Cathrine Mette (Trine) Mork
- Miyazaki City Japan
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.
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)
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
"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)
"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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.