Four hundred (401, to be exact) followers on Slideshare is an awful lot. It doesn’t happen overnight that four hundred people decide they want to follow your activities on Slideshare. It means, basically, that you are willing to share, and what you share, is considered worth taking a look at.
So, obviously I’m honored. More so when you consider that as an author, a self-published author, one of my main concerns is how to market my work, using social media, in an unobtrusive way.
In other words, how do I make the world at large aware of the fact that I write books, in both digital and paperback form, with the intent to offer my work for sale to the general public?
Slideshare has been a very important answer to that question for me. When I became aware that self-publishing entails self-marketing, the only option available to me (having zero financial resources to invest in marketing) was a free service like Slideshare.
To date, the two catalogs on Slideshare which document my work as a self-published author have been seen over twenty thousand times. That’s an amazing success story, in terms of putting my work in front of potential buyers.
I can not now, and never could have ever, paid the cost associated with having a physical store that was capable of allowing twenty thousand people to have a look at the books I write, and then make the decision to buy a book I have written.
Slideshare accomplished that for me, and I am grateful. Beyond Slideshare, however, I am even more grateful to my 400 followers on Slideshare. You are the ones who tell your friends there is a writer named Thomas Jerome Baker, self-publisher, self-marketer, and then you recommend to your friends and colleagues that they visit my site on Slideshare.
Over twenty thousand visitors are the results of your simply sharing the word. I appreciate you, all four hundred of you. Your efforts have resulted in exponential numbers of people getting a look at my work.
So today I am uploading a document I call, quite simply, “English“. It forms the fundamental support for my next book, about how real people use English on Twitter. One phrase I particularly like is this: “Sorry I don’t speak English, but I love you”.
It has given me some creative possibilities, and I’d like to share it with you, in raw, unfinished form.
Though the finished form has yet to emerge, I promise you it’s gonna be as great as the people who have inspired it, namely, a very interesting bunch of everyday people.
We all know that’s what makes the English language as beautiful as it is, namely, the way we use language, and not the way we are told English is supposed to be.
So, enjoy this material, shortly it will evolve into a most unusual but extremely good book! (I promise to let you know when it’s ready!)
Native Speaker Needed?
At the 2007 TESOL Chile Conference the question was asked: Are native speaker teachers automatically the best teachers of a language?
Just because you speak a language naturally, does that mean you can teach it?
Or does the process of learning a language to a high level of fluency make non-native speaker teachers far better equipped to teach that language?
This book shares the global voices of those on both sides of the issue, pro and con, with their realities, perceptions and beliefs.
Some say the Native Speaker is the best teacher. Others voices say the Non-Native Speaker teacher is the best teacher. Some say students and their parents prefer the Native Speaker. Others say the evidence does not support that statement. This is where we begin our journey.
The book takes this point of departure, the never ending controversy of the mythical Native Speaker as the ideal language teacher, privileged, superior, and with a standard of English unattainable for a learner.
Right from the outset, the learner is doomed to ultimate failure, to possess a level of language known as “interlanguage” a linguistic Limbo. In this place, Limbo, the learner has become “fossilized”, not fully developed, at some substandard level of language learning.
Beyond this, the book aims to reach a deeper level of historical understanding by looking at the development of ELT, and then, returning to the present, to ask the question: Native Speaker Needed?
By then, we have come full circle, and now have clear and compelling evidence from which to base a conclusive answer.
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.
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.
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 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.