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Education

Summary

I am a Canadian EFL professional with more than 20 years of teaching experience, mostly in Japan (since 1995), and mostly at the university level. My experience teaching spans many levels, ages, and institution types. My main academic background is not in TESOL, but I have found the skills and knowledge I amassed in my Master's program to be readily transferable to the EFL classroom. Before and during my graduate studies, I taught English in Costa Rica and Montreal, and after relocating to Japan I obtained a post-graduate diploma in EFL.

I have taught academic writing, speech communication, current events, pronunciation, small seminar classes, intercultural communication, comparative culture, and study abroad preparation courses in addition to basic reading, writing, and oral communication classes to mostly Japanese students, but also exchange students from North America, Europe, and other parts of Asia. I have supervised Japanese students in their stays abroad, have been involved in pre-departure and intercultural seminars for business people going on overseas assignments or seminars, and have designed and taught ESP training for researchers and sales people when I conducted business training in Tokyo. My full-time university responsibilities have been managerial in addition to pedagogical - I have supervised part-time teaching staff in addition to designing programs and materials and being involved in committee work. I am a member of several professional teaching associations.

I am proficient in spoken Japanese and have passed the second level of the Japanese proficiency exam. I have taken a Japanese to English translation survey course and can participate adequately in meetings conducted solely in Japanese. I have worked on several translation projects, and in the summer of 2009 I co-wrote the English subtitles for a French documentary film about the prolific Japanese writer Dazai Osamu. At that time I had the opportunity to visit my fading French skills as well (I am originally from French-speaking Montreal). I have permanent residency status in Japan.

My professional interests include educational technology, learning strategies, learner autonomy, intercultural communication, and CALL. I see computer technology as a boon to language acquisition and try to keep abreast of new developments that can help both myself and my students become more effective in our pursuits.

In my personal life, I aspire to conscious living through veganism (vegetarian in practice). I enjoy an active online life blogging about my various interests. As a youth, I ice skated almost daily, and coached figure skating professionally to support my studies at university. In Japan, I've also been active in endurance sports, such as running events and triathlons. I practiced karate for about 6 years, but my physical life has been much calmer in recent years. I love travel, cycling, fine food and drink, hoop dance, and sunshine in cool weather.

Work History

Feb 2015Present

Lecturer

Miyazaki International University
  • Instruct freshmen levels of intensive courses in reading, writing, and speaking in an integrative preparatory program for a Liberal Arts department in which team-taught content courses are offered in an English-only environment.
  • Have active membership in several committees, including, among others, the Entrance Exam Committee, the Committee on Faculty, and the Active Learning Committee (a working group for the Advanced Placement scholarship awarded to the school).
  • Participate in high school visits, open campus activities, junior high school lectures, and other recruitment/promotional activities.
  • Participate in curriculum design for the Language Faculty group; design class materials (course tests and exams, task-based activities, reading comprehension materials, explanation and practice worksheets).
  • Create orientation and pre-orientation materials and course work and online resource pages for teachers in language program. 
  • Regularly employ technology tools such as Moodle, Socrative, Lingtlanguage, Praxised, Mreader, Penzu, Mahara, Xreading, Wordpress, Social Media (Twitter in particular), MS Office, and almost all tools offered by the Google platform.
Apr 2013Feb 2015

Part-time Lecturer

Meiji University
  • Taught freshman Speaking, freshman Reading and Writing, and a TOEFL course in the Global Japanese Studies program on the newest campus in Nakano.
Apr 2011Feb 2015

Full-time Lecturer

Tokyo Woman's Christian University
  • Instructed 6 courses in the Department of English Literature and Culture (Freshman English Writing Sophomore Reading and Writing, Junior Composition, Career English 1 & 2, and Presentation Skills) and several Communication Skills and Discussion Skills classes in the Department of Foreign Languages.
  • Contributed to curriculum design of writing courses and Career English program.
  • Developed online social media competence in advanced classes.
  • Writing materials including course test and exams, university entrance exams, task-based activities, grammar and vocabulary explanations and worksheets and quizzes, etc.
  • Selected texts for some courses when required.
  • Proctored and graded exams; facilitated at speech contests.
20092015

