2018 in Review

As 2018 draws to a close it's a time for reflection and making plans for what is to come.
2018 was awesome. Late 2017 I had a stroke of genius to super-simplify the bare bones of spoken English and present those bones in a way that any one, even those with no formal training could effectively coach a learner's conversation improvement. Sounds, words, sentences, connected speech, expressions and non-verbal clues are all there really is to dialogue and those topics broke down nicely into three separate booklets - Pronunciation, Conversation and Fluency.
I wrote the first booklet in November 2017 to fill my time productively while I got over a broken heart. At the end of January 2018 I had the great good fortune to be invited to stay for a month at a friend's beach house on the Gulf Coast of the USA. With computer in hand and pet dog on the front seat beside me I drove 18 hours from my home in Niagara Falls Canada to Dauphin Island, Alabama. It was a magical way to start a particularly productive year.
Book two was written in February. I went back to Canada in March to meet my brand new granddaughter and when April showed up icy and horrible, I headed straight back to Alabama to finish book three before May. Writing books is one thing, designing, editing, marketing, printing... are just as much work and took no small amount of time and money. In for a penny, in for a pound. I'm very proud of The Backpacker's Guide to Teaching English series that was completed by the autumn of 2018. Yeah!
The world doesn't stop just because you are writing a few books. My How Do You Say? sound dictionary #ESL resource book and app had to be updated and re-released. I was hired to teach Pronunciation workshops across Canada (I love doing those), my social media community had grown to capacity (you can only have 30,000 connections on LinkedIn which I think is silly) and I met a fellow education disruptor Anesh Daya on the internet. Anesh lives in Toronto only an hour or so away from my house. We meet for a chat in the summer of 2018 and the rest as they say is history. We suspected there was a big conversation for disruption waiting to be initiated so the idea to hold a Disruptive Education conference as soon as possible took hold. We picked a date, booked a venue and started canvassing for speakers. We didn't have to look far. Elizabeth Verway - small business guru, James Rice - Edutech expert, Anesh - Experiental Learning pioneer and me, all agreed to speak at the first Disruptive Education conference held November 3 & 4, 2018 at the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI) in Toronto. It was a great success.
The most exciting outcome of the conference was an energetic, growing community of way-showers who identify as coaches, and are committed to affecting change. The Language Coaching Association (LCA) was formed, meet bi-weekly at CSI, are currently creating a website and have planned the next Disruptive Education Conference for March 23 & 24, 2019!
All four books - three in the Backpacker series and How Do You Say? were printed and ready for the conference in November. There's nothing like a deadline to make you finish big projects. The app was updated and on the market by Christmas time. What a year!
In 2019 my first online course will be available in January to language students everywhere. My rickety old Thompson Language Center website will be revamped in the Spring. I have some more workshops scheduled. There is a new Accent vs. Intelligibility app in the works and I have been inspired by my grandchildren to start a completely new venture. Look for www.teachyourchildtoread.ca to offer literacy teaching support to parents because lets face it is extremely likely school is not going to teach your child to read, but you can! It's easy. Stay tuned. 2019 is going to be another productive, fun, interesting, progressive year!