Experienced High School teacher
Hi, my name is Kieran James, I was born in Newton Poppleford in the shire of Devon, England, which means I am a real-life hobbit. As is our custom, upon graduation I set out to see the world and meet all its peoples, which led me to Santo Domingo in the Caribbean where I had an idyllic life teaching tourists to sail Hobby catamarans, that was until 1998 when we were hit by a category 5 hurricane, in the devastation of the aftermath I resolved to teach the young from my community how to swim, however after a few weeks they came to me explaining that their families had not only lost their homes but many had also lost their jobs, and what they really needed from me was to teach them English, that way they could interact with the few businessmen and tourists that still came and in doing so help their families, for me it was a wake up call, and for the first time I realised that English to them was not just a language, it was a bridge to opportunity.
From that time forth, I became a dedicated student and teacher of languages. My new found purpose in life led me onto even greater adventures all across Central and Latin America, culminating in 10 years in Brazil where I started a simple school teaching literacy and basic mathematics deep in the Amazon, all they way to Escola Dinamica in Florianopolis, Southern Brazil, where for the last 5 years I have taught English, Economics, Debate and Politics in an American High school program in partnership with Texas Tech University and more latterly The University of Missouri (Mizzou), during this time I was proud to have helped all my students graduate, with more than half graduating with honours, but the achievement of which I was most proud was the development and implementation of our own digital teaching materials, which helped us increase the number of students reaching the required standards of fluency to participate in High school, from 5% to 100%.
The secret to our success was to follow the teachings of Noam Chomsky (the father of modern linguistics), that is to say, we taught English through oral interactions, mimicking how we all learn our native languages, the interactivity meant we involved students in both passive and active learning, we implemented mentoring programs to reinforce learning, in accordance with the findings of William Glasser on how we humans acquire new skills.
System and design thinking principles, mean we are constantly testing, and reacting to student feedback and performance, and now through wonderful platforms like Udemy we are able to start making available some of the course materials that transformed our students outcomes in Brazil to the wider population.