Level 1 Interview Examiner

Society for Testing English Proficiency (STEP)
  • Served as part of rotating, two-member interview examiner for top level of Japan's largest English proficiency testing organization. The Exam is held several times a year all day on a Sunday, with between 20 and 30 examinees per day.
Apr 2006Mar 2013

Associate Professor (later Part-time Lecturer)

Tama University
  • Taught 3-4 intensive courses to first and second year students, included advanced 2nd year English, and elective courses such as Professional English and Intercultural English.
  • Designed curricula, courses, and materials for whole "English Shower" program.
  • Wrote materials including midterms, finals, entrance exams, quizzes, task-based activities, grammar and vocabulary explanations and worksheets and quizzes, etc. for program use.
  • Selected texts.
  • Editing peer work on a weekly basis (to be used by entire program).
  • Coordinated part-time instructors (scheduling, chairing meetings, coordinating recordings, distributing materials, organizing "chat lounge" etc.)
  • Created a podcast for supplementary student use; maintaining online webpages/ blogs (using multiply.com) for current classes.
  • Was responsible for audio-visual material creation and distribution.
  • Proctored exams; designed & implemented English section of orientation week for first-year students; corrected examinations; organized and facilitated at events such as speech contests and open campuses; hired part-time staff.
  • Actively participated in admissions committee.
  • Encouraged adoption of social media like Twitter and Posterous by faculty in addition to students.
  • Changed to part-time status after program downsizing in late 2008: currently teaching first year elective "English Expression" presentation courses and a basic business English course.
Apr 2009Mar 2011

Part-time Lecturer

Aoyama University
  • Taught 2 courses - Oral English and the core module of Integrated English in the IE Program.
  • Taught an advanced course in Intercultural Communication to mostly returnee students.
Apr 2009Mar 2011

Part-time Lecturer

Seijo University
  • Taught 4 courses - 2 study skills classes, a business seminar course, and a seminar in intercultural communication.
  • Wrote materials including quizzes, task-based activities, explanation handouts, worksheets, quizzes, etc.).
  • Managed class blogs (Using http://edublogs.org as well as student sites.)
Oct 2009Oct 2011

Part-time Online EFL Instructor

Aeon Digital Inc.
  • Taught 20 minute, one-on-one lessons to Japanese learners composed of a large spectrum of levels, ages, backgrounds using Aeon’s proprietary software as a virtual classroom, along with simultaneous use of SKYPE software and phone service to interact with staff in case of last minute schedule changes or the need for technical troubleshooting.
Apr 2009Mar 2011

Part-time Lecturer

Nihon University
  • taught 2 textbook-based courses - Speech Communication and basic English 1 for second and first year students, respectively.
Apr 2005Mar 2006

Business English Instructor

Sumikin Intercom Inc.
  • Designed and planned curricula and lesson plans for own classes and for part-time instructors dispatched to various Sumikin clients.
  • Instructed business lessons for pre-planned curricula and lessons to various Sumikin clients. 
  • Assisted in instruction of Intercultural Communication Seminar and contributed to material revision.
  • Created general evaluation and oral proficiency testing reports, developed TOEIC practice materials, assisted with editing, planning, & project work in office; engaged in other administrative duties.
  • Helped to reorganize materials database and added to repertoire of materials through online sources.
Apr 2004Mar 2005

Part-time Lecturer

Ningen Kankyo University
  • Taught 2 beginner English conversation classes and one 2nd year intermediate course.
  • Designed curricula and activities; selected and created materials.
Apr 2004Mar 2005

Part-time Lecturer

Aichi University
  • Planned, taught and evaluated students in 4 courses –2 at the jr. college level (a presentation class & a conversation class) and 2 at the Extension Centre for Continuing Education  (a current events course and a beginner’s English course). Classes contained 12 to 30 students.
  • Designed curricula and activities; selected and created materials.
Apr 1999Mar 2004

English Language Instructor

Minami Kyushu Junior College
  • Planned, taught and evaluated students in up to 10, 90-min. courses per semester. Courses included mostly English communication courses, and also Pronunciation, Speech Communication, & Academic Writing. Classes usually contained 4 to 20 participants.
  • Designed curricula and activities, created materials, and selected texts.
  • Assisted in planning, organization and implementation of speech contests, school policy formation, and teacher development schemes.
Aug 1998Mar 1999

