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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

Talks in 2020

ATESL Conference 2020 [Plenary], Online, 16-17 October 2020
Normalising LGBTQIA2 in ELT is the seed. We also need the water.

For the past few years in particular, the desire for inclusive practices within ELT has become louder and stronger, which on the whole is fantastic, but with few existing inclusive materials combined with a lack of available training, movement towards equality can be sporadic or unintentionally problematic. To help, in Spring 2019, I shared a mock-up coursebook unit that incorporates LGBTQIA2 through a ‘normalisation’ approach (fourc.ca/lgbtq-normalisation). Through this approach, these representations occur regularly alongside heteronormative counterparts without focusing on the content per se but on the language activity itself. This, however, was meant as a sample starting point, not as a finish line. Alone, this approach stops short of directly confronting certain inequalities within our learning environments and more broadly the social status quo our learners are part of. In this talk, we’ll address why normalisation is only the beginning and why it’s important to continue being curious about further inclusive practices. This will move us towards exploring ‘disruption,’ a complementary approach to ELT materials design where we centre LGBTQIA2 content to lay the foundation for raising empathy, building relatable connections between different groups of people, and empowering learners to challenge what they (and we?) take for granted as ‘just the way it is’. This, I argue, ultimately facilitates the underlying purpose of education: to equip us with choices about how to improve the lives of many, not just a few.

BRAZ-TESOL Brasilia [Plenary], Online, 9-10 May 2020
Representation: a guided tour from whitewashed to full colour

Do we represent people of our societies in our materials well? Yes with an ‘if’, No with a ‘but’. Does representation really matter in an ELT context? Yes (without ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’)! In this talk, we will 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 can be accomplished effectively and appropriately to empower rather than (unintentionally) oppress.

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

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

ELT Day for Puerto Rico, online, 27 January 2020
An adaptable lesson for #eltfootprint

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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