Photo of Peter Shaw
McCone Building
(831) 647-6530

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.

In 2012, I was fortunate to be the recipient of the Dr. Leslie Eliason Teacher of Excellence Award. I feel very honored.

Areas of Interest

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


Academic Degrees

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