express themselves well. Art and drawing are exploited in this book, two forms of expression that complement each other well, offering a way in to the writing process.This book contains the basic theoretical and practical knowledge necessary to become a skilled writer.
It is divided into three parts, like any good piece of writing: a beginning, a middle, and an end. Ultimately, however, it is the dedication and determination of the students themselves who will have the final word.
Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He is the Head of the English Department at Colegio Internacional SEK in Santiago, Chile.
He is the Co-Founder and Co-Organiser of EdCamp Santiago, free, participant-driven, democratic, conversation based professional development for teachers, by teachers. EdCamp Santiago 2012 was held at Universidad Mayor in Santiago.
Thomas Jerome Baker
Thomas is also a member of the Advisory Board for the International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association (HETL), where he also serves as a reviewer and as the HETL Ambassador for Chile.
Thomas enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. Thus far, he has written the following genres: romance, historical fiction, autobiographical, sports history/biography, and English Language Teaching. He has published a total of twenty (20) books overall.
The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family, his wife Gabriela, and his son, Thomas Jerome Baker, Jr.
Amazon.com Author Page for Thomas Jerome Baker
Books by Thomas Jerome Baker
Publication Date: March 4, 2012
“An international education must go well beyond the provision of information and is involved in the development of attitudes and values which transcend barriers of race, class, religion, gender or politics.” —International Baccalaureate Organization Subject Guide (1996).
It is my belief that any education that does not unite the nations of the world in a common endeavour is a relic of the past century. A common sense of sharing the responsibility, equally, for the welfare of the planet, globally, is needed more than ever today.
Finally, I can only say one thing: The IB program is a positive way forward for any education system in crisis, any education system that desires quality, any education system that aspires to excellence, any education system that wishes to educate its citizens in the image of the twenty-first century, rather than the past century…
This book is not a biography of Alexis Sanchez. Instead, it seeks to celebrate the excitement, passion, and enjoyment of the game of football that Alexis Sanchez brings to the sport.
The signing of Alexis Sanchez to the best football team in the world, FC Barcelona, was just such a moment. In that sense, it is worth holding in our collective memory of , “The Beautiful Game”…
“Isn’t there a rule of thumb that teachers are supposed to
speak something like a ratio of 20:80? Don’t we call this the
80/20 Rule?” From someplace, somewhere, somehow – that
number is hardwired into my brain.
“Who is responsible for that?”, I wonder. Jeremy Harmer?
Scott Thornbury? Penny Ur? Lindsay Clandfield? Hugh
Dellar? Jim Scrivener? Shelly Terrell? Marisa Constantinides?
My CELTA teacher (what was her name?) (I remember: Lise
Bell, what a great teacher she was.) My DELTA teacher?
(Christine Ng, also a superb teacher)
I got up and looked at the numerous “How to Teach” books on
my bookshelf by these and many more authors. No, no, and
yet no again.
I couldn’t find a specific mention of an 80-20 rule. So I
thought, “That’s strange. There’s something hardwired in my
brain, and it’s apparently something that no one has written
about at any length. At least, not in ELT.”
That’s why this book is necessary, to fill this gap in our knowledge.
This book is autobiographical. It relies on my subjective remembrance. There is a clear delineation between fact and fiction. I have tried to be true, above all, to my own Luxora experience.
Everyone who is a Luxora Panther, with black and gold blood flowing through our veins, will find a bit of their story, told in my autobiographical essays. For this reason, I wish to share with you and thus dedicate this book to all the people of Luxora, my hometown.
As is often the case, there are other people, who although not born or bred in Luxora, Arkansas, will nonetheless hear their own story being told through my voice.
They will see the pictures of my teachers and my sports teams, and rather than see what I see, or hear what I hear, they will instead hear their story.
Luxora, my hometown, is not only my story, but the story of every man, woman and child on Earth who has been nurtured in the small town atmosphere, who has experienced the uniqueness of a place that is timeless, a time that is placeless, and although fades away into our collective memory, is never forgotten.
Luxora, my hometown, is also your hometown. It doesn’t belong to me. Luxora belongs to all of us…
In “Looking For Catarina” you will find two lovers, who are world’s apart. Indeed, they are separated by their worlds. In such instances, one resigns oneself to the realities that govern life, and in time, the memory of the other fades away.
Or grows stronger, with each passing day, each passing moment, and binds one beyond, time, distance, and space itself. Caterina will be loved by one who feels this depth and intensity and love.
Yet will it be enough to save her from her fate?
As you go “Looking For Catarina”, you will be looking for your own redemption, affirming a present love, or resolving a love story that presented impossible obstacles, and you let your love slip away. In this centuries old love story, you reclaim that love, and hold it near and dear to you, day by day, moment by moment, century by century.
