Amaaaazing: 800 Thousand Site Visits!!

Dear reader(s),

Today is a unique milestone. I’m celebrating 800 thousand site visits! That’s a mind-boggling number for a blog about education, and I am thrilled to be able to share it with you, the people who come back, time and time again, to share a moment with me here. I appreciate your loyalty very much.

Loyalty?

Loyalty, yes, is the only word that I find appropriate to describe our unique reading and writing context. For example, on this blog I offer you something for our mutual reflection. I share my thoughts or the thoughts of others, for you to consider. It’s genuine, it’s real-world, it’s introspective, and it is expressive.

At times it’s like I’m thinking out loud, with you having the power to see me thinking about a certain topic. You are able to visualise my thoughts as they happen. Consequently, my way of thinking becomes known to you, quite transparently.

Transparency of Thought

At times, you may agree with me, at other times, you may disagree, yet the common thread is that you’ve found something useful, of value for you. So, you come back, and often, you have told a friend, who also told a friend. And all of you visited my site, though for a multitude of different reasons.

We all have different motivations, different aspirations. As a writer, I write about different topics of interest. In fact, “a bit of everything“, variety, is what keeps my writing interesting for me. I honestly don´t know, many times, what I’m going to write about, until I’ve written…something.

Now here’s the funny part. I have a personal rule that after I’ve written something, I can not be afraid to share it with you. I can not have a fear of writing. Being brave is a big part of writing for me. Courage is necessary sometimes, many times, because I know I can’t please everyone.

No matter how much I edit and reedit, someone is going to like what I’ve written, and someone else is going to not like what I’ve written.

Being brave enough to click on the “publish” button, to make my writing (and myself by extension) available for criticism, is a fundamental part of being a writer.

I mean, I’ve been called names, sometimes to my back, sometimes to my face. For example, once I went to a job interview for a leadership position at a major university in Chile, and I was told the following: (Quote) “When we asked for information about you, we were told that you are opinionated.” (End of quote)

Hmmm. Opinionated, me? (I was surprised) :-)

“OK”, I thought. “Someone doesn’t like me because I have an opinion.”

Yet the curious thing is that I consistently strive to place my thoughts and reflections ( opinions? ) within the context of factual evidence, supported by experience, tradition, wisdom of best practice – and not just wishful thinking.

In other words, to be clear, I do not recall ever giving a public opinion (written or verbal) about any topic that did not have the support of evidence, the weight of overwhelming reason to uphold my conclusion.

Conclusion? What I can conclude is this: life is what it is.

Some people like what I write, other people find my writing “opinionated”.

I can’t please everyone, as a writer, so the first duty any writer has is to follow the advice that the greatest writer of them all, William Shakespeare, puts in the mouth of Polonious to give to his son, Laertes, who is in a hurry to get on the next boat to Paris:

Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 3

Polonious (speaking to his son, Laertes):

“You’re still here? Shame on you—get on board! The wind is filling your ship’s sail, and they’re waiting for you. Here, I give you my blessing again.

And just try to remember a few rules of life.

Don’t say what you’re thinking, and don’t be too quick to act on what you think.

Be friendly to people but don’t overdo it. Once you’ve tested out your friends and found them trustworthy, hold onto them.

But don’t waste your time shaking hands with every new guy you meet.

Don’t be quick to pick a fight, but once you’re in one, hold your own.

Listen to many people, but talk to few.

Hear everyone’s opinion, but reserve your judgment.

Spend all you can afford on clothes, but make sure they’re quality, not flashy, since clothes make the man—which is doubly true in France.

Don’t borrow money and don’t lend it, since when you lend to a friend, you often lose the friendship as well as the money, and borrowing turns a person into a spendthrift.

And, above all, be true to yourself.

Then you won’t be false to anybody else.

Good-bye, son. I hope my blessing will help you absorb what I’ve said.”

LAERTES
“I humbly say good-bye to you, father.” (End of quote)

Words of wisdom, advice to live by. Thank you kindly, William Shakespeare.

Dear reader, as you must know by now, my number one rule as a writer is to be true to myself. Because of that, what you always find with me is my genuine voice, talking about the world as I see it, the world as has evidenced itself to be, and sharing my thinking with you, quite humbly.

My hope is that as a result, you will keep coming back, time after time, again and ever again, to read more and more of what I have to offer you.

I thank you and give you my deepest expression of sincerity and appreciation for the 800 thousand visits you have made to visit me on this blog.

You are absolutely amazingly incredible, dear reader, and having said that, I am left to wonder if I was truly able to capture just how wonderful you are to me, in this reading-writing relationship that we have.

800 thousand site visits…wow!

Faithfully yours,
Thomas

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My Dear Friend: Welcome to Chile (Essays from a Teacher in Chile) [Kindle Edition]

Book Description
Publication Date: February 19, 2012
My Dear Friend, Welcome to Chile.

This book shares the personal sentiment of its author, an expat, after having lived the past ten years in Chile. He says:

“I live in Chile, the most beautiful country in the world.”

