TESOL Toolkit - by Dave Hopkins

Dave Hopkins


by Tadashi Shiozawa

My Former Student
by Ray Clark

A Man with Verve
by Diane

Shining Star
by Saad Saleh

Tough Love
by Marc Helgesen

Kindred Spirit
by Bruce A.

TESOL Standard

by Robb Scott

A Job
Well Done

by Steve Wade

David Hopkins
on the ESL

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David B. Hopkins Festschrift
David B. Hopkins Festschrift

Tough Love
Contributed by Marc Helgesen

Thailand is a wonderful country. Many people, especially those viewing it on a quick visit or just from their imagination, have an unrealistic idea of teaching there. There is the image of teaching these really nice Thai people (that part is true – Thailand is “the land of smiles”), then heading off to a gorgeous beach for the weekend (also true, but not nearly as often as you would like). Actually, the reality can be a lot more challenging than that. And Dave Hopkins had one of the more challenging jobs I know of: Training would-be teachers in a very intensive one-month certificate course. And those would-be EFL/ESL teachers ran a huge gamut, from dedicated and conscientious folks determined to become part of the profession to less serious people looking for a way to support their back-packing habit and everything in between. And Dave had one month to get them into “teaching ready” shape.

When I was on sabbatical a few years back, I observed teachers in several different countries in a variety of teaching situations. One class I watched was Dave guiding a group, maybe two weeks into their course, in materials evaluation. Getting them to “look behind and beyond” the pretty pictures and slick lay-out that most textbooks have and really figure out how language was being presented, how the learners were going to practice and make it their own. Dave was kind of a combination of a sage, a drill sergeant (the term “tough love” comes to mind) and a few characters I’m not sure how to name. He challenged his charges, asking questions and making them find the answers. And asking “why?” It was important for them to notice for themselves what and how they were processing information. And it was important that they did the thinking, rather than just coming up with the answers he wanted.

How effective is his work? I remember the director of one of the better language schools in Bangkok tell me that Dave’s training course was the only one from which she would hire graduates nearly automatically. His trainees know how to teach.

Marc Helgesen
Professor of English
Miyagi Gakuin Women's University
Sendai, JAPAN
Author, English Firsthand
Creator, www.ELTandHappiness.com

2012 ESL MiniConference Online