Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

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]

EDUC8500 - 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 2014 - MIIS, Fall 2015 - MIIS

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EDUC8505 - Intro to Classroom Observation      

Develops skills in classroom observation and an understanding of observation as a fundamental professional development and research activity.

Fall 2015 - MIIS, Spring 2016 - MIIS

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EDUC8520 - 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 2015 - MIIS, Spring 2016 - MIIS

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EDUC8584 - Professional Dev for Educators      

This 1-unit elective will explore the theory and practice of personal and collaborative professional development for teachers, enabling participants to develop an individualized, specific approach to lifelong reflection, growth and enrichment. The conceptual framework will include: metacognitive strategies, Communities of Practice, Rogerian listening, peer coaching, Contemplative Pedagogy, emotional intelligence, Pedagogies of Liberation and Vulnerability, and exploratory practice. A specific tool to be mastered and deployed will be the MIIS version (see Shaw and Cole 2012) of Julian Edge's system of collaborative development (known as the Speaker-Understander model).

Spring 2016 - MIIS

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EDUC8670 - Practicum Capstone      

The Practicum Capstone combines reflective practice and professional development in preparing students for a career in language education. Participants integrate theory, research, and conceptual foundations into a coherent and well-informed approach to planning and executing lessons. They also incorporate these three components when developing and deploying instructional materials and assessment instruments. Activities and products prepare participants for entering the language teaching professional and performing admirably therein.

Practicum Capstone Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs):

Articulate their approach to language learning and teaching with explicit reference to sound pedagogical principles

Demonstrate their expert knowledge of language, learning, and teaching

Select appropriate materials for effective language instruction

Plan productive instructional units and lessons to maximize second language learning in all skill areas

Assess student learning meaningfully using a range of formative and summative tools

Reflect critically on their teaching practice in order to build on their strengths and address areas for improvement

Fall 2014 - MIIS

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