Tribute presented at the 13th CLESOL by Averil Coxhead
For he’s a jolly good fellow: TESOLANZ lifetime award for Paul Nation The good news, folks, is that today we are recognising Emeritus Professor Paul Nation’s contribution to TESOLANZ. Paul joked with me last week that the best time to get a lifetime award would be at the start of a career – it would save a bit of money in membership fees! Paul tells me he was the first president of TESOLANZ, but there seems to be little corroborating evidence of that (or this could just be an example of collective memory fade).
He is a ‘local hero. A small town boy from Ohakune who is himself a life long learner of languages.
Paul maintains a steady and calming influence on the field. His work as a researcher in vocabulary studies, curriculum design, reading, and other areas provides us with a rich set of mantras. For example, what is the teacher’s role?; ‘The four strands’; and the 80/20 rule. I’m sure there are many more that come readily to mind. Paul is an extraordinary teacher educator. Through many years
of teaching on the Dip TESOL, MA, and PhD programmes at Victoria, he has inspired and encouraged many teachers, researchers, and students. I have benefited enormously from being one of Paul’s students myself.
In his writing, Paul thinks about his readers. After all, why write something that is difficult to people to read and understand? His work is highly accessible and wide reaching. He’s prolific – just this year he has written three books at least. One of them, about what ESL teachers need to know, is soon to be available for free on the internet. Many other useful materials are also available for free on his
website. Thanks, Paul.
A quick glance through the last TESOLANZ newsletter revealed that Paul had been a keynote speaker for three branches over a period several months so fare this year. He readily travels to speak at local branches. At a time when people seem to be complaining all the time about not having any time, Paul is never too busy to respond to requests to talk with teachers. Just recently I was asked to give a talk to a secondary interest group in Wellington but I couldn’t do it because I will be out of the country. I suggested asking Paul. The teacher replied, “That’s like asking Mick Jagger to sing a few numbers at your mu m’s birthday party”, but she asked him, and he said yes.
We all appreciate Paul’s vast reservoir of knowledge. He knows a great deal from his own research, but he also knows a great deal about the research of other people. He is a world leader and is also a fantastic teacher. Paul provides a critical but kind analysis of other’s work. I will never forget him suggesting that he would like to see more words from the Academic Word List in my writing when I was an MA student.
The amazing thing is that we could be speaking on behalf of people in many different countries who value Paul as much as we do. We don’t know the half of what you do and have done for TESOL and TESOLANZ, Paul, but we want to acknowledge your time, expertise, humour, energy and mana. This lifetime award is richly deserved. Thank you so very much.
Pat has ably taken the role of volunteer TESOLANZ newsletter editor for more than ten years, and in this way has made an enormous contribution to the field of TESOL in Aotearoa New Zealand. Her knowledge of the field, from its early days, is wide as can be seen in the very informative article in the July 2010 newsletter: CLESOL beginnings. At times it has been difficult to get contributions from our members for the newsletter, but Pat has cheerfully kept on producing issue after issue drawing on her wide contacts and credibility within the TESOL field to somehow conjure up a quality newsletter. In the face of few offerings, Pat has managed to deliver balanced newsletters that focus on a theme and also include regular sections such as the popular teaching tips, book reviews and branch and sector reports. The newsletters have helped develop and support a community of teachers who often have little support in their daily work as ESOL teachers, and who otherwise would not be so connected nationally. To achieve this she has drawn on her extensive experience in both the secondary and tertiary sectors.
Although officially “retired” from active teaching, Pat has continued to be active in the TESOL community in other ways, too, attending and contributing to conferences at her own expense.
The TESOL community is deeply indebted to Pat for the enthusiasm and time that she has put into the big job for many years.
In honour of Dorothy Brown, TESOLANZ has made a donation to the Aotearoa New Zealand Peace and Conflict Studies Centre (ANZPCSC) Trust. The money is for the creation and distribution of ESOL teaching and learning materials for adults in the field of peace education.
Further information on the ANZPCSC can be found at http://www.peacetrust.org.nz
We encourage TESOLANZ members to add to this contribution. The ANZPCSC has charitable status, so donations are tax deductible.
Please check the website for details of how to donate, or send cheques to:
P O Box 56-719
In addition, the first issue of Password for 2012 was a special issue with a Peace theme in honour of Dorothy Brown, the great English teacher and peace worker who, sadly for us all, passed away in December. This issue was put together at her request and she knew and approved the broad outline before she died.
Password is non profit making and the writing and editing are done voluntarily. Subscriptions cover other costs.