He continues: “As I say these words, I want you to know that I come from the United States of America, a country that stretches from sea to shining sea, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The USA is indeed a magnificent country, but it isn’t Chile…”

http://amzn.to/PNd5Wx

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EdCamp Santiago: The First Seven Days [Kindle Edition]

Book Description
Publication Date: March 4, 2012
Dedicated to all the educators, world-wide, who have participated in an EdCamp. Go forth, spread the word to the far corners of the Earth, something is happening. There’s something going on, a R(E)volution in teacher professional development. It’s called EdCamp….

A conference, that’s not a conference. An “unconference” is a better term. A new paradigm in teacher professional development, a new, creative, innovative way of staying up to date on what matters most to teachers. As I said, it’s a paradigm shift in teacher professional development. Let me repeat: Paradigm Shift.

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Being A Teacher in Chile [Kindle Edition]

Book Description
Publication Date: May 3, 2012
“How do you become a good teacher?” Those of you who know me from reading my writing already know my answer. The short answer, the simple answer, the easy to understand answer. It has two parts.
First, love what you do. Love being a teacher so much that if you had the power to be anything on Earth, pilot, astronaut, doctor, dentist, taxi-driver, singer, dancer, artist, musician, anything at all, you would still choose to be a teacher. Love being a teacher, that’s number one.

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Soy Un Maestro: I Am A Teacher [Paperback]

I am a teacher, and I teach in Chile. This year a new Teacher Career Law, defining the teaching profession in terms of increased prestige, attracting more applicants from higher performing students, an obligatory enabling exam, higher salaries, fewer hours teaching in the classroom, and higher responsibilities wil be passed, hopefully. This book totally supports the idea that a good law is needed, and now is the time to pass one, even if that law is not yet perfect. We Teachers have such a long way to go, and this is clearly a tremendous step in the right direction. To celebrate, all of the funds received for the sale of this book will go to support the EdCamp Santiago free conference for teachers in Chile. Thank you, in advance, for buying this book. May God Bless You…

Soy el más afortunado de todos quienes trabajan. A un médico se le permite traer una vida en un momento mágico. A mí se me permite que esa vida renazca día a a día con nuevas preguntas, ideas y amistades. Un arquitecto sabe que si construye con cuidado, su estructura puede permanecer por siglos. Un maestro sabe que si construye con amor y verdad, lo que construya durará para siempre.

Book Details
Paperback: 170 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (July 3, 2012)
Language: English/Spanish
ISBN-10: 1478176520
ISBN-13: 978-1478176527

Soy Un Maestro: I Am A Teacher [Kindle Edition]

Soy Un Maestro: I Am A Teacher [Kindle Edition]

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La Desconferencia: EdCamp Santiago (Spanish Edition) [Kindle Edition]

Book Description
Publication Date: May 12, 2012
Soy un maestro. Soy el más afortunado de todos quienes trabajan. A un médico se le permite traer una vida en un momento mágico. A mí se me permite que esa vida renazca día a a día con nuevas preguntas, ideas y amistades.

EdCamp Santiago es la desconferencia. Entrada gratuita, desarrollo profesional, por profesores, para profesores. Compartir en vez de competir, aprendizaje entre pares. Participantes comparten y intercambian sus mejores prácticas pedagógicas: “Best Practices”.

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The Chilean National English Test [Kindle Edition]

Book Description

Publication Date: March 25, 2012

SIMCE Ingles 2010: The development of the national English test in Chile coincides with my story, which is woven autobiographically into the larger story, a test which apparently resulted in only 11% of students able to achieve a passing score.

This book will make you laugh, it will make you cry, it will reveal secrets to you that you thought you already knew about tests, test-making, and test-reporting.

More importantly, if you are a teacher, you leave the reading of this book with a renewed sense of confidence in who you are, and what you do…

**

Celtic Warrior Queen Boudicca

Statue of Queen Boudicca on the Thames River in London

What is deemed as “history” is often determined by those who survived to write it. In other words, history is written by the victors. The Roman historian, Tacitus, left us an account of the Roman victory over Queen Boudicca in the year A.D. 60-61.

Prasutagus, the wealthy King of the Iceni tribe, had died. Upon his death, his wife, Queen Boudicca, became the new ruler of the Iceni tribe. She headed a rebellion against the occupying Romans in Britain in A.D. 60 in which more than seventy thousand Romans were killed. The rebellion was eventually crushed and Boudicca committed suicide. So, this is a neat, sweet his-story with a happy ending, if you were on the Roman side, that is.

Yet undeniably, every community has a memory of itself. Not a history, nor an archive, nor an authoritative record, but a living memory, an awareness of a collective identity woven of a thousand stories.

Now, with the help of the Roman historian Tacitus, I shall tell you Queen Boudicca’s story, her-story……

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Boudicca: Her Story
[Kindle Edition]

What is deemed as “his-story” is often determined by those who survived to write it. In other words, history is written by the victors. The Roman historian, Tacitus, left us an account of the Roman victory over Queen Boudicca in the year A.D. 60-61.

Yet undeniably, every community has a memory of itself. Not a history, nor an archive, nor an authoritative record, but a living memory, an awareness of a collective identity woven of a thousand stories.

Now, with the help of the Roman historian Tacitus, I shall tell you Queen Boudicca’s story, her-story……

Boudicca: Her Story [Kindle Edition]

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Pecha Kucha & ELT

I saw my first Pecha Kucha over three years ago. It was when I was working at Universidad Andrés Bello at Campus Casona in Santiago with the students in the English Pedagogy program. I admit I’ve been fascinated by “Pecha Kucha” ever since that first time. I remember being very impressed by the performance I watched. There were a number of reasons for this. For now, let me share with you why I find Pecha Kucha to be so impressive and fascinating as a presentation technique.
Firstly, when we speak of our first time doing something enjoyable, it’s always a good feeling. We like what we like, we know what we like, and because of that, we return often, to what we like.

As you can tell by now, I like Pecha Kucha.

Secondly, its principles are easy to understand and apply. It’s fast, it’s efficient, it’s effective, it’s collaborative, it’s visual, it’s easy to prepare, it’s fun. However, it does require practice, lots of it, to do this really well. Practice, oh what a sweet word in the ears of any EFL teacher. Students practicing what they are going to say, again and again, going over their own words, to speak about images they themselves have selected. Volumes of practice, huge quantities of practice, helping the students to achieve the eventual automaticity that is the hallmark of mastery.

Having said that, of all the principles of the Pecha Kucha, the most important principle is this: images are powerful.

Images convey meaning and emotions. In fact, the whole range of the human experience can be conveyed by images. For example, think of the images left on the walls of caves by cave men. No one needs a cave man to verbalize what you are seeing. You feel it – through your eyes – to your brain – to your emotions. It’s visual storytelling. That’s what the Pecha Kucha is, visual literacy in its purest form…

Pecha Kucha & ELT
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The International Baccalaureate [Kindle Edition]

The International Baccalaureate [Paperback]

The global search for high-quality education, embedded in high-performing education systems, has taken on mythical proportions, almost resembling the alchemists’ quest to turn common metals into gold.

It is my hope that the present day search for global education, equitable and providing equality of opportunity for all, shall not cease until the “gold” we seek, has been found.

I therefore dedicate this book to all the educators, researchers, parents and students the world over, who strive to achieve this elusive goal,high-quality education for all the citizens of the world.

In this endeavour, it is my belief that the International Baccalaureate merits a closer look, based on their more than 40 year history of delivering consistently excellent results.

I add that all of the reflections and views in this book are mine alone, unless otherwise noted, and can not be attributed to my employer or any other organization I am affiliated with, past or present. For any errors or oversights, I bear the complete responsibility.

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Amazon Author Page:

Thomas Jerome Baker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He is the Head of the English Department at Colegio Internacional SEK in Santiago, Chile.

He is the Co-Founder and Co-Organiser of EdCamp Santiago, free, participant-driven, democratic, conversation based professional development for teachers, by teachers. EdCamp Santiago 2012 was held at Universidad Mayor in Santiago.

Edcamp Santiago 2013 is currently looking for volunteers to help organize the annual event. If you are interested, contact Edcamp Santiago! Your help will make all the difference!

Email: edcampstgo@gmail.com
Facebook: Edcamp Santiago
!Like our page on Facebook please!
Read our Blog!
Edcamp Santiago on LinkedIn
Edcamp Santiago on Slideshare
Twitter: @EdcampSantiago

Es una red que reúne a Profesionales de la Educación preocupados por desarrollar y fortalecer las capacidades de sus comunidades educativas, a través de la creatividad, la innovación y el emprendimiento.

Thomas was recently selected for membership in the Comunidad de Innovación Escolar of the Foundation Telefónica and Foundation Educación 2020. It is a network that brings together education professionals concerned with developing and strengthening the capacities of their educational communities through creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Thomas is also a past member (2011-2012) of the Advisory Board for the International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association (HETL), where he also serves as a reviewer and as the HETL Ambassador for Chile.

Thomas enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. Thus far, he has written the following genres: romance, historical fiction, autobiographical, sports history/biography, and English Language Teaching. He has published a total of forty four (44) books overall.

The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family, his wife Gabriela, and his son, Thomas Jerome Baker, Jr.

http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Jerome-Baker/e/B007G9HJFM

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About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He is the Coordinator of the English Department at Colegio Internacional SEK in Santiago, Chile. He is the Co-Founder and Co-Organiser of EdCamp Santiago 2012 & Edcamp Chile 2013, free, participant-driven, democratic, conversation based professional development for teachers, by teachers. EdCamp Santiago 2012 was held at Universidad Mayor in Santiago. Edcamp Chile 2013 was held at Universidad UCINF. Thomas is also a member of the Advisory Board for the International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association (HETL), where he also serves as a reviewer and as the HETL Ambassador for Chile. Thomas enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. Thus far, he has written the following genres: romance, historical fiction, autobiographical, sports history/biography, and English Language Teaching. He has published a total of sixty one (61) books, all available on Amazon http://amzn.to/Qxmoec . The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family, his wife Gabriela, and his son, Thomas Jerome Baker, Jr.
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