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Incidents in an Educational Life

A Memoir (of Sorts)

John M. Swales

Publication Year: 2013

Incidents in an Educational Life chronicles the educational journey of John M. Swales. A leading scholar in the field of Applied Linguistics and its subfield of English for Specific Purposes, Swales has taught across the globe in places such as Italy, Sweden, Libya, the United Kingdom, and the University of Michigan. His memoir offers a rare glimpse into the professional journey of a prominent scholar and educator. Incidents in an Educational Life explores the lessons Swales learned by teaching and by being taught. The story follows his gradual transformation from an English as a Second Language teacher to one of the leading international figures in his field, stopping along the way to tell the sometimes amusing, sometimes painful anecdotes that have made him the recognized educator he is today. His entertaining prose make this volume a must-read for anyone considering the field, or the many ways in which we all become teachers. John M. Swales is one of the leading international scholars in the field of English for Specific Purposes. He retired in the summer of 2006 from the University of Michigan after teaching at multiple universities overseas. He is the co-author of the international bestseller Academic Writing for Graduate Students (3rd ed.).

Published by: University of Michigan Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii

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One: Schoolboy Years

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pp. 1-25

My earliest educational memory is of going to kindergarten. (I have earlier memories, such as my father, home on leave, taking me out at night to hear the German bombers going over our house some 25 miles south of central London.) The kindergarten was run by a stout elderly lady called Mrs Lloyd. ...

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Two: Three Years at Cambridge and Three Years in Europe

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pp. 26-55

For my first term and a bit at university I was a history major. One emerging problem with this choice though was that I found myself reading the same books as I had in my final years at school, such as Tanner’s Constitutional Documents. Another was that the first-year history students were a large class (some 200–300) ...

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Three: Two Spells in Libya with a Post-Graduate Interlude

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pp. 56-88

At the end of the last chapter, I intimated my feeling that I might be happier in a university environment, so on returning to the UK, I applied for lecturing jobs at the British Council, which acted at that time as a recruiting agency for many overseas universities. ...

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Four: A Mistake in Leeds and a Recovery in Khartoum

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pp. 89-123

Before we left Tripoli, I had obtained a lectureship in the Institute of Education at the University of Leeds. I suspect I got the job for a variety of reasons, one being that I had the WSE textbook in press. I was actually appointed to the OESG (The Overseas Educational Studies Group), which offered three diplomas for overseas educators, ...

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Five: The Rise and Fall of the Aston Group

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pp. 124-160

Approaching my 40th year, I found myself back in England, but this time in its Second City—that of Birmingham in the West Midlands. Suddenly, many things were different. In Sudan, we had survived for five years without a telephone, either in the office or at home. ...

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Six: Twenty and More Years in the American Midwest (and Elsewhere)

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pp. 161-200

I arrived in Ann Arbor just a day or two before the end of 1984, in time to take up my dual appointment in the English Language Institute and the Department of Linguistics, and in time for the beginning of what is accurately described at the University of Michigan as the “Winter Term.” ...

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Seven: Reflections on an Educational Life

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pp. 201-208

I am sufficiently aware of contemporary work on text and discourse analysis to recognize that the vignettes recounted in the previous chapters are not, in any simple sense, “true slices of an educational life.” After all, some I have recounted before in oral form, and in these retellings they become shaped in some more artful way, ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780472029976
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472033584

Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2013