I would be remiss in my duties if I did not leave you with a caution: This book is for lovers only. If you be without love, the reading of this book will cause you to go, “Looking for Catarina”, looking for love…
Thank you, one and all, for taking the time to
stop by and visit this blog. You’ve come often,
half a million times. That’s a milestone that
calls for a celebration.
Celebrations are usually joyful, and it’s little
wonder that joy is a shared emotion.
Thank you. Half a million page views. I must be
doing something right, sharing with you on this
Over the course of my teaching career I have learned much from observation and experimentation with my students. I owe an eternal debt of gratitude for their willingness to cooperate with me over the years.
Thank you, dear students!
EFL Teachers: No matter how good a particular resource or lesson may be, in the end, there is no substitute for the teacher’s own judgement about what works and what doesn’t work with your students.. In this spirit, I recommend the activities for teaching the four skills contained within these pages.
Why should we teach our students to debate? Here’s a global answer: “Sooner or later, all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace… If this is to be achieved, man must evole for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation…” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – 1964 Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech
This book is highly practical while addressing the theory underpinning academic writing. It is organized into three parts.
Part One: “Writing for Scholarly Publication”, takes a historical look at Academic Writing to inform contents for an Academic Writing course.
Part Two, “Helping Preservice Teachers” gives an actual course plan used sucessfully by the author.
Part Three, “The Passive Voice Controversy”, demythifies the active voice / passive voice controversy. This is a must have for teachers and students alike.
“”When I write, there is a feeling of necessity, of something that is stronger than myself, that demands that I must write as I write. I have never renounced anything that I’ve written because I’ve been afraid of certain consequences. Nothing intimidates me when I write. I say what I think must be said.” ~ Jacques Derrida
Writing is for me an act of inspiration that is magical. Thirst and hunger fade as the words find their place in my remembrance of you.
Who might you be?
You are here with me.
thy name is Gaby.
Source of all my bravery,
you are my poetry…
Writing, I fear thee not.
Fear of writing,
Neither cold nor hot,
I am writing.
I write for my wife,
Gabriela de Lourdes León Vargas.
I write for my son,
Thomas Jerome Baker, Jr.
No fear of writing,
I am writing…
Publication Date: February 20, 2012
My Dear Friend, Welcome to Chile.
This book shares the personal sentiment of its author, an expat, after having lived the past ten years in Chile.
He says: “I live in Chile, the most beautiful country in the world.”
He continues: “As I say these words, I want you to know that I come from the United States of America, a country that stretches from sea to shining sea, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The USA is indeed a magnificent country, but it isn’t Chile…”
I’m sure there are many countries, all of them great, all of them wonderful. Nonetheless, Chile is the best when it is beauty that we speak of. What makes Chile stand so high above all the rest?
The answer to this question and much more are to be found within the pages of this remarkable collection of personal reflections about Chile, the land and its people, its treasured joys and its ongoing challenges…
Publication Date: February 27, 2012
I am grateful and thankful for all the informal and formal learning opportunities I have had access to through the individual and collective members of my PLN, my Professional Learning Network. Each one of you is indispensable to my learning, and thusly, I treasure all of you, equally. Thank you.
Thanks to the 1,980 members of my LinkedIn network. Through you, I have access to the collective wisdom and knowledge of 12,614,973 people.
Let me spell that out: Twelve million, six hundred fourteen thousand, nine hundred and seventy three people. That’s an awful lot of people to have in a PLN.
Thanks to my Facebook PLN, all 1,985 of you. Yes, Facebook as a PLN. You guys have shared an awful lot of great information with me about education, learning, and teaching. You’ve shared links, videos, conferences, seminars, training opportunities, and current news, for all this, Facebook is the place to look.
Twitter, what can I say about you? There are 1,892 of you. One thousand, eight hundred and ninety two.
Twitter takes persistence when you first begin. No matter how much info you have about Twitter, the early days are difficult, if you’re like most people. But if you’re really keen on being current, up to date, on the cutting edge of what’s new in your profession and in the world, then you must learn to use Twitter.
Let me be brutally honest: as a PLN, LinkedIn is fantastic, Facebook is spectacular, both are most magnificent social media tools, but they are not Twitter. Twitter is the social media I turn to most often. Having said that, again, all three, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn complement each other well, providing me with an iron triangle of knowledge and news.
Thank you, to all the members of my Professional Learning Network. My learning never stops, thanks to you!
Publication Date: February 21, 2012
“Connectivism for EFL Teachers” is the result of reflections, at length, with how I teach. I have learned how to teach by literally sitting at the feet of some of the most respected, talented, and gifted teachers in the ELT profession.
I met these giants, oddly enough, at the end of the world, here in Chile.
They have taught me much, through their words, their writings, and above all, through their example. As a teacher I owe much of who I am to them. Nonetheless, I take complete responsibility for what I have been able to create with my own talent and intellect.
For this reason, I thank my “giants”, anonymously. I seek to emulate their selfless example in my own writing and committment to my profession, English Language Teaching.
