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Socialize the Teacher

I am preparing to leave Japan and stop teaching English for Activists, a conversation circle that has been running in Tokyo for over ten years. As one step in thinking about how to continue EFA without me, I asked the group to write on index cards the features or ingredients I bring as a teacher. The idea is to have an inventory of skills and characteristics so that they can think about how to get them from various sources. In fact, much of what I do in EFA can be done by the participants. The elements they do not have or can not provide they can get from other people.

This idea is related to a problem in democratic self-organization, for example in cooperatives, where skills, capacities and information get concentrated in the person of a manager or executive, who then appears to be indispensable. The solution is to "socializar el saber" as Arizmendiarrieta said, to disaggregate and redistribute the necessary skills, capacities and information on a democratic and liberatory basis.

So, here are my ingredients:

  • Skills in improvisation
  • Idealist
  • Flexibility
  • Curiosity (say, “interesting”)
  • Interested in social movements
  • Emphasizes gender equality
  • Skill in moderation and inclusion
  • Coordination skill, discussion, equity, make sure that every participant can say something and enjoy the class
  • Games
  • Give some hints
  • Native speaker of English-only
  • Accent
  • Passion for humor
  • English to connect grammar and spelling sometimes, but not always
  • Good imagination
  • Creativity
  • Knowledge of and interest in current issues
  • Doesn’t use Japanese
  • Good memory (names and faces)
  • Experience
  • Connection to Labor Now
  • Ability to guess