Last year, around this time, I was traveling all over Japan and making presentations for the National Geographic book tour. This winter is very different as I can sit in the comfort of my own office and make presentations on extensive reading and teaching grammar to children.
While Zoom is convenient, I'm still not used to giving presentations using it. During the presentation, everyone's microphone is off, as well as their video. Normally, I would be speaking to the members of the audience and looking at their faces, but on Zoom, I'm just talking while looking at my own Power Point, knowing they can see my every move, even if I can't see them. It feels very unnatural. I'm not so sure I'll ever really get used to presenting this way.
Of course, there are many advantages. Teachers who live far away from big cities can easily attend a presentation on Zoom. It was great to see friendly faces of teachers I have known for years on the screen, even if it was only for a few minutes. However, I must admit it is a strange feeling to finish a presentation and be alone, instead of heading to a coffee shop with a few attendees to talk about our classes. This lonely feeling stayed with me until I received a few emails and messages from attendees today who wanted to know more about my research or how they could do research in their own schools. It was a reminder that despite the challenges of not being to physically get together, humans still want to connect in any way we can.
Thanks to Tokyo JALT, who organized an all day event for teachers of children that was attended by over 70 teachers from all over the world.
Here is the research paper I wrote on teaching grammar to children that was published in early 2020 in the Language Teaching for Young Learners journal - ltyl.19010.ito