With this, I hope to have repaid an enduring debt, and in some small measure, inspired another teacher to do as I do, to seek the heights of great teaching.
Publication Date: February 26, 2012
When I first began my blog, “Profesorbaker’s Blog: A Bit of Everything” http://www.profesorbaker.com I ran across a powerful piece of writing by Karenne Joy Sylvester, called “NNEST’s Can’t Do DOGME: Explode the Myths.
It raised my level of consciousness about this issue, the Native Speaker Myth, from which I have been a beneficiary.
Even today, this issue rarely sees daylight, rarely is the subject of discussion when ELT teachers meet and talk shop, rarely gets any attention. It’s the “black sheep” of the ELT profession.
In my subsequent writings and discussions in a variety of professional forums, it became clear that opinions are varied.
Believe it or not, it has negative consequences for both native and non-native English-speaking teachers.
Within the pages of this book, that fact will be amply evident. Does this book offer any new insights? I believe it does.
And even if I’m wrong, I repay my enduring debt to Karenne Joy Sylvester for having raised my consciousness, if all this book does, is raise your consciousness, dear Reader(s).
However, I am convinced it will do much more than that. I hope you enjoy your story, for I have written this as a story for your enjoyment…
The global search for high-quality education, embedded in high-performing education systems, has taken on mythical proportions, almost resembling the alchemists’ quest to turn common metals into gold.
It is my hope that the present day search for global education, equitable and providing equality of opportunity for all, shall not cease until the “gold” we seek, has been found.
I therefore dedicate this book to all the educators, researchers, parents and students the world over, who strive to achieve this elusive goal,high-quality education for all the citizens of the world.
In this endeavour, it is my belief that the International Baccalaureate merits a closer look, based on their more than 40 year history of delivering consistently excellent results.
I add that all of the reflections and views in this book are mine alone, unless otherwise noted, and can not be attributed to my employer or any other organization I am affiliated with, past or present. For any errors or oversights, I bear the complete responsibility.
Dedicated to all the educators, world-wide, who have participated in an EdCamp.
Go forth, spread the word to the far corners of the Earth, something is happening.
There’s something going on, a R(E)volution in teacher professional development.
It’s called EdCamp….
A conference, that’s not a conference. An “unconference” is a better term. A new paradigm in teacher professional development, a new, creative, innovative way of staying up to date on what matters most to teachers.
As I said, it’s a paradigm shift in teacher professional development. Let me repeat: Paradigm Shift. You can not afford to not read this book, unless you are already happy with your current ways of having professional development done to you…
Publication Date: March 5, 2012
“The quality of an education system can never exceed the quality of its teachers”. – Andreas Schleicher
PISA: A test the whole world can take… It’s a breathtaking concept — but for the OECD, it’s a very real way of finding out how well-prepared today’s students are to participate in society.
The OECD’s latest PISA Survey tests reading, mathematics and science performance by students in 65 economies worldwide. In light of the education unrest in Chile of the past year, it is quite a revelation to know of the progress Chilean students have made over the past decade.
That done, will the Chilean system evolve into a high performing one? If Chile gets education reform right, there is no doubt that it surely will…
What is deemed as “his-story” is often determined by those who survived to write it. In other words, history is written by the victors. The Roman historian, Tacitus, left us an account of the Roman victory over Queen Boudicca in the year A.D. 60-61.
Yet undeniably, every community has a memory of itself. Not a history, nor an archive, nor an authoritative record, but a living memory, an awareness of a collective identity woven of a thousand stories.
Now, with the help of the Roman historian Tacitus, I shall tell you Queen Boudicca’s story, her-story……
This is a tale of serendipitous romance and fortuitous misfortune. It’s got a familiar feel, mixing in the culture of two nations, and two world-renowned cities, Memphis and Santiago. A romance needs beauty, and this book has the mythological beauty of a goddess present within its pages. And to make it complete, there’s a courageous teacher of English, with a dilemma, with a choice to chance, a difficult decision to make. That is, if the choice can be made.
I would be remiss in my duties if I did not leave you with a final word of caution: the reading of this book will cause you to feel the need to travel, to go “Walking in Memphis”, to enjoy the culture and customs you will find within its pages.
I’ll meet you in Memphis, or alternatively, I’ll see you in Santiago; that will also be just fine…
Publication Date: February 9, 2012
The Storyteller tells the tale of Aquarians and Leprechauns, of the first pot of gold, of football and of goals, of birth and of rebirth.
Once upon a time, on a cloud far, far away, overlooking the Earth (I think it was Cloud Number Nine if memory serves me well) there lived incredible beings.
They were celestial beings, who, in accordance with their name and purpose, which we shall discuss in detail later, overlooked the joy and happiness of the inhabitants of the Earth. As long as these celestial beings were there, happiness and joy reigned upon the Earth…