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Help! How to find uni gigs that value PBL/TBLT/cutting edge?

 
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goodEnglishes



Joined: 19 May 2016
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 4:12 pm    Post subject: Help! How to find uni gigs that value PBL/TBLT/cutting edge? Reply with quote

Hello everyone! Thank you for taking the time to weigh in on this post. I wasn't quite sure how to condense it into the title character limit but hopefully I'll better explain myself here.

Essentially: How do I get a job at a forward-thinking language program and do you know of any such programs?

Background: Last year I graduated from a two-year MA TESOL program where I learned about student-centered learning and the like in a rather teacher-centered way. For the past year, I have been teaching English full-time at a university in Colombia. The program is not for credits which is one big reason why my students struggle with motivation. Another can be attributed to the way the language is taught by many of my colleagues and too often myself. I think forward thinking teaching, such as Project Based Learning, Content and Language Integrated Learning, Task Based Language Teaching, Flipped Learning, Gamified Learning, and so on, have a tremendous potential for making the English learning experience more enjoyable for everyone, including me. However, despite the varying degrees of autonomy I have seen offered in uni gigs, how often do you encounter colleagues who are dedicated to doing any of the above in their classes? How often do you come across IEPs or EAPs where these ways of language learning and teaching are given more than lip-service? Most importantly, how do I go about finding an institution where I can get better at these forward thinking ways of teaching rather than get better at the same teacher centered style of learning I was taught by? Do you know of such places!?

And on a related note... The most promising stories I have heard recently have all seem to come out of Mexico and some of the progress different institutions have made there through bi-lingual programs, PBL, and the like. I want to continue teaching abroad, but I keep running into the nagging thought that if I really want to develop professionally, the best institutions for me might be in my home country, the U.S. Has anyone ever faced/overcome this?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11374
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many universities across the UK and continental Europe, particularly in the north, apply approaches like PBL and TBL in content courses, but it seems difficult to find out what university English-language programs actually apply such methods. As a US citizen, you wouldn't be legally eligible for most western European gigs, but you might find something in Central/Eastern Europe (where such programs are more rare but do exist).

I have worked with a few MA candidates in S. Korea who have piloted TBL programs, but so far as I am aware, they haven't caught on widely.

Explicit student-centered approaches are also used in some Canadian universities, to my knowledge, but again, you're constrained by your citizenship.

Some useful research into student-centered methods has been conducted in Mexico (Karen Englander among others) and and this might in fact be your most realistic target country if you decide not to return to the US.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 10501
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 7:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your best bet might be private universities abroad, especially those with US regional accreditation and American curriculum. Start your research by Googling international universities with US accreditation for info and names of specific universities.
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santi84



Joined: 14 Mar 2008
Posts: 1299
Location: under da sea

PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

North America is all about task-based language teaching and portfolio-based learning. It has been for at least the last 5-7 years, so I'm not sure how long ago you learned from teacher-centred practices. If I could only go one meeting without having to talk about our newest acronyms, I'd be a happy camper.

So yes, back home would be a good option if that's what you seek. I'm in Canada though, so I can only speak to what sorts of topics have been discussed in USA conferences/organizations, not the actual job market. You may wish to seek out colleges/organizations that cater to new immigrants and refugees, as TBLT and PBLA is easily applied to those populations and therefore very popular methods in those classrooms.
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RedLightning



Joined: 08 Aug 2015
Posts: 83
Location: United States

PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 3:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Forward-thinking?
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HeidiHector



Joined: 10 May 2017
Posts: 34
Location: China

PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 4:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I second nomad soul's suggestion. I had been adjuncting in the US for quite a number of years before making the move to China and all the schools that I have worked at prefer TBLT/PBL with a thematic approach. Indeed, many Chinese-foreign (esp. with the US) partnerships here in China, besides often being the best-paying employers (low to mid-40k USD depending on the school and forex rates), do value communicative approaches more than most other schools. Most of them are so new that they give a lot of freedom to their faculty to be creative and to really apply and replicate what the teachers have learned and done back home in China.

The only downside (based on my experience) is that many students in these schools tend to be quite privileged. You are welcome to interpret that statement however you like.

[Though I don't know anything about the Canadian system, I have seen many presentations and attended many seminars and workshops on TBLT/PBL by Canadian-based teachers, so I would venture to agree with the others' input as well.]