Children’s English Language Instructor

Pumpkin English School
  • Taught twenty 1-hour classes/week of Communicative English to small classes of 4-9 students (mostly elementary school level, but also some JHS and HS) using the Pacific Language School (PLS) method.
  • Developed curricula, materials and activities to support and amend the PLS methodology.
  • Assisted in planning, organization and implementation of speech contests (also worked as judge), special events, and teacher development schemes.
Feb 1995May 1998

Assistant Language Teacher (ALT)

Miyazaki Prefectural Board of Education
  • Team-taught approximately 15 classes/week with local teachers (JLTs).
  • Prepared teaching materials; created and planned communicative activities; made presentations; participated in school sporting and cultural events.
  • Translated documents; created evaluative reports on teachers, activities, and seminars; attended ALT conferences; planned, managed, and taught at JLT seminars and student English camps; edited a regional newsletter for teachers.
  • Participated in a wide variety of events outside class time related relating mostly to "internationalization" in Japan.
Jul 1993Jul 1995

EFL Teacher

Progressa Language Institute
  • Researched, selected, and organized teaching materials; taught evening, general English courses to young professionals; initiated out-of-class language activities; volunteered in translating and teacher training.
Feb 1993May 1993

ESL Teacher

Plato College
  • Taught classes of mixed ability and age part-time (full time in the summer) to professionals, immigrants, and home-stay vacationers in classes of no more than 20 students; created curricula based on student goals; implemented various activities to promote oral communication.

Certifications

Teacher Training: Graduate Diploma in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), The English Language Centre, London, UK (1998)

Conferences/ Seminars: JALTCALL 2015,  IAFOR’s ACTC Annual Conference 2014, 2013; Paperless: Innovation & technology in education; Hawaii International Conference in Arts and the Humanities 2014; TESOL Arabia 2013; ETJ Tokyo Expo 2011;  various JALT conferences and workshops throughout Japan 1999-2015; ACTJ Annual Mini Conference 2009; SIIC Workshop 2002; PLS Method Beginners' Teaching Seminar 1998

Language Training: Japanese Language Proficiency Test level 2 (2000); Japanese Correspondence Course for JET Participants (1996-1997); University of Oslo International Summer School Language Program (1991)

Sports Training: BodyHoops teacher training (2012); CPR and YMCA Fitness Instruction (1996); National Coaching Certification (Canadian Figure Skating Association, 1995)

Misc.: Thai Traditional Massage (2003; 2002); Master School of Bartending Certificate (1995)

Publications

Howard, A., and Mork, C. (2015) An Investigation into Active Learning at MIC: A beginning and the way forward. Comparative Culture: The Journal of Miyazaki International College 20, 2015. (in publication).

Mork, C. (2014) Benefits of Using Online Student Response Systems in Japanese EFL Classrooms. The JALT CALL Journal 10(2), 127-137.

Mork, C. Using Audio-Visual Input in the Core Component of Aoyama University's Integrated English Program. Thought Currents, The English Literary Society of Aoyama Gakuin University (unpublished)

Mork, C. (2014) Voxopop for out-of-class speaking practice in the Japanese university EFL context - uses and student perceptions. The Asian Conference on Technology in the Classroom (ACTC) 2014 Official Conference Proceedings, 204-214.

Mork, C. (2014) Fragrance to Help Learning? Makes Scents. Hikaku Bunka Institute for Comparative Studies of Culture, Tokyo Woman's Christian University 60, 17-20.

Mork, C. (2013) Student Directed Twitter Usage in University EFL Courses. The Asian Conference on Technology in the Classroom (ACTC) 2013 Official Conference Proceedings, 139-146.

Mork, C. (2009) Using Twitter in EFL Education. The JALT CALL Journal 5(3), 29-44.

Mork, C. Co-translation of the film "La Vie Mumurée" (a documentary film about Osamu Dazai) by Des Films Nuit et Jour, produced by Gilles Sionnet and Marie Francine LeJalou, released Nov. 2009.

Mork, C. (2009) Using Multiply as a class management and communication system for EFL classes. The JALT CALL Journal 5(1), 77-90. 

Mork, C. (2002) Social Identity as an Obstacle to Foreign Language Acquisition in Japan. Journal of Minami Kyushu Junior College 8, 73-94.

