From ex-doctorate to changing the structure from within: Confidence in the Classroom and Next Steps

The Confidens blog will be receiving a makeover in coordination with my professional change of direction. After realizing the low impact that these experiments would have had under the umbrella of the Didactic doctorate program at Rennes 2, I have changed direction with this research blog, leaving the doctorate and focusing of changing the narrative of confidence from within the system.

I chose to do a doctorate because I wanted to help students regain confidence in themselves by giving teachers the tools and the aid they need to be confident themselves.

What I realized was that to grow the impact of my research, and especially of my projects, I had to leave the safeguard of Academia and set off on making real change in the world, especially on students and their confidence in language learning.

Concretely, what will change about the research blog?

Mentions of the doctorate and the thesis will be removed, and the research blog will become more based in practice. Although I am grateful for the chance to have done a year of doctoral research, the trajectory of this blog must reflect the change in trajectory of the Confidence project. Various partnerships that are unrelated to the PhD and the AIR project are in the works, so this blog will be disconnected from that projects and reoriented toward the four main project phases as designed below.

The change in website design should be completed by January 2024.

So what happened, post-doctorate?

I started with instructional