Site, blog, and software back online

April 19th, 2007
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Our main server failed Monday morning and our site, blog, email, and web applications were offline until Wednesday. We’ve set up a new (bigger, better) dedicated server with a different provider, and everything is back to normal. Any email that was bounced back can be resent now. My apologies for any inconvenience, and thanks for your understanding.

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Adios America Latina

July 18th, 2005
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Apologies all around for the unannounced blogging break.

Since my last post we’ve left Caracas and re-located to the US.

I’d lived in Latin America for 15 years, developed business English projects in 9 countries, and worked with thousands of students and teachers. I loved every minute of it. But for the last couple of years I’d been planning on moving back to my home country.

This move home was transformed from a plan into a plane ticket by an urgent medical issue (I’m fine now, thanks!) that came up in March. I decided to return to the US for surgery and the three months of follow-up treatment.

Anyway, I decided to stay.

So I’m set up in Miami now: new apartment, new company, new projects, new challenges. Same approach to language teaching.

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New Year – new books

January 20th, 2005
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I spent a wonderful 30 days with family over the holidays – in Florida and Colorado – and returned to Caracas last week. The Colorado – Venezuela transition made for a striking nature juxtaposition: last Tuesday I was mountain hiking in Eldorado Canyon in the snow (starkly beautiful) and two days later I was mountain hiking in the Avila National Park in the jungle (lushly beautiful).

Cool.

Also cool is…lots of new books. I can’t get the reading I need down here, and shipping to Caracas is prohibitively expensive, so of course in the US I went wild with Amazon’s free shipping (my luggage was heavy). Here’s my take on the first two reads, both on entrepreneurship:

A Good Hard Kick in the Ass by Rob Adams goes over the tech company start-up drill from a VC’s perspective. This isn’t where my company’s at; still, there were some useful points for me:

  • brilliant ideas are common – the only thing that counts is “execution capability” (significance for my project: my nifty language teaching software idea doesn’t mean squat at this point).
  • you may think you know your customer, but you’re probably clueless – know and validate your customers and your market, again and again (significance for my project: the fact that I’ve taught, managed, and consulted on business English with about 50 multinationals over the last 15 years doesn’t mean squat, either).

See why the title is appropriate?

The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki – Only halfway through, but I can state with confidence…buy this book. Guy Kawasaki was on the original Macintosh team at Apple, and is famous for his brilliantly entertaining Silicon Valley conference presentations. Whether you want to start a business, a project, or a new learning technology initiative in your university ESL department, you’re going to have to sell the idea to someone – and then get going on it….Upcoming: Rod Ellis’ Task-based Language Learning and Teaching (typically Ellis at 400 pages)

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OK, here we go…

January 18th, 2005
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Hey! I’m Cleve, and I’m a business English teacher and consultant currently based in Caracas. Most of the time I’m running a software start-up; we’re building a web application that helps English teachers improve the language performance of their adult students. I also teach classes and workshops, and consult for corporate customers on effective language program design and management.

So, why this blog?

Well, first off, I’ve just begun a short online course on using blogs for language teaching, either with students or as a reflective tool (so far, the course is great – a community of practice of 150+ professionals from over 30 countries). Starting a personal blog is one of the Week 1 assignments. So this is the proximate cause of English360.

But of course I’ve been meaning to start blogging for a year or two now. I have a lot of ideas about my profession, and I’d like to share them with you. Agree or disagree, both or neither, but share your thoughts in the comments section….

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