Mork, C. (1998) Teaching Classroom English: Activities for the 1st Few Classes. The Language Teacher 22(7), 37.

Mork, C. NET (Nishimorokata English Teacher), editor, July 1996 - May 1997

Presentations

"Lingtlanguage for Oral Assignments." JALTCALL Conference 2015, Kyushu Sangyo University, Fukuoka. June 6, 2015. (visuals here; conference outline here)

"Online Tools to Streamline Administration and Optimize Language Learning Opportunities." ETJ Association Conference 2014, Kanda Institute of Foreign Language Studies, Tokyo. Nov. 2, 2014.

"Voxopop for out-of-class speaking practice in the Japanese university EFL context - uses and student perceptions. IAFOR Asian Conference on Technology in the Classroom (ACTC) 2014, Ramada Hotel, Osaka. April 19, 2014. (visuals here)

"The Socrative method: Enhancing student engagement through an online student response system (OSRS). Paperless: Innovation and Technology in Education, Kanda University of International Studies, Chiba, Tokyo. February 1, 2014.

 "Benefits of Using Online Student Response Systems in EFL Classrooms. 12th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa and the Hilton Waikiki Beach Hotel, Honolulu, Hawaii. January 10-13, 2014. (visuals here)

"Student Directed Twitter Usage in University EFL Courses. IAFOR Asian Conference on Technology in the Classroom (ACTC) 2013, Ramada Hotel, Osaka. April 2013. (visuals here)

"Web2.0 Tools for Speaking Outside the Classroom. ETJ Tokyo Expo 2011 Tokyo Keisai University, Tokyo. October 2011. (visuals here)

"Twitter in the EFL Classroom. ACTJ Annual Mini Conference. Canadian Embassy, Tokyo. Nov. 3, 2009. (visuals here)

"Expressions to Empower Japanese Learners of English" 15th JACET Kyushu-Okinawa Chapter Conference, Civil Aviation College, Miyazaki. Nov. 27, 1999.

Moderator for The 7th Panel Discussion & Speeches for Exchange Students, AZM Hall, Miyazaki. Feb. 6, 1999.

Narrator for "Forestry in Miyazaki Prefecture" & "Let's Enjoy Sunshine Miyazaki City" (promotional videos for Miyazaki Prefecture and Miyazaki City, respectively 1998-99).

"An Introduction to Canada" in Japanese for Kobayashi International Club, Kobayashi Shakai Kyoikukan, Kobayashi, Miyazaki. Oct.,1997.

"Effective Use of the Text" 1996 Mid-Year Block Conference for the JET Program. Tokyo. Oct., 1997.

Professional Memberships

  • Japan Association of Language Teachers (JALT)
  • Moodle Association of Japan (MAJ)
  • International Academic Forum (IAFOR)

Not current:

  • Japan Association of College English Teachers (JACET)
  • TESOL (USA)
  • TESOL Arabia
  • International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL)
  • TESL Canada
  • TESOL (USA)
  • Foreign Executive Women (FEW)
  • Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research in Japan (SIETAR)

Awards

  • Honorable mention and publication in Cottage Life "Dax on Otter Lake." August 2002, p. 21 photo contest.
  • Honorable mention in "Dobutsu Fureai" [Communication with Animals] Kitamura Camera Co. 2001 photo contest.
  • 4th place winner of (Japan's) Environmental Agency's "8th Annual Essay Contest: Essays or Activity Reports on the Earth Environment" in The Daily Yomiuri Shinbun [newspaper] (announced Nov. 30, 1998. Title: "Vegetarianism and the Environment").
  • 1995 student book award from SLA (Special Libraries Association) for highest course grade.

Sport & Recreation

  • Black belt in Shorinji Renshinkan Karatedo.
  • Over twenty 5 km, 10 km, and half-marathon running races.
  • Participation in cycling, swimming, and short triathlon races.
  • Sr. Bronze to Sr. Silver levels in dance, free-style, and figures of the standard Canadian figure skating tests.
  • Dance test choreographer and partner for several Montréal South Shore figure skating clubs.
  • Actor in bilingual take-offs of "The Wizard of Oz" (2001) and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (2000) with the Miyazaki Theatre Company.
  • Founder and manager of the McGill Scandinavian Club; member of the McGill Travel Club.

