26 November 2012

Teaching English in Missions: Effectiveness and Integrity

During the ACSI ICEC conference which I attended last week, I was privileged to participate in two workshops by Jan Edwards Dormer. After the second workshop, I decided to purchase a copy of Jan's book Teaching English in Missions: Effectiveness and Integrity, despite the fact that I'm not "teaching English" as such but rather teaching primary school, in English. I have to say, that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I was also challenged by it.

With chapters like If you can speak English you can teach it. True or False and "First, do no harm": An English Teacher's Hippocratic Oath, you might wonder what was being said. These two chapters challenge the idea that any native speaker can teach English, and that teaching English is always a good thing to do. After setting the scene in these two chapters, Jan goes on to provide some core information that all those involved in or considering English teaching as a ministry would do well to consider, covering four types of English ministry, some requirements for English teachers, some models for teaching English, and some building blocks for English classes.

The book is easy to read (I read it in two days), with thought provoking questions at the end of each chapter. At the same time is a professional read, with a useful range of appendices and a reference list for further reading.

For me, the challenge is to learn more about something I do daily, although in the context of providing general primary school education. I'm a native English speaker, and a trained teacher, but reading this book has highlighted for me how much more I need to know in order to be truly effective in the work God has given me to do.

If I've got you thinking and you'd like to read this book, it's available on Amazon.com.

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