Hello from TESOL’s newest blogger—2016 TESOL Teacher of the Year, Shannon Tanghe!
My name is Shannon Tanghe, and I am currently the department chair of the Graduate School of TESOL at Dankook University, a graduate school in a suburb of Seoul, South Korea. My background includes teaching and learning experiences in various locations around the world. My own formal schooling has been in Minnesota and Korea, and I recently completed a PhD in TESOL & Composition at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. I have short-term teaching experiences in Egypt and Guyana, and for the past 16 years I have been living and teaching in South Korea. Each of these experiences has been powerful in shaping and influencing my philosophy of teaching and my general world view.
At the 2016 TESOL convention in Baltimore, I was honored to be recognized as the “TESOL Teacher of the Year,” an award I see as a reflection of the numerous people who have taught and continue to educate me in various ways as I develop and evolve as a teacher.As the recipient of this award, I have had new opportunities to reflect on and share my own ideas about teaching, one being the opportunity to create and share this blog. I am eager to start this blog and become more connected with the online community of educators involved in TESOL education.
In 1999, Jesse James Garrett created a list of all the blogs available on the Internet—a list which totaled 23 weblogs. Today, worldometers estimates upwards of 4.3 million blog postings per day! Advances in communication and technology are rapidly changing the ways people share information. As I begin this blog, I am excited about the possibility of having an open channel of communication with people around the world. The world is connected—more and more so each day—and I look forward to being more involved in this interconnected community of educators. This blog is designed as a place to share some of my own reflections on teaching practices, in the hope that these ideas and resources may also be valuable to others in the field. I will be blogging on a monthly basis and am pleased to have the opportunity to share ideas with fellow TESOLers.
The Power of Collaboration
I recall one of my first solo teaching experiences. It was in 2000; I was in Georgetown, Guyana, a novice teacher, full of ideas, but often unable to achieve the classroom results I wanted. Struggling with my teaching, I looked to others and sought help from the community around me. My collaborating coteacher was a huge source of inspiration as she shared her knowledge and experiences with teaching in that particular context. Additionally, Internet resources became a connection with the outside world. (Remember, it was 2000, and the information available was a mere fraction of what we have at our fingertips today.) But I remember looking through websites, excited (and relieved!) to find other teachers’ ideas and experiences with just a click of the button.
I believe collaboration is at the core of teaching and education in general. I envision this blog as a platform for cooperation—for sharing understandings, thoughts, and activities that may spark an idea with someone else, who will then also share their thoughts, perspectives, and ideas. As I describe my own experiences with teaching and TESOL, I hope to recommend some classroom ideas and activities as well as specific resource collections that might be valuable to teachers in various contexts. I thank TESOL for this opportunity and look forward to the chance to grow and connect with educators around the world.