Philosophy of Teaching

I have come to feel teaching is both a big responsibility and a privilege, as teachers can have a strong impact on the futures of their students. Teachers have to be attentive to the messages they pass on in their classes, and treat the profession as a never-ending learning process. My views on teaching English have evolved over the years and will continue to do so. My guiding principles can be encompassed in the following points:

Learner Empowerment

Teachers should seek to empower or capacitate students with the necessary skills to take control of their own learning (the "tricks" of successful learning). Especially in Japan, I feel learners need help in learning how to learn.  From the first class in any oral communication course I teach, I start by introducing students to control language, so that they can politely interrupt, state their level of understanding, solicit repetition, clarification, and rephrasing, confirm though restating and rephrasing, check that others understand, and use circumlocution strategies.  With a good foundation in such skills, students can take control of their own learning.

Role of the Teacher

In accordance with the above, I believe the teacher's role to be one of facilitator, guide, model, and mentor, enabling learners to reach their individual potentials.

Improvements in language proficiency are greater when language is not so much studied, but practiced. Students thus need to produce as much language as possible. The teacher should therefore act as a cheerleader, encouraging students to seek out as many opportunities as possible for practice outside the classroom, in addition to in it.

Motivation

It is extremely challenging to teach students something they have no interest in. Especially in university classes where some students many take a foreign language simply for credit, extra effort is needed on the part of the teacher to gain and keep their interest. Teachers need to foster a positive experiences and individual involvement. I attempt to motivate my students by: (a) adjusting the pace of the class to suit my students, (b) making the material interesting and relevant to their lives, (c) creating task-based activities which require active participation, (d) creating a warm learning environment and encouraging a sense of humor, (e) using authentic examples of language used by native speakers to help show that English is not a subject but a living means of communication, (f) employing non-print (audio/visual, internet) materials and technologies, and (g) expressing a contagious enthusiasm for language, learning, and teaching.

Support

Student should be equally valued and respected, regardless of ability or performance in the classroom, and should be expected to participate equally. Students should be encouraged not to be fearful of mistakes, as they a part of the learning process. Corrections should be made in a non-threatening manner, and in some situations the degree of correction can be negotiated with learners. Teachers should outline their rules and expectations early and abide by them. They should also show their commitment to students by making themselves accessible and open to feedback, suggestions, and requests both inside and outside of class. Praise should be awarded as much as possible and encouragement given to students experiencing difficulty. Students can also receive a great deal of assistance from each other, and teachers should promote such peer support. In an interactive classroom, students have the opportunity to get to know each other, and this results in a powerful sense of community.

Methodology

As individuals learn in different ways, teachers should be comprehensive and creative with their methodologies so that various learning styles are accommodated. Repeating the same material through different approaches not only ensures that all styles are provided for, but at the very least allows for the reinforcement of previously learned material.

Culture

Especially where communication style differs substantially from the cultures of native English speakers, English teachers need to focus on socio-pragmatics and help students gain awareness of the cultural aspects that affect the way we interact in different languages. This is why I tend to include intercultural communication topics in my classes, such as non-verbal communication (eye-contact, feedback-channeling, and the use of silence in particular for Japanese learners), different values and beliefs, and the dangers of stereotyping. As learners may in future be using English to interact with other non-native speakers of various origins, it useful to help students appreciate the variety of world Englishes.

Teacher Development

Teachers should take charge of their own individual development. Being engaged in learning a second/third language, presenting new ideas at professional conferences, conducting research, participating in professional organizations, initiating collaborative projects with colleagues, etc. all have a significant impact on our work. Teachers can formulate their own teaching models based on our experiences as both a language teacher and learner. In this way teachers can grow from more than just the understanding of the principals and theories that we have learned.

Early Work Experience

  • 1996-1997; 1988-1989 Aerobics Instructor  International Culture Center, Ebino City, Japan; Champlain College, Montreal, Canada.
  • Feb. 1994 - April 1995 Library Clerk Ogilvy Renault, Montreal, Canada.
  • Sept. 1990 - April 1991 Reserves Assistant McGill Redpath Library, Montreal, Canada.
  • 1990 - 1992 Professional Figure Skating Coach Various clubs of South Shore, Montreal, Canada.