Barbara Sakamoto

barbaraOf Icebergs and Whales

At a conference like TESOL or IATEFL, it’s easy to accept that a lot of teachers can’t afford to be there. But, it’s harder to accept that the vast number of teachers connecting and learning online still represent a very small percent of all teachers in the world. So many online professional development opportunities are free, so why don’t more teachers take advantage of them? Why aren’t they here with us at TESOL EVO? Often, they’re afraid of connecting with people they don’t already know, uncomfortable using English to communicate with other teachers, and they lack access to strong Internet connections.

What happens when these teachers are given a safe, nurturing place to connect, a chance to build the language skills needed to talk about teaching in online groups, and friends to invite and welcome them into a group? They connect, share, learn, and inspire. I’ll introduce you to some teachers around the world who have overcome some of the obstacles I mentioned earlier, and have become inspirations to their students and the teachers around them.

While my examples will highlight English teachers, there are teachers in every context who are disenfranchised in the sense that they have no voice in ongoing international discussions about education, and our discussions would be richer for their inclusion.

Barbara Hoskins Sakamoto has taught both English and ESL in the United States and EFL in Japan for more than 25 years. She is currently currently the Program Director for International Teacher Development Institute, where she has the privilege of working with other educators who believe that all teachers deserve an equal chance to improve.

Barbara teaches children in her tatami room, seniors at the social welfare center, and teachers from around the globe online. She has conducted teacher training workshops in Asia, the United States, and Latin America, and is co-author of the best-selling young learners English series, Let’s Go (Oxford University Press).

When Barbara isn’t teaching, writing, or giving workshops you’ll often find her working with teachers in the iTDi community or on her award winning blog, Teaching Village.


2 Responses to Barbara Sakamoto

  1. Always happy to hear from you, Hugh!
    I’m happy to meet another fan of Voicethread. There isn’t any offline access, I’m afraid–definitely a weakness, in my opinion. Because it’s flash based, it also doesn’t work with some mobile devices–another drawback. But, I’m still a fan.

    I have used it in classes without Internet by making creating the story offline, and then uploading the slides at home (on my computer). Then, I exported the story as a video that I could take back to class and show (and share). My mature learners class (60-70 yrs old) created this story that way:
    You’ll recognize the cat photos I imagine–I try to recycle things, so last year every class did something with Rocco 🙂

    I finally signed up for a pro account because I need to convert VTs into videos to use at workshops (where I rarely if ever have Internet access). You could probably accomplish what you want with a VT Single Educator account. It’s free, it allows you to upload mp3 comments (like if you use a digital recorder in class and then upload from home), and then you pay $2.99 for each video you export. You can get more information about the educator account here:

    Hope this helps! If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask 🙂

  2. Pingback: Would you please do me a favor? Thank you! – Teaching Village

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