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Introducing Laura Dabbs, MSI Press Author

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Laura Dabbs works at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she is pursuing her MA-TESOL degree.  Laura teaches Community English Classes at UAB and formerly taught ESL and GED classes in Georgia at Dalton State College.  Working at a diverse university as afforded her the opportunity to see first-hand how personality traits, learning styles and learning strategies play a role in a variety of educational and professional situations.  Laura and her family have enjoyed a multi-cultural household by hosting foreign exchange students from various locations around the world. Her book, co-authored with Betty Lou Leaver,  The Invisible Foreign Language Classroom: Bringing Hidden Dynamics to Light for Individual and Group Harmony and Success . explains why some classrooms become dysfunctional and suggests what to do about them. The Invisible Foreign Language Classroom was released in September 2019. A sequel for teacher education is planned for this year. Read posts on this b

Book Alert: The Invisible Foreign Language Classroom: Bringing Hidden Dynamics to Light for Individual and Group Harmony and Success

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Released today! An in-depth guide for teachers seeking to understand dysfunctional classrooms and create a mathemagenic experience. A unique resource, based on experience with thousands of language learners. Based on Jungian psychology, using MBTI categories (with a passing reference to equivalents in Socionics), this book presents an explanation behind dysfunctional language classrooms (though much could apply to any K-16 classroom) and provides a heuristic for managing the classroom successfully. For each MBTI type, there is a section posing a teacher of that type and a classroom of randomly gathered types (as in real life). A discussion follows as to the source of any dysfunction, the way to accommodate all learners, an exploration of the probable comfort level of that teacher, and a posed question as to what would be the case if the class were the same but the teacher the polar opposite. Meant for application by teachers and for use in faculty development, it is a book that t

Feral Cats 5: Bobolink

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  his is a series of Caturday posts on the topic of taking in  feral cats .  General information (from previous posts): For a few decades, we have rescued feral cats. In fact, with only one exception, our "domestic" cats have been ferals that we brought inside to join other ferals, already domesticated, as part of a bonded cat family. Right now, we have five cats (alas,  Murjan , the single non-feral cat we had, died from cancer last fall, and Intrepid , closely bonded to Murjan, died three years ago from the same kind of cancer), all of whom get along pretty fabulously. Of course, all of that is easier said than done, and the bonding took time -- lots of it. Here are some of the things we did to create our cat family, some of which is not at all typical of what others have done, but it has worked for us. We don't trap the feral cats at all; we win them over and invite them in. We do this by feeding them a distance from the house and walking away, then moving the dish clo

Excerpt from The Invisible Foreign Language Classroom (Dabbs & Leaver): Introduction

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  Introduction Ever wonder why you just could not get along with Sally Jo in high school?   Why you, as a teacher, cannot reach a particular student no matter how much one-on-one time you provide them?   Why two learners in your classroom squabble all the time and seem to delight in challenging you? Why some classes seem so harmonious, and others are clearly dysfunctional? The answer to these questions and many others lies in understanding intragroup dynamics.   These dynamics, exposed, show us an invisible, or hidden, classroom, that can differ quite remarkably from the classroom we think we are seeing, whether we are a student in it or a teacher of it (Ehrman & Dornyei, 1998). In this book, we will be using examples from and demonstrating the dysfunction that occurs in foreign language classrooms, including English as a Second/Foreign Language. Although we address the language classroom specifically in this book, the core causes of dysfunction can occur in any classroom—any

Feral Cats 2: The Case of Happy Cat

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  This is a series of Caturday posts on the topic of taking in feral cats .  General information (from pervious posts): For a few decades, we have rescued feral cats. In fact, with only one exception, our "domestic" cats have been ferals that we brought inside to join other ferals, already domesticated, as part of a bonded cat family. Right now, we have five cats (alas,  Murjan , the single non-feral cat we had, died from cancer last fall), all of whom get along pretty fabulously. Of course, all of that is easier said than done, and the bonding took time -- lots of it. Here are some of the things we did to create our cat family, some of which is not at all typical of what others have done, but it has worked for us. We don't trap the feral cats at all; we win them over and invite them in. We do this by feeding them a distance from the house and walking away, then moving the dish closer and closer to the house and walking less and less far away, until they are eating at ou

Feral Cats 4: Wooper, the Odd Duck, er, Cat

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  This is a series of Caturday posts on the topic of taking in  feral cats .  General information (from pervious posts): For a few decades, we have rescued feral cats. In fact, with only one exception, our "domestic" cats have been ferals that we brought inside to join other ferals, already domesticated, as part of a bonded cat family. Right now, we have five cats (alas,  Murjan , the single non-feral cat we had, died from cancer last fall), all of whom get along pretty fabulously. Of course, all of that is easier said than done, and the bonding took time -- lots of it. Here are some of the things we did to create our cat family, some of which is not at all typical of what others have done, but it has worked for us. We don't trap the feral cats at all; we win them over and invite them in. We do this by feeding them a distance from the house and walking away, then moving the dish closer and closer to the house and walking less and less far away, until they are eating at ou

Feral Cats 3: The Persistence of Snyezhka

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  This is a series of Caturday posts on the topic of taking in  feral cats .  General information (from pervious posts): For a few decades, we have rescued feral cats. In fact, with only one exception, our "domestic" cats have been ferals that we brought inside to join other ferals, already domesticated, as part of a bonded cat family. Right now, we have five cats (alas,  Murjan , the single non-feral cat we had, died from cancer last fall), all of whom get along pretty fabulously. Of course, all of that is easier said than done, and the bonding took time -- lots of it. Here are some of the things we did to create our cat family, some of which is not at all typical of what others have done, but it has worked for us. We don't trap the feral cats at all; we win them over and invite them in. We do this by feeding them a distance from the house and walking away, then moving the dish closer and closer to the house and walking less and less far away, until they are eating at ou