The Doctor's Consultation:
by Dr. Iain Corness
Pin your hopes on PNI
It’s a little
joke around town that when I get asked the standard question, “How are you?”
my standard reply is, “I’m always well,” to the English speakers; or “Sabai
dii samur” to the locals. Now have I discovered not only the elixir of youth
but also the secret to permanent health? Unfortunately it is No! on both
counts, but those words can have more effect on your life than you would
imagine. It’s all to do with PNI.
So what is PNI? To give it its full title, the letters stand for
Psycho-Neuro-Immunology, which explains very quickly why we just say “PNI”,
doesn’t it! (And as you know by now, we medico’s love acronyms!)
In this rather inexact “newer” science, what the boffins have been able to
do is to measure the body’s physical response to emotional stresses. This is
not a simple, “I’m under stress so my (blood) pressure’s up,” but is a valid
scientific attempt to quantify the psychological insults to the body in
physically measurable terms. Not quite rocket science, but getting close.
We already knew that those people who “drop their bundle” under stress
appeared to do less well than those who kept up a cheery disposition, but it
was all fairly anecdotal stuff. However, there were some studies that showed
that those people with a positive approach were more likely to “get over” a
cancer, or live longer despite the cancer, than those people with a negative
attitude. The positive people had significantly better five year survival
rates for any cancer, than the negative folk. But we didn’t really know why.
As Immunology became a real science, with the ability to measure immune
responses by examination of the blood, we began to get a better idea of just
what was going on. And guess what? It appeared that people under “stress”
depressed their immune system! Was this the answer? Stress reduces your
ability to fight things off. Elegantly simple, but unfortunately, too
Further studies were done by researchers all over the world and the same
results were not duplicated. Sure, sometimes stress appeared to reduce
personal immune response, but other people did not show the same effects
when under the same type of stress. Just who was fooling who?
At this stage, someone remembered the old studies on five year survival
rates and the differences between positive and negative approaches to life,
and the immune response measurements were repeated. Now guess what? The
positive people had better “immune counts” than negative thinkers. So it
seemed as if the positive thinkers were showing immuno-enhancement while
those with negative outlooks and poor coping skills ended up with
immuno-suppression. This was, believe me, a real breakthrough.
The medical scientific community began to look at disease processes in a new
light. The British Medical Journal now reported a very strong relationship
between breast cancer and women who were handling stressors poorly. In fact,
another study showed that women who were severely depressed were almost four
times more likely to die from all causes over a five year follow-up than
those who were not. Another study following the progression of HIV showed
that those with immuno-suppression (from poor coping skills) doubled the
rate of progression of the disease, compared to those with
For my money, this is enough. There is some scientific basis for my “Sabai
dii samur” and it is that positive thought that I present to you today. Now,
“How are you?” And if your reply is “All right, I suppose, but I’m still
trying to shake off a cold,” then just remember that the reason the cold is
hanging on might just be related to PNI.
Heart to Heart
I am writing to let you know that two years ago whilst in company of
friends in Old Blighty (England for your Thai readers), I met this very
nice Thai lady who I will (for the obvious reasons) call Nuch.
She was (at the time) a bit older than me, she said 48 and I was 30, she
had a very nice restaurant, her own nice three Bedroom Semi in a ‘leafy
suburb’ (no mortgage), and being divorced she had a very comfortable
life. I was married with three kids and living on a combination of state
handouts (Dole) and some of my wife’s cleaning money. Nuch and I had a
relationship that my wife couldn’t afford and we stayed in nice hotels
and ate nice food etc. Nuch would also regularly give me money as I told
her I was ‘in-between jobs’. I left my wife and kids (Nuch did not know
I was married) and moved in with Nuch.
One year later due to my unstoppable urge for the late nights, ladies,
drinks and the bookies, Nuch’s restaurant was repossessed and due to the
bank loans the house was sold to pay for creditors. My wife took my sad
excuses and I’m back in company of her (well I have a bit on the side of
course). The dole let me use the computer too so I can email you and
chat to the ladies. Nuch is broke in the cold and working as a cleaner
in some cheap B & B in Blackpool. Her visa has expired and she is
scraping a few ‘quid’ to get a ticket home. What do you think to this
I tried to send you a gift box with the choccies and a Dom Perignon 76,
but Nuch’s Visa card (yes I have it) has been cancelled, sorry. I send
you love in this email as that is free. Got to go have to sign on.
Mr Fagan xxxx
Dear Mr. Fagan,
Wow! What a wonderful story! And a fairy story at that. I happen to know
for a fact that there is no Dom Perignon ‘76 left anywhere, so that part
of your letter was an obvious make-up. And where in the Dickens did you
get that pseudonym? Are you trying to make out that you are a wily con
artist too, as in Oliver Twist? Shame on you. You bring the name and
reputation of an honest con into disrepute! I hope that all older Thai
ladies take note of the scurrilous, unfeeling, conniving, grasping
nature of you young British people, while professing undying love no
doubt, and realize that all you are after is their money, and will do
anything underhand to get it.
PS: Have you tried using the Visa card in the old slitz machines?
Sometimes you can find a bottle shop that isn’t on line and you could
get me a couple of bottles of Veuve Clicquot!
I have not been here too long, but have met a really wonderful woman who
I would like to marry. She is in her mid-40s, like me, and amazingly has
never been married, like me too. I have been dating with her for over
six months, and I am quite sure that she and I would make it as we are
so alike in so many ways as well. How difficult is it to get married
here? Would a Thai wedding be recognized by the authorities back home
(UK)? I would like to make sure that she would be protected if something
should happen to me afterwards.
Congratulations on finding your life’s mate, after what has obviously
been a long wait. I hope it will all have been worthwhile. Yes, your
Thai wedding would be recognized by the British authorities, but that
covers the registered wedding at the local Amphur office. The weddings
celebrated in the village are very elaborate affairs with much ceremony,
such as counting the “sin-sod” (dowry) and the tying of sacred threads
around the wrists of the couple (sai-sin) all in the presence of
generally nine monks. Unfortunately, despite the ceremony and payment of
the dowry, these weddings are not accepted by overseas authorities, so
even if you have the ceremonial wedding, you must also register
yourselves as man and wife at the Amphur office. This is not a simple
affair either, as because you are a foreigner you have to get an
affidavit signed by your embassy to state that you are free to marry
(not currently married, and if divorced you have to show the originals
of divorce papers) and all this has to be translated into Thai, the only
official language accepted for legal documents in Thailand (funny that)
and verified by the Department of Legalization, a government office in
Bangkok. Go to the Amphur some weeks before the agreed wedding date to
get the full details required, as it is a lengthy process. However,
there is one little detail, but important one, my Petal. You must ask
the lady first! You may also be required to speak to her parents and get
their permission. Tradition is important in Thailand. Save me some
chocolates and a bottle of bubbly from the reception party!
Camera Class: by
The film and digital discussion continues
Two weeks ago I discussed the relative advantages and
disadvantages vis-à-vis using digital and print film. This
subject had come up following a letter published in the Bangkok
Post, and my column in return prompted a response from a reader
(and photographer) in America. It is a reasonably lengthy
letter, but the writer brings out some very salient points, and
I have published it in toto.
just finished reading your latest column; ‘Technology is
sometimes too smart?’ I found it a thought provoking comparison
between film and digital cameras. I used film from 1970 until
2005. Enjoyed all those years of snapping away. Did not enjoy
having to pay the development costs when I did not use the
entire roll of film. Or having everything printed when some were
not worth looking at. Then my parents bought me a digital for
Christmas 2004 and have not looked back.
“I have a few quibbles with the BKK Post letter writer that was
having problems with the digital revolution.
“1. I now have a Kodak Z612 and I can get 784 photos with a 1 GB
SD chip using standard compression and 4.0mp settings. 4 million
mp is plenty unless you are enlarging to a huge size. This is
considerably more than the 432 frames the letter writer has at
his disposal after carrying 12 rolls through countless airport
scanners. If I go to 5.3mp setting so I can enlarge to a huge
size, I still get 596 shots versus his 432. The nod must go to
digital on this score.
“2. He states that he has to buy three memory chips at 3,000
baht each to get the same storage as his 432 frames. Nonsense.
My 1 GB SD has 596 frames at a high setting and cost me $15 at
Fry’s here in Vegas. I can get a 1 GB SD chip online for $10.
Long way from his stated 3,000 baht each. He is either
exaggerating for effect or shopping at the wrong store. Not a
valid complaint IMO.
“3. I can delete the shots I know are crap and free up space on
my SD chip. Or I can go into almost any photo shop, burn a CD
and free up the entire chip. I did this in Vietnam, Laos,
Cambodia and Thailand. Cost $3 per CD. Don’t have or need a
laptop. Lack of electricity therefore is not an issue. Perhaps
Nepal, Tibet and rural Russia do not have shops ready for the
digital revolution, but I also doubt they can print anything
worthwhile for a film camera either. I seriously doubt the
writer would trust his precious photos to a rural photo shop in
Tibet. This quibble is without merit as I already have more
frames than his 432 without deleting the obviously poor quality
shots as I travel. He has to wait until processing and pay to
see what he has captured. I know on the LCD screen what I have
for free. No comparison between film/digital in this area.
“4. Now battery objections. I took four Energizer e Lithium AA
batteries with me on my last trip to Asia. I got over 1,200
shots with four AA batteries. This was with my Fuji FinePix
A210. If I used an Energizer e Lithium CRV3 Li-ion I would get
over 600 shots with my Kodak Z612 with one battery. No need for
another battery or a charger. Just buy Lithium. I do have
rechargeable CRV3s for my Kodak and the charger is so small it
is a non issue. About the size of a pack of cigarettes. This
quibble is without merit.
“In closing, the BKK Post letter writer obviously loves his film
camera and is finding reasons to knock the digital revolution.
Fine. We all have freedom to choose what we buy and use. I have
used both film and digital and will never buy a roll of film
“Thanks for your column and lending an ear, Mike.”
Mike, I believe you are quite correct on most of your points.
However, I can also understand the BKK Post writer’s love for
his film camera. Which is why I still use an FM2N.
Money Matters: Graham
Macdonald MBMG International Ltd.
Orbis, Part 1
An interesting report this quarter from our preferred equity managers within
our own portfolios - Orbis Investment management.
Their global equity fund invests in equities all over the world and seeks to
earn higher returns than world stock-markets. The Fund’s Benchmark is the
FTSE World Index, including income (“World Index”). The Fund’s currency
exposure is managed relative to that of the World Index.
It’s worth comparing their annualised performance with their benchmark:
Their approach is bottom-up - i.e., they seek out individual stocks,
irrespective of where these are located. This is exactly what you want from
a chosen equity allocation but the opposite from what you should demand from
a portfolio manager.
Interestingly, though, this approach has seen the fund’s exposure to
companies listed in the US steadily rise from 27% to 42% over the past year.
This has been funded out of the reductions in exposure to Japan (27% to 15%)
and South Africa (7% to 2%). All of these shifts bring the Fund’s country
weighting much closer to benchmark weighting, but they are nonetheless
driven by the bottom-up stock-by-stock decisions, and not by top-down
macroeconomic analysis of specific countries.
Orbis point to recent decisions to buy stocks such as Microsoft and Cisco in
the US and to sell Sasol in South Africa as exemplifying this dynamic. Sasol
is an integrated oil, gas and chemical company with industry-leading
synthetic fuels technology. The Fund initiated a position in Sasol in 2000
when the oil price was around $30 per barrel. Aside from its valuation, at
10 times reasonably depressed earnings, what attracted them most to Sasol
was that it owned and operated the world’s largest commercial coal to
liquids facility and had viable plans for commercialising the technology.
Moreover, unlike most global oil majors that were struggling to replace oil
reserves, Sasol had in excess of 30 years of “reserves” in the form of coal
So why did they sell? Firstly, the share price more than quadrupled and
relied on continued high oil prices. Secondly, the high oil price brought
with it increased risk that taxes would be levied on what could be perceived
as windfall profits, adding further uncertainty to the company’s potential
for future earnings growth. Lastly, while the stock was still not expensive,
they believed Sasol was no longer as attractive as other global investment
opportunities that their research process had uncovered.
During the time of Sasol’s great run, large-cap growth stocks were terrible
performers, badly hung over from the gluttony of the 90s. As a result, they
have been until recently the least-loved market segment. Down 70% from its
2000 high, Cisco is typical of these. It is the world’s leading manufacturer
of internet networking equipment with dominant positions across various
segments. Throughout its history, it has been extremely well managed and has
consistently leveraged its high commitment to research and development and
technology leadership to great competitive effect. This has translated into
superior historic growth rates, both in magnitude and quality, a
relationship Orbis fully expect will continue into the future.
Cisco is financially sound, supported by a sizable cash stockpile and ample
free cash flow generation. Despite Cisco’s exceptional quality and track
record of success, the Fund was able to buy it at 17 times next year’s
earnings, almost in line with the average p/e of the US stock-market. Cisco
happens to be a US company and Sasol South African, so Cisco’s purchase and
Sasol’s sale translated into a large shift in country exposure. But, as can
be seen in the above descriptions, neither decision was based on benchmark
exposure or macroeconomic analysis. They merely reflect the same competitive
process for investment capital within the portfolio that has successfully
driven the Fund’s investment process since its inception.
Above, we have described a bit about one of our preferred equity managers
within our own portfolios - Orbis Investment management. As well as their
global equity fund, we also hold their Japan fund which invests in Japanese
equities in Yen, US$ and Euro classes and their market neutral funds.
The Benchmark of the Japan Fund’s Yen Class is the Japanese stock market,
measured by the Tokyo Stock Price Index, including income (“TOPIX”). The Yen
Class does not hedge currencies and, therefore, is exposed to the Japanese
Yen. This US$ and Euro fund includes currency hedging.
It’s worth comparing their annualised performance with their benchmarks:
In all markets, Orbis buy stocks that are selling at a significant discount
to what they believe is their intrinsic value. Whilst this approach often
leads to stocks that satisfy the low price-to-earnings or price-to-book
definitions of value so popular today, there are times when they’ll pick
something that doesn’t meet the more traditional value metrics. The key
reason for this is the inclusion of growth and quality measures in their
assessment of intrinsic value. They are both qualitative and quantitative in
The Japan Fund’s history with Sundrug serves as an excellent example of
this. They first acquired Sundrug in 1998 (at the Japan Fund’s inception).
At that time, it was a small drugstore chain with a mere 83 stores and 41
billion Yen in revenues. They were very attracted to the opportunity to buy
a company with a demonstrated high teens growth rate, 10% return on equity
and seemingly limitless future growth potential, even if they had to pay 14
times earnings and 1.6 times book value.
This call was richly rewarded over the ensuing two years, capturing a 6-fold
price increase before they exited the shares in 2000. In 2003, they began
repurchasing the shares at Y350 (split-adjusted) after a correction of
nearly two-thirds, and the Orbis Japan Fund now owns over 7% of the company.
At today’s price of Y2675 and valuation of 23 times earnings and 4.2 times
book value, Sundrug could hardly be considered a traditional value stock.
However, they continue to hold it because its other attributes look similar
to the first time they purchased it back in 1998. Historic earnings growth
has topped 20%, matching its return on equity. Sundrug continues to have
excellent management, and importantly, still has plenty of room to grow
before becoming mature. With less than 1% market share and 415 stores Orbis
believe Sundrug continues to have the ability to grow earnings faster than
15% per annum going forward (as opposed to 5% for the Japanese stock-market
as a whole).
Sundrug operates in perhaps the most fragmented of all industries, with
chains representing less than 20% of the some 74,000 drugstores in Japan.
With a generation of entrepreneurs who started their family stores after
World War II preparing to retire, this is a sector ripe for consolidation
and the expectation is that Sundrug is well positioned for that environment.
It is not the largest drugstore chain in Japan but it is the most
profitable. Its business model was forged in the most competitive region for
drugstores in Japan, Kanto, and it maintains the highest margins in the
Sundrug has strict criteria for site selection and is disciplined in not
overpaying for locations. As a result, it is unique in the industry as it
very rarely has to close stores.
Orbis believe Sundrug is a great example of the opportunity that can avail
itself when a market becomes intently focused on valuation at the expense of
quality and growth. Orbis expect to continue to hold this stock until the
pendulum swings and the price offered by the market adequately compensates
for the stock’s potential.
To be continued…
The above data and research was compiled from sources believed to be
reliable. However, neither MBMG International Ltd nor its officers can accept
any liability for any errors or omissions in the above article nor bear any
responsibility for any losses achieved as a result of any actions taken or not
taken as a consequence of reading the above article. For more information please
contact Graham Macdonald on [email protected]
Your Health & Happiness: New approach to tackling TB in Chiang Dao
A community project in Chiang Dao named TB Photovoice Thailand is using
photos and stories to tackle often hidden issues surrounding TB and HIV
infection, diagnosis, treatment and coping mechanisms. The project is
proving that a picture can indeed speak a thousand words, but even more
than that, it can help influence social change.
Thailand is ranked 18th among countries with high TB incidence according
to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) TB 2006 report, and has
approximately 570,000 people living with HIV. It is estimated an average
of 30 percent of people living with HIV and AIDS are co-infected with
TB. HIV infection increases the demands on TB programs through the need
for better diagnostic tools, monitoring and treatment. A combination of
HIV-related tuberculosis (TB) and an inadequate provision of treatment
and community awareness among a myriad of migrant groups is reversing
gains made in TB control.
Coordinator Kaetwa Sangsuk demonstrates how to use cameras for their
Clinical diagnosis of TB is more difficult in co-infected patients,
since similar symptoms can be caused by various infections. In addition,
there’s also increasing evidence of multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) in
In the TB Photovoice project, people with experiences of TB take photos
of their daily lives, and write personal essays based on the pictures,
with an ultimate goal to influence change in the way society perceives
According to Caroline Wang, creator of the photo-voice methodology,
photo-voice is a process by which people can identify, represent and
enhance their community through a specific photographic technique.
“This project aims to raise awareness on TB and HIV in Thailand. Through
pictures people can tell their stories, share some of their problems,
and give recommendations as individuals affected by TB and HIV,” said
Kaetwa Sangsuk, TB Photovoice Thailand’s coordinator.
Poverty and a vast diversity in language and culture posit a challenge
to reach immigrant groups with much-needed TB/HIV education and
treatment. It is clear that to be effective TB/HIV services in Thailand
require an active engagement with local communities, especially migrant
groups that are often marginalized.
Equipped with essential local knowledge and experience, TB/HIV control
programs can exponentially increase their effectiveness. Local
communities need to be involved in the planning, implementation and
evaluation of TB control programs.
“Informed local participation is the most direct way to address
obstructive misconception and to facilitate educational outreach,”
states a U.N. Millennium Project report titled “Investing in strategies
to reverse the global incidence in TB.”
Using pictures to communicate about TB/HIV in low literacy contexts, can
significantly improve community awareness as well as the impact of
medical responses to the disease.
Participants in the TB Photovoice Thailand project came from a TB/HIV
support group in Chiang Dao and Muang district in Chiang Mai province,
in the north of Thailand.
Chiang Dao — a border district — has a population of 74,000, and nearly
half are immigrants. The majorities of the migrants are poor and work in
the agricultural sector. The district has one of the highest TB
prevalence rates in Chiang Mai province.
The participants received training on how to take photographs, and were
then given cameras to enable them to take pictures that document their
experiences of TB.
Through taking and writing about the pictures, participants undergo a
process that helps them to introspect about difficult issues associated
with TB and its implications to their health and community.
“All my pictures are about my experience with TB. They show the various
stages of TB, including treatment and recovery,” said Narai Daenchai,
29, a participant in the TB Photovoice project.
In 2005, Daenchai was diagnosed as TB-infected. Like many of the
project’s participants, Daenchai was already living with HIV but he knew
little about the connection between HIV and TB.
He fell sick and lost a lot of weight. He even locked himself away in
his room to keep away from attention until he finally sought treatment.
Throughout that period, his mother was his pillar of support. She fed
him and prayed for him. Today, Denchai thanks his mother for staying by
his side during his illness.
“I was in treatment for almost nine months; now everything is almost
back to normal except that I cannot do too much work because my lungs
are still weak,” said Daenchai.
Last year, he joined TB Photovoice through the Chiang Dao Hospital’s
People Living with HIV and AIDS support group.
“Taking pictures has enabled me to express myself and also to become a
messenger within my community,” said Daenchai. “I get all the
information that I can about TB, and the pass it on to people. I tell
people that it is possible to treat TB.”
In an attempt to reach out to the community, the photographs taken by
participants are also displayed at the Chiang Dao Hospital to help
attendants to gain knowledge about the disease.
Coming together at monthly sessions, participants get to share
experiences and feelings through the pictures and offer each other
Having someone in the community who has had personal experience with TB,
and can prove that it is treatable is a critical component in helping
communities to respond to the problem of TB.
“TB Photovoice project has enabled me to communicate to members in my
village about TB/HIV and how to prevent the problem. Also, knowing that
there are other people with the problem has helped me to cope,” said
Saengmuang Muangchongsang, 40, also a participant in the project. “I use
the photographs and stories to talk to people that may be affected by
Participants use pictures and their personal stories to advocate for
TB/HIV treatment in their communities.
At Chiang Dao Hospital, the participants maintain a bulletin board which
shows their pictures, stories and information about TB infection and
“The project is very good because by providing health communication
within our communities, it fills a gap left by government,” said
Nuttawardee Areenu, a nurse in the TB/HIV unit of Chiang Dao Hospital.
“There are many migrant groups who speak different languages in Chiang
Dao which makes health communication very difficult.”
TB Photovoice was founded in November 2004 by Romel Lacson shortly after
his wife Claudia and their unborn child succumbed to TB Meningitis in
The goal of the project is to provide local people around the world with
a voice to articulate best practices and obstacles toward TB
eradication, and to assist local communities to disseminate this
knowledge, including media awareness of the toll that TB exacts upon
millions of lives.
A bulletin board at the Chiang Dao Hospital
monitors their progress through pictures.
Educating through pictures to eliminate TB
in Chiang Dao.
Your Language Matters:
by Peter McKenzie-Brown
The Great Motivators
For teachers, four key factors affect the rate at which a student learns
a second language. (I am referring to external factors. Although they
clearly have roles to play, such considerations as attitude, aptitude
and previous experience in language learning don’t count in the context
of this discussion.)
The most important factor relates to the student’s primary motivation.
Language theorists often describe a language student’s primary form of
motivation as either instrumental or integrative motivation.
Instrumental motivation is the weaker form. Common among those learning
English, for example, with no intention of ever living in a country like
Britain or Canada, instrumental motivation is the prime mover of those
who want to learn a language as a tool for some secondary purpose –
talking to tourists, for example. Integrative motivation is a greater
force. It is the motivation of those who are learning a second language
in a new country, and they are learning the language so they can
integrate into a new society.
The second fundamental factor affecting language learning is the amount
of time the student spends in class and practicing the language.
Generally speaking, more motivated students spend more time; less
motivated students, less.
The third factor is the teacher’s approach (for example, communicative
language teaching or audiolingualism) to language teaching. The fourth
is the instructor’s teaching effectiveness and style.
You can probably see a big problem here. The myth of the great teacher
whose motivational abilities inspire her students to world-shattering
achievements is essentially flawed. I think of this as the paradox of
motivation. The student’s main motivator - integrative or instrumental
motivation - is the one factor the teacher essentially has no control
over. And that motivation drives the second most important factor behind
student success, time spent on task.
What’s a teacher to do? Accept this reality, and develop your ability to
motivate students in secondary ways. Primary motivation notwithstanding,
the teacher’s motivational skills are still critical for both learning
Good teachers use many teaching qualities to motivate students. These
include a combination of variation and structure in teaching activities.
They find ways to show the practical value of learning English. They
encourage and nurture their students, and many excellent teachers also
bring sympathy and empathy into the classroom. They make the physical
teaching space as compatible with learning as they can. They offer tools
for learning (for example, mnemonics) and they conduct the class in a
fair and balanced way. They also provide the students with consistency
and fairness, and they do everything they can to help the students feel
What TEFL teachers think: In a recent class, I discussed this problem
with my TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) students, and
asked them to brainstorm ways to motivate their students. They concluded
that there are five areas where the teacher can really make a
difference: in their lesson plans, in classroom management, in teaching
style, in testing and assessment and in professional development. By no
means were their ideas exhaustive, but they were good. Here is a
1. Create great lesson plans: Choose great topics. Provide interesting
and varied activities. Develop medium-term class themes. Have attainable
goals and objectives, which provide real challenges but seek progress,
not perfection. KISS (Keep it short and simple). And use authentic
materials and situations for classroom teaching.
2. Classroom management: Attend to your students’ comfort and
convenience. Find ways to visually represent class progress. Set up the
classroom effectively and use equipment as effectively as you can.
3. Teaching style: Your teaching style consists of attitude, presence
and rapport. Here are some comments on each.
• Attitude: Know your students’ names. Activate their prior knowledge
and nurture their abilities. Be knowledgeable and authoritative, but
modest. Be passionate about teaching. Be punctual. Dress and groom
• Presence: Empathize with your students. Enable your students to have
fun. Show your personality, and vary the ways you teach
• Rapport: Appeal to different learning styles, especially kinaesthetic.
Be conscious and respectful of your students’ culture or cultures. Give
genuine praise and recognition. Involve the students in their learning;
for example, use KWL (“what you know, what you want to know, what you
have learned”) charts to develop and measure class content. Offer
appropriate counsel and advice.
4. Assessment: Give your students good and regular assessment and
testing. Get them to help each other. Monitor the class through
feedback, and use prizes as rewards from time to time.
5. Professional development: Keep a log of your classroom performance,
on occasion get someone to video your performance, and periodically ask
a colleague or friend to assess your teaching. And take advantage of
whatever professional development training you can get your hands on. We
can always improve, and we must.
Peter McKenzie-Brown may be contacted at: [email protected]