Peter Shaw

Professor of Pedagogical Magic

Since giving up my post as Director of Intensive ESL Programs at the Institute in 1989, I've never stopped teaching English. Besides teaching my language education graduate students, I've most recently taught Public Speaking and Academic Writing for international Fulbright scholars and "Quantum-based English Instruction" for a group of physics professors from Russia in partnership with the Center for Nonproliferation Studies.

My classes are "immersive experiences," although I'm not sure that phrase captures exactly what I mean. You will work collaboratively within a small team to create solutions for real world issues. Projects are brought to our class by stakeholders such as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal or a World Teach program in Ecuador. You will learn by working.

I've learned a few lessons as a teacher over the years, and I hope to share them with you. As a sneak peak into my pedagogy, it's important to listen. With my MIIS colleagues, we've developed a framework called Speaker/Understander to give you tools to fine-tune the art of listening and becoming a "warm human mirror." Second, there is no such thing as a perfect syllabus. We shouldn't fall all over ourselves trying to design one.

Every morning I look forward to coming to work because I know I will learn something new from my students, who bring a diversity of experiences and backgrounds with them to our classroom. I am here to empower my students and celebrate their work.

This year (2012) I was fortunate to be the recipient of the Dr. Leslie Eliason Teacher of Excellence Award. I feel very honored.


Teaching teachers, co-operative learning, curriculum design, content-based instruction, teaching with technology


PhD, Linguistics, University of Southern California; MA, Philosophy, Politics and Economics, Oxford University; MA, Linguistics, University of Reading, England

Course List

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

EDUC 8500 - Principls/Practices Lang Tchng      

Provides an overview of language teaching and learning principles from both historic and current perspectives. Illustrates application of teaching principles through practical examples.

Fall 2013 - MIIS, Fall 2014 - MIIS

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EDUC 8520 - Curriculum Design      

Explores areas of theory research and practice that have a bearing on curriculum and syllabus design. Leads students to develop their own curriculum design projects.

Prerequisites: Principles and Practices of Language Teaching.

Spring 2014 - MIIS, Spring 2015 - MIIS

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EDUC 8620 - Practicum      

Provides students with an opportunity for supervised teaching experience in ESL or foreign language classes. Discusses classroom-centered research; reading, writing, listening, and speaking activities; professional development; materials development; and reflective teaching.

Spring 2014 - MIIS

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EDUC 8670 - Practicum Capstone      

Fall 2014 - MIIS

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