Scott Hipsher

Scott Hipsher's blog on Ajarn.com


Are degrees required to teach?

Opinion continues to be divided

Three things which seem unavoidable are death, taxes and debates on ajarn.com about the requirement for teachers of having a degree. Those without degrees generally argue a degree is not necessary, while those with degrees will normally make the case a degree should be required.


Choice as a source of wealth

Real "wealth" is not primarily about having material possessions or money

Being a native speaker of the language people around the world use gives me wealth as it is an incredible source of international career opportunities.


A view from the student’s side of the classroom

Perspectives on becoming a student again

For the most part, I was teaching (in a variety of different capacities) during the years I was also pursuing my graduate studies. Now once again I am alternating between the front and rear of the classroom, and this can be an effective method to help one to keep the student's perspective in mind when the time of the day comes for one to assume the role of teacher.


Coming back home

Can second time around ever be as good as the first?

Returning to live in Thailand is quite different from coming to live here for the first time. Instead of everything one encounters seeming exotic, one mostly senses the familiar.


Poverty reduction in Asia

How poor countries benefit from foreign investment

Working in China (but maintaining a residence in Thailand) I could write volumes about what I think is “wrong” in China, but I also know that the country has implemented the biggest and fastest poverty reduction program the world has ever seen, and it has been done by going against the advice of most western economic experts and without foreign aid.


Cross-cultural education for teachers

Adding to opinion and speculation about the teaching industry

When writing about the ESL industry and Western English teachers in Thailand or other Asian countries, it should be kept in mind the industry is extremely fragmented, unregulated and there is a startling lack of reliable statistics or data about the industry and the teachers working in the industry.


Making the transition

Reasons why people teach English and the possible career paths

Foreign ESL teachers in Thailand or other parts in Asia are a diverse lot and have many different motivations for teaching abroad.


Student mistakes

Thoughts on error correction

As teachers, do we sometimes get too caught up in finding and punishing mistakes? Can more focus on creating quality work as opposed to avoiding errors improve the learning process?


ESL teachers and global poverty reduction

Teaching English is a valuable contribution to our global society

I recently signed an agreement with a publisher for a new book which will focus on the private sector's role in poverty reduction in Asia. It is always exciting to have an agreement for publication for a writing project and poverty reduction is a topic I am passionate about.


The power of positive thinking

A positive attitude can make a teacher's life in Thailand much happier

Some foreign teachers love engaging with Thai culture while others find each day a struggle to overcome culture clashes. All the teachers experience the same culture, so why such different reactions?


English teaching as part of your career path

How to use teaching skills for career changes

While teaching English in Thailand or other foreign country might not be the normal path to climbing the corporate ladder, there are skills and abilities one can gain from teaching English that can be useful for individuals intending to eventually change careers.


Win-win teachers

How to become a more valued employee

Whether in the staffroom, lunchroom, shop floor, barracks, or around the water cooler next to the cubicles, the main topic of conversation has always been how incompetent the bosses and management were.


Those who can, do; those who can't, teach.

Is it necessary to have practical experience in order to teach it?

As a professor of Management and Business Studies, I have been asked a few times in the classroom, usually after lecturing on how to run a global enterprise, by bright and inquisitive students why I wasn't actually in management as opposed to teaching it.


What are we here to teach?

Should we see ourselves as missionaries for Western culture values?

As foreigners teaching in a foreign country, what are the expectations and where are the boundaries?


Is TEFL teaching a career or a job?

Perhaps it's not such an easy question to answer

Should an individual accepting a position as a TEFL teacher think this is the first step in a career or should one consider it “only” as a job?


Entrepreneurial teachers?

Nobody owes you a career. Your career is literally your business.

Are entrepreneurial attitudes and actions beneficial only to business owners? Or can all of us, teachers included, benefit from thinking and acting like an entrepreneur? Can a teacher think like an entrepreneur without starting his or her own school?


