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Ever since I finished kindergarten, I knew I wanted to teach. In January 1998, it all began in Seoul. Since then, I’ve moved from the classroom to management to a mixture of both. I currently work and reside in Toronto, Canada and do design work for education on the side.

 

Main interests

  • public spaces for exploring teacher identity and development
  • critical and inclusive pedagogies
  • concision

Current professional roles

Recent/Upcoming talks

BELTA Day 2020 [Plenary], Brussels BELGIUM, 9 May 2020
The info ‘instashare’: its impact on belief and our power as language teachers

Shermer (2012, p. 135) suggests that when information is shared with us, “belief comes quickly and naturally, skepticism is slow and unnatural, and most people have a low tolerance for ambiguity.” In our current age of digital information, we all consume news, entertainment, and even educational materials, quite often through rapid-fire instashares online. This delivery paired with our natural instincts can significantly increase the challenge of not only locating what we’re looking for, but also evaluating conflicting messages about what’s true. In this talk, we will explore how information is produced, shared, and conveyed through social media; the impact instashares have on our abilities to decipher context and make evaluations; and the power (or arguably the responsibility) we have as educators to augment the role of language technician with emancipatory guide.

IATEFL Conference 2020, Manchester UK, 18 April 2020
We can disrupt the heteronormative status quo of ELT materials

When we incorporate LGBTQIA narratives into our materials, this can go very wrong through poor design and/or delivery, but it can also go very right. In this talk, we’ll explore how to effectively create and use LGBTQIA content to build intersectional connections and empower learners to challenge what we take for granted as just the way it is.

8th ELT Malta Conference 2019, Attard MALTA, 18-19 October 2019
This talk will make you gay (or your materials anyway)
This is an updated version of a talk given at IATEFL 2019.

World Teachers’ Day Web Conference [Plenary], 5 October 2019
Tick boxes don’t matter. Representation does.

In principle, most of us want to foster spaces where our learners feel included within our teaching practice. We can see evidence of this from the increasing frequency of the terms ‘inclusion’ and ‘diversity’ in social media discussions, conference talks, and organisational statements. In reality, we may not realize how our identities and those presumed of our learners impact our approaches to doing so, particularly in our materials choices and creation. It can be very tempting to include an LGBTQIA+ couple smiling at each other, tick the ‘inclusive practice’ box on our task list, and feel good about ourselves. So….

  • Do we represent our learners in our materials appropriately? Yes with an ‘if’, No with a ‘but’.
  • Does representation really matter in an ELT context? Yes (without ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’)!

In this talk, I’d like to explore these two questions and their answers in some depth by walking through the social spectrum of ELT materials from whitewashed to an array of brilliant colours. In doing so, these will illustrate how representation of learners, teachers, and the people of our societies more broadly can be accomplished effectively and appropriately to empower rather than (unintentionally) oppress. Tick boxes won’t ever look the same.

For more on talks I’ve given, please go here.

For more on training and consultancy, see here.

Education

MA (with Merit), EdTech and TESOL. University of Manchester, UK
TESL Canada Certificate (Standard 2 Permanent)
TESL Ontario Certificate (lapsed membership)
BA, Philosophy. Western University, Canada

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For a full CV, including projects, publication details, and a complete list of all talks given, please visit my LinkedIn profile. 

If you’d like to get in touch by email, please do: tbseburn@gmail.com

 
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