Alum Wilma Luth: Good Practices

Wilma Luth

How do you increase awareness without anyone standing right beside you and calling your attention to what is there?  How can you see what’s right in front of you, familiar and predictable, with a fresh perspective?  How can teachers grow and development themselves professionally?  How can students learn to create awareness for themselves?  Ask Wilma Luth.

Wilma Luth (SMAT 17, 1998) has lived on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido for many years.  Besides her own EFL teaching, she is an active member of the Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT).  It is in the dual capacity that she was invited to present a workshop on good teaching practices to Hokkaido’s EFL teachers at a regional meeting of the national association.  Describing the work, she says, “I enjoy giving workshops like this that help teachers stop and think about what they’re doing in the classroom. So many teachers rarely spend the kind of reflective time that could really re-energize their teaching.”

Building on what she learned while at SIT, Wilma has offered workshops for JALT members in Osaka and closer to home for members on Hokkaido.  The focus of the workshops is teacher development and student learning.  Using methods known to all SIT students, Wilma enables teachers to use principles of reflective practice, including:

  • discussion with peers
  • analysis of experience
  • idea creation
  • giving and receiving feedback
  • peer-teaching
  • pair work

By identifying “critical moments,” teachers examine and analyze a classroom event and reconsider a dimension of their teaching.

Workshop participants report discovering that to change just one aspect of instruction can make learning more meaningful.  Others, focusing on their students, find that by understanding their students more deeply, the teacher might remedy a block that impedes a learner’s progress.  An additional skill is developed that enables teachers to see a situation from multiple perspectives, not just their own.

Summarized from the report by Lorne Kirkwold in the December 2009 issue of JALT’s The Language Teacher (vol 33, no. 12), “Hokkaido: June — Good practices that help students learn and teachers grow by Wilma Luth” with additional material directly from Wilma.

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