New year's resolutions

How to achieve your new year goals

It is the time of the year that many of us engage in an annual ritual of making New Year’s resolutions, which more times than not are broken before the end of the first week of the new year.


The middle kingdom

Impressions of teaching in China

While many in my shoes go off to the Middle East, I first went to Vietnam and then I found a gig in China working as a visiting professor for an American university operating in this country. It didn’t take long after arriving in China to realize that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore


The future of teaching in higher education

Temptations to make predictions about the future is irresistible.

Will the internet, and now mobile devices that one can use to access the web at any location at any time, fundamentally change the role of the teacher/professor in education?


What a long, strange trip it's been

The downsides and the 'rewards' of living life as an independent expatriate

Becoming an "independent" expatriate requires far more self-reliance and ability to adapt than does staying in your home surrounded by family and friends or being a traditional expatriate and being supported by an organizational structure that usually spans both the home country and new location.


Impressions of home

Observations on a country and culture I'd almost forgotten

I was pleasantly surprised at how friendly, polite and nice the people were. Maybe this was because I was primarily in smaller towns and rural areas, but even while in the airports in Chicago and Denver, it just seemed so easy to strike up conversations with the people I were interacting with.


Pros and cons of teaching English

It's all about the trade-offs

If one has a strong case of wanderlust, teaching English can be your ticket to getting paid to travel to world, or it can allow one to follow one’s significant other to different locations and still find work.


Expatriates, higher education and globalization

Trends and opportunities in higher education

If one can speak, read and write Thai at the level needed to study at a university, there are an abundance of educational opportunities available locally.


Reflections on culture and the political situation

I wish I had the answers to Thailand's political problems.

It is difficult to pass up the opportunity to reflect on the recent tragic events that have happened in Bangkok and in other locations throughout the country. The ongoing political confrontations of the past 3 years do have an effect on all of us with a connection to the country.


Live in the East: Work in the West

opportunities in on-line education

What if one could have it both ways? Work in the West, live in the East. Get paid developed economy wages while spending on developing economy prices. Is this possible?


Theravada Buddhism and the workplace

How religious traditions can have an effect on a work environment

A common source of friction for teachers working in Thailand is the perceived lack of detailed planning. In order to create detailed plans, one needs to feel fairly confident of being able to predict the future.


ESL industry analysis

How attractive to a potential teacher is the ESL industry as a whole?

One of the most common tools used to analyze an industry's attractiveness is Porters Five Forces Model developed by the famous Harvard professor and management guru, Michael Porter.


So you want to be a writer?

You'll need to develop a thick skin and actually enjoy being lonely

While remaining a great distance from being a “successful” writer, I have formed a few opinions which I would like to share with other ajarns (or anyone else reading this) thinking of becoming writers.


Teaching in an intercultural environment

What are some of the issues facing educators in a foreign land?

Studying culture is no substitute for the practical experience of working and living abroad, however having some mental frameworks in which to analysis experiences could be helpful in adjusting to working and living in a new cultural environment.


The power of expectations

Getting on with employers, colleagues and fitting into the system

Most old hands have heard countless tales of Western teachers having trouble with their Thai (or Korean, Cambodian, Malaysian or Japanese depending on where the teacher is currently working) bosses. Much of this may have to do with unrealistic expectations.


English teachers and other independent expatriates

Successfully working in a different cultural environment is a skill

While digging through hundreds of articles, both academic and otherwise, while doing background research for a book on expatriates in Asia, I found most writers and researchers made four key assumptions about expatriates.


Featured Jobs

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Academic Tutors

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Filipino Teachers (Many Positions)

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Featured Teachers

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    Filipino, 28 years old. Currently living in Thailand

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    American, 23 years old. Currently living in Thailand

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    Indian, 28 years old. Currently living in India

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    Filipino, 25 years old. Currently living in Philippines

  • Njonkoa


    Cameroonian, 29 years old. Currently living in Thailand

  • Christopher


    Filipino, 43 years old. Currently living in Thailand

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