To the English Department at A University of Science and Technology

Chinmin Institute of Technology is closing down its AFL Department, and I am now looking for another job, so I wonder if you have any contract-based positions teaching English in the AFL department at your university. I think I would be well-suited for teaching in your department.

For the seven years I have been in Taiwan at Chinmin, I have been working with lower-level, unmotivated students. With these students, I had to rework the way I teach. I had to move away from pairwork and groupwork to work with the whole class, because the students were generally unwilling to use English unless the teacher was observing them.

But this was perhaps a blessing in disguise. It forced me to develop a number of innovative activities to get the students to use English. For example, for exams I had them do pair dictations, each student reading one half of a dialogue to their partner, and writing down their partner's lines.

Successes such as these were rewarding, but whether I achieved a lot of what I set out to achieve in my teaching is debatable. Overall, however, I think I did do an excellent job of creating favorable attitudes to English among these students, at the same time as I significantly raised their levels of achievement. I certainly seem to have gained their respect.

My success was partly the result of my technique, and partly the result of the personal warmth I felt and showed to them as my students. No doubt the latter is more important than the former. I place more importance on the technique however. I wish to continue developing that technique.

Now, I am ready to apply the lessons I have learned here to the practice I developed before in Korea where I taught university students. I believe I am well suited to teaching at the university level. Even though my master's is not in TESOL, my native intelligence, my background in psychology and my extensive reading in TESOL and applied linguistics fit me for an academic position.

However, I am more interested in the practice, that is, in teaching itself, than in the theory, that is, in knowledge about learning and language. At the same time, I recognize, as Kurt Lewin noted, that there is nothing as practical as a good theory. I hope that your department is also interested in such a collaboration between theory and practice. If it is, I would enjoy working with you there developing superior speakers and writers of the English language.

Yours sincerely,

– Greg Matheson How do we make someone unafraid of failure, but also

eager for success?
--Ian Bicking