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John F. Fanselow: “I never do that! /Oh, that’s just what to do!”

27. April 2014 @ 7:30 am - 8:00 am

Main Venue ARTHUR


World Clock Sun 7:30am GMT 8:30am London, 9:30am Paris, 4:30pm Tokyo, 3:30am New York

I often hear these comments when I view commercially produced video clips of classes with teachers. When I ask the teachers why they made these implied negative and positive judgments they say that every post observation conversation they have experienced contains judgments. “Your ice breaker really got them going but your goal was not explicit or clear. And you did not give enough examples.”

During the session, I will ask participants to share the benefits and damage evaluating our teaching has. I will then remind everyone of the potential value of replacing evaluations with breaking rules we follow by doing the opposite of what we usually do or stop doing something we always do. If we say “very good” after every response, stop saying it and compare the results we can begin to understand our teaching better than through an evaluation. If we usually state the goal of a lesson and compare this with asking students at the end of the class what the goal was we can see to what extent what we think is useful is.

Though transcribing 3-minute recordings of our teaching to generate alternatives on our own or with our students is very unusual—almost unheard of in most places—and initially resisted by some, everyone who tries this alternative is blown away by the results and feels liberated as well. I will share some transcriptions during the session which will remind many of he stultification that most feel from evaluations of what we do they with the liberation we feel from analyzing what we do.

John F. Fanselow became involved in ESOL by becoming a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Africa. Upon completion of Ph.D. at Columbia University, Teachers College, he joined the faculty. At Teachers College, his main interest was observation and analysis of interactions, both inside and outside of classrooms. „Beyond Rashomon“ and „Let’s see“, two of his seminal articles in the TESOL Quarterly, have been reprinted in many anthologies. „Beyond Rashomon“ was the basis of Breaking Rules (Longman, 1987) and „Let’s See“ was the basis of Contrasting Conversations (Longman, 1992, reprinted 2010). Try the Opposite (SIMUL, 1992, reprinted 2010) grew out of his work with teachers in Japan. He was president of International Pacific College in NZ for 8 years where he introduced recording and analyzing classroom interaction that has not been done in a systematic way in any other tertiary institution in the world.

He has been active professionally, serving as president of TESOL International and president of New York TESOL. John is now an emeritus professor at Columbia University Teacher College, and a visiting professor at The New School in New York and at Kanda University of International Studies in Tokyo. He is also an active member of the faculty of the International Teacher Development Institute. In 2005, he was presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award from Columbia University, Teachers College. Each year, Teachers College presents 3 to 5 Distinguished Alumni Awards who are selected from the more than 80,000 alumni of the institution.




John F. Fanselow: “I never do that! /Oh, that’s just what to do!”


27. April 2014
7:30 am - 8:00 am


Adobe Connect