Cheers.
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santi84



Joined: 14 Mar 2008
Posts: 1299
Location: under da sea

PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RedLightning wrote:
Forward-thinking?


Until the next acronym du jour (coming soon in 2020) Laughing
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goodEnglishes



Joined: 19 May 2016
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 6:07 pm    Post subject: Thank you for the feedback Reply with quote

Hi everyone! Thank you for this solid feedback. I suppose I'm really struggling to find ways to develop professionally in our field. I keep running into institutional constraints as far as how curricula/assessments/etc. are organized, and I keep running into colleagues who maybe do something like present on Project Based Learning at TESOL Int but run their classes in a rather traditional, text-book centered way. I'm not sure how to get out of the lower rungs of the field and teach in a way that I enjoy to students I enjoy...
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11374
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could always try to get into a teaching context for which books haven't been written (they exist)Wink
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 10501
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 8:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Thank you for the feedback Reply with quote

goodEnglishes wrote:
I suppose I'm really struggling to find ways to develop professionally in our field. I keep running into institutional constraints as far as how curricula/assessments/etc. are organized.
....
I'm not sure how to get out of the lower rungs of the field and teach in a way that I enjoy to students I enjoy.

A couple of options (since it's unclear if any of the advice given above appeals to you):

- As santi84 mentioned, stay in the US and teach for nonprofit organizations and government agencies (e.g., vocational schools, libraries, community ESL providers, resettlement programs, etc.), that assist refugees and immigrants -- students who enjoy being taught in the way you like to teach.

- Look for program director or curriculum coordinator roles -- those that offer the opportunity to make decisions on how English language classes are organized and taught.

BTW, you've posted on the Saudi forum. You're not likely to find enjoyable students and flexible teaching methods in restrictive KSA. Razz

(Correction: I see you're in Colombia and not the US)
.


Last edited by nomad soul on Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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santi84



Joined: 14 Mar 2008
Posts: 1299
Location: under da sea

PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 8:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Thank you for the feedback Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
goodEnglishes wrote:
I suppose I'm really struggling to find ways to develop professionally in our field. I keep running into institutional constraints as far as how curricula/assessments/etc. are organized.
....
I'm not sure how to get out of the lower rungs of the field and teach in a way that I enjoy to students I enjoy.

A couple of options (since it's unclear if any of the advice given above appeals to you):

- As santi84 mentioned, stay in the US and teach for nonprofit organizations and government agencies (e.g., vocational schools, libraries, community ESL providers, resettlement programs, etc.), that assist refugees and immigrants -- students who enjoy being taught in the way you like to teach.

- Look for program director or curriculum coordinator roles -- those that offer the opportunity to make decisions on how English language classes are organized and taught.

BTW, you've posted on the Saudi forum. You're not likely to find enjoyable students and flexible teaching methods in restrictive KSA. Razz


You gave me a good laugh with this one because it's so true. Saudi students don't seem to hand in anything to their portfolio. I've been chasing them down for weeks.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 10501
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see you've posted on other country forums as well.

So far, your criteria seem to be:
    - University teaching role
    - Teaching situation that offers professional development
    - Great salary and benefits (based on your Saudi forum post)
    - Flexibility in applying different learner-centric teaching strategies
    - Teaching English to self-motivated students who enjoy being taught
It's highly doubtful you'll find a teaching situation that ticks all of your boxes. The TEFL market has changed through the years.

Consider the following:
    - Qualified locals often get priority over expats
    - Opportunities in desirable universities don't open up that often -- expats tend to stay in their positions for years
    - Salaries have been stagnant or are declining for most areas
    - Qualifications for some positions are very specific
    - Some jobs are best gotten by applying in person and not through the Net
    - Socio-economic conditions dictate hiring needs (e.g., political uncertainty in some countries, the oil slump in the Gulf...)
You need to figure out what your priorities are versus what you're willing to compromise on.
.
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goodEnglishes



Joined: 19 May 2016
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:02 pm    Post subject: Thank you everyone! Reply with quote

Hello again!

Thank you everyone for the advice, especially Nomad Soul and Spiral. You guys have given me a lot to consider and you have went above & beyond doing so. I really appreciate the support and food for thought. Thank you!
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 14932
Location: Ultima Thule

PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The acronym TBL was not familiar to me. I had to use my cutting edge reference tools to find this -

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Team-based_learning


I will refrain from making the judgement that this is hokum.
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