Title: EAP Instructor on London Campus, CultureWorks
Best Canadian Author: Will Ferguson! He takes an honest and critical look at this nation that we share. He has also written some fiction and travel memoirs, both of which I enjoy!
Q. The idiom ‘to wear your heart on your sleeve’ is an appropriate one for you, Joel. You are a very genuine, thoughtful individual, and people feel that as soon as they get to know you. How do you think teaching affected your personality? I mean, were you always this kind, or do you students keep you nice?
A. I am a very empathetic person. I try to understand and connect with the individual that I am engaged with; whether that be a student, the team or anyone in my life. I feel that working at CultureWorks has helped this quality in me to bud and grow. I have spent time living and working overseas, far away from home. I have also spent time in university, with the pressures of study and socializing sometimes coming all at once. I get it, and I want to help my students realize that they are not the only ones feeling this way.
Q. Speaking of ‘wearing’ things, how do you feel fashion these days? Tattoos? Super baggy pants? Any opinion there?
A. I’m a big fan of swag! I wear my CultureWorks golf shirt almost every day to school, and after school. Don’t worry, I have more than one and they are clean! It gives me a certain degree of pride to slip on my uniform and go to work. It almost seems like I am playing for the Blue Jays, the Raptors, or the Leafs… but not really.
Q. I’d love to know more about your degree in Linguistics and Japanese studies. For people who may not know, what are these areas of study about? What attracted you to these fields?
A. Wow, so much to say here. Let’s see, I fell in love with Japan when I first went as a teen on an exchange program. At that time I wanted to live the rest of my life there teaching English. Since then, I have been there many times and worked for a span of two years. I no longer live in Japan, but one aspect of my life has remained the same – my love of teaching English. Linguistics helps us to understand the language(s) we use. I like to share with my students the meaning of the language that we share: what and how we say something can affect the meaning of our intended message.
Q. You are preparing CultureWorks students English as an Academic Language who may want study at Western University, Kings University College, and Brescia University College in London, Ontario. What skills are you teaching them to succeed? Do you have any tips about learning English you’d like to share? What might attract a student to study at these campuses?
A. Most importantly a student learning English for Academic Purposes needs to be engaged in the language. Talk with others in your program in English. On university campuses that I have been on, it is easy to find students who are talking about academic subjects. It is important for our students to get into this mindset – talk and ask questions. Success begins there.
Q. Lastly, for fun, what Japanese foods do you wish were more available in Canada?
A. My introduction to Japan was in a homestay program. I lived in the countryside and was first introduced to home-style cooking from my Japanese “grandmother.” Her kitchen was always full of pickled vegetables from grandfather’s garden. She would prepare the most delicious soups and rice dishes that I just couldn’t get enough of. My wife and I make okonomiyaki (a cabbage pancake with your choice of meat, seafood and vegetables) at home, but we also crave the simple omuraisu (a mound of cooked, seasoned rice, wrapped in a thin egg and topped with ketchup). I like sushi, tempura and ramen but the simple dishes I just mentioned could really take off here!
Thanks for your time Joel, we hope to have you back on the Hotspot soon!