David Nunan

David Nunan

Tokyo Journal columnist Dr. David Nunan is a former president of the TESOL International Association, the world's largest language teaching organization and the world's leading textbook series author. Vice-President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Anaheim University Graduate School of Education, David is a world-renowned linguist and best- selling author of English language teaching textbooks for such publishers as Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press and Thomson Learning. His English language teaching textbook series Go For It is the largest selling textbook series in the world with total sales exceeding 2.5 billion books. David has been involved in teaching graduate programs for prestigious institutions like the University of Hong Kong, Columbia University, the University of Hawaii, the Monterey Institute for International Studies, and many more.

Tuesday, 09 July 2019 20:48

Global Educator David Nunan

Teaching to the Heart and Head

In teacher education seminars and conferences, a common warm-up task is for the workshop leader to ask participants to take a few minutes to think of an inspirational teacher that they had in school or elsewhere, to identify what it was that made this person inspirational, and pinpoint what qualities that person had. I feel uncomfortable when I get asked to do this task. I can readily remember a lot of uninspiring teachers, but not very many inspirational ones.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017 19:30


Transforming Education Through the Virtual Classroom

"...learning can, and does, occur wherever we happen to be."

THE title of this column is "David Nunan's Global Classroom." But what does this really mean? How can a classroom be “global?” Before we address this question, we need to decide what the word “classroom” really means. To paraphrase the dictionary definition, it refers to a room, typically in a school, in which a group of students are taught. If this is the case, then adding the adjective “global” before “classroom” would seem odd, or even downright contradictory. In this article, I want to argue why we can no longer think of a classroom in the traditional sense as a space simply defined by four walls, a ceiling and a floor, inhabited by a teacher and students, and created for the purposes of acquiring knowledge.

Friday, 26 February 2016 00:00

Instructor or Educator

David Nunan's Global Classroom

Instructor or Educator: What’s the Difference?

Think of all the terms that are used to describe someone who works in the world of learning: teacher (the most commonly used term), instructor, tutor, demonstrator, professor, educator... The list goes on. In this article I want to explore the distinction between “instructor” and “educator.” Let me begin with a story.

Thursday, 16 July 2015 23:23

Where to Stay in Seoul

Where to Stay in Seoul

Park Hyatt Hotel, Seoul

The Park Hyatt Hotel, Seoul is full of surprises–starting with the check-in area located on the 24 floor, at the top of the hotel. Adjacent to the reception area, guests in the lobby lounge can view the fashionable Gangnam District through the glass surrounding the indoor swimming pool. “The most spectacular views in any hotel are on the top floor,” said Janet Lim, marketing communications manager. “In most hotels, these views are only available to those who have access to the executive lounge or the expensive lounge bars, which normally dominate the upper floor of the hotel. Here the views are available to everyone.”

Thursday, 16 July 2015 22:54

Where to Eat in Hong Kong

Where to Eat in Hong Kong

121BC Hong Kong

Restaurant 121BC in the Soho neighborhood of Hong Kong's central business district suggests through its interior layout and design, that sharing is fundamental to its dining experience. You will not only be sharing your food with friends, but will also be sharing your experience with fellow diners; whether you sit at the banquet table that runs the length of the room, at the bar, or along the row of stools that line the waist-to-ceiling-high window looking on to Peel Street.

Thursday, 16 July 2015 00:00

Third-Culture Kids

David Nunan's Global Classroom

Third Culture Kids

My two children were born in Australia and grew up in Hong Kong. The elder went to university in England, where she has lived ever since. The younger graduated from university in the United States, where she lived for five years, before returning to Hong Kong to live. Between them, they have studied a range of languages other than their native English including French, Mandarin, Spanish and Cantonese. Both of them are global citizens, comfortable inhabiting different cultures, and living, studying and working in different countries around the world. They also fit the definition of the ‘third culture kid.’

Thursday, 16 October 2014 22:40

How I Speak is Who I Am

How I Speak is Who I Am

EVERY now and then, I have a conversation that goes something like this:

New Acquaintance: So, where are you from?
Me: Australia.
New Acquaintance: And How long have you lived in Hong Kong?
Me: Around 20 years.
New Acquaintance: Wow! And you haven't lost your Australian accent.

I'm never quite sure how to respond.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014 23:36

Kyung-sook Shin

Kyung-sook Shin

Interview with the Award-Winning Author

Kyung-sook Shin is a celebrated author in her native South Korea. She made her literary debut in 1985, winning the Munye Joongang New Author Prize for her novella Winter Fables. She recently came to international attention as a result of her latest book, “Please Look After Mom,” being translated into many languages and set for distribution in 33 countries. The book is about a mother who disappears and the family’s desperate search to find her. It won the prestigious Man Asian Literary Prize for 2011, the Asian equivalent of the Man Booker Prize. Both the first Korean and the first woman to win the prize, she beat celebrated Asian authors such as Haruki Murakami and Anuradha Roy. TJ’s Hong Kong correspondent David Nunan caught up with Ms. Shin at the recent Hong Kong International Literary Festival where she was a featured speaker.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013 13:40

My Language Creates Me

My Language Creates Me

By David Nunan

I’VE never met Costica Bradatan, but I would like to. I recently came across a newspaper article he wrote in the International Herald Tribune. I like the International Herald Tribune even though I usually only get to read it when I come across a copy left in a coffee shop or when it is distributed for free on an international flight.

On this occasion, I was flying from Los Angeles to Hong Kong. The flight attendant handed me a copy of the International Herald Tribune and I began leafing through it while waiting for the in-flight movie to begin. But then I came across an article by this man I’d never met or heard of and I immediately forgot about the movie. The article was called “Born Again in a Second Language.” In it, Bradatan talks about what it is like to write in a second language. He begins his article by quoting a French philosopher, activist and writer who wrote: “For any man [or woman] a change of religion is as dangerous a thing as a change of language is for a writer. It may turn out to be a success, but it can also have disastrous consequences.” He goes on to argue that a language is a way of experiencing the world. “The world reveals itself in a certain manner to the Japanese writer, and in quite another to the one who writes in Finnish.” A writer’s language is more than just a tool. It’s a part of who they are. The implication here is that in order to write in another language you have to become a different person.

Monday, 12 August 2013 09:45

Dispelling Myths

Dispelling Myths

By Dr. David Nunan

ONE of the things that I enjoy doing is dispelling myths. My chosen field, TESOL, abounds with myths such as “You can only boast that you speak a language if you sound like a native speaker” or “You can never learn to speak a language to a high level of proficiency if you don’t start learning at an early age.”

The myth that I want to dispel here is common in Japan, and one that I come across time and time again. This is the notion that Japanese are somehow genetically predisposed not to be able to speak languages other than their own with any degree of proficiency. A related belief is that foreigners can’t learn Japanese.

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