Oxford University Press

English Language Teaching Global Blog


2 Comments

Remembering Ritsuko Nakata

Ritsuko NakataWe were saddened to learn of the recent passing of Ritsuko Nakata, co-author of the best-selling Let’s Go series and founder of the IIEEC Teacher Training Center. Ritsuko’s career was dedicated to the teaching of English to young learners.

Born and educated in the USA, Ritsuko moved to Japan early in her teaching career, where she began experimenting with more practical, effective ways to get children to learn English.  Her focus on getting students to ask questions as well as answer them and to thus be able to engage in more natural dialogue is a cornerstone of the Let’s Go approach.   The series was a pioneer when it was first published in 1992, setting the standard for many others that followed; now in its 5th edition, it remains a market leader. In fact, one of Ritsuko’s great pleasures was meeting English teachers who had studied with Let’s Go when they were children and who were now using the series in their own classrooms. She was a wonderful mentor and teacher trainer who could get roomfuls of teachers on their feet and practising her signature action-based routines. Always kind and always enthusiastic, she was especially skilled at inspiring new teachers, putting them at ease, and helping them to feel confident in their teaching.

 It’s no exaggeration to say that through her work, a lifetime of teaching, authoring, and training, Ritsuko has touched the lives of millions of primary teachers and students — in Japan where she lived, across Asia, and around the world. She leaves an amazing legacy and her loss will be keenly felt by the staff at OUP and all those who knew her.  Ritsuko touched so many lives here at OUP and in the world of ELT, and she will be missed by all who knew her. We send our deepest condolences to her husband and two daughters, as well as to her fellow Let’s Go authors.


4 Comments

Remembering Kathy Gude, ELT Author

Kathy GudeWe were saddened to learn recently that Kathy Gude, one our most prolific authors of English language teaching materials and a great friend of OUP, passed away in early August, following a brave battle with a long illness.

Kathy made an enormous contribution to our English language publishing, working with us for more than 35 years as author/co-author of the Matrix series and other successful titles, including Success at First Certificate, Proficiency Masterclass, Fast Class, Kickstart, Countdown, Aspire, Advanced Masterclass CAE, Advanced Result, CAE Advanced Listening and Speaking, and Venture into First, which many thousands of teachers and students have enjoyed using over the years. Everyone at OUP who was fortunate enough to work with Kathy held her in the highest regard and loved working alongside her.

Across all her numerous projects with OUP, Kathy brought extensive teaching, teacher training, and assessment experience and expertise. She was a very creative author and a master at crafting engaging and valuable content which has stood the test of time in ELT classrooms all around the world. Her extensive assessment expertise, which she developed as an item writer and paper chair for UCLES/Cambridge ESOL exams (now Cambridge Assessment English), meant that students using her books could – and still can – be confident of being well prepared for their exams. Kathy loved new challenges too, and one of those was authoring OUP’s first online workbook in 2009 – a project she took on with great enthusiasm, and which paved the way for the ELT online learning products that followed.

Kathy always worked hard, including on the promotion of her OUP courses – travelling to give her popular author talks in towns and cities around Italy, Greece and Eastern Europe. She loved talking to teachers that she met at these and other ELT events, and it was clear that she was widely respected by many for her professionalism and wisdom, and loved for her warmth of character. Many teachers and colleagues will also fondly remember Kathy for her beautifully coordinated, colourful outfits.

Kathy was immensely caring, generous, supportive and thoughtful. She was also full of fun and found joy in life – even at times when life was not easy. Kathy was a great listener and took a keen interest in the lives of everyone she met, always making time for them however much else she had going on. She was devoted to her husband, Peter, their three sons, and their grandchildren – our thoughts are with them.

Kathy touched so many lives here at OUP and in the world of ELT, and she will be sorely missed by everyone that had the honour of knowing her. Her legacy will live on at OUP and in the ELT community for many years to come.


1 Comment

How do people prefer to get the news today?

Wall of TV News screensAs part of our series of posts exploring a “question-centered” teaching approach, we asked Luciano Floridi, author of Information: A Very Short Introduction, to give us his thoughts on the above question, featured in the new course Q Skills for Success.

I am a philosopher of information, and I spend most of my time studying Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

I think people like to get their news “lessly”. First, effortlessly. We like to be informed, but there is a trade-off between what we are willing to do to get our news and their value. The less effort it takes the better.

Second, seamlessly. We like to move between different informational spaces without noticing any gap or barrier. I enjoy reading a magazine online at home and then keep listening to it while driving to my office.

Luckily, ICTs are good at “lessly” applications. They are lowering the barriers between us and the news we are interested in. This is user-friendliness. And they are lowering the barriers between different information formats and media.

This synchronisation between our information sources is increasingly transparent. Currently, such effortless and seamless access to news is causing a problem: too much information.

We would prefer to get our news painlessly. This third “lessly” is not here yet, but our future technologies will be smart enough to provide only what it is relevant to us and we care about – anytime, anywhere. That will be how people will prefer to get their news tomorrow.

Find out how you can use questions like “How do people prefer to get the news today?” in class.

———————————

Luciano Floridi is Research Chair in Philosophy of Information and UNESCO Chair of Information and Computer Ethics at the University of Hertfordshire, UK. He is also a fellow of St Cross College, University of Oxford UK and the author of Information: A Very Short Introduction (OUP).

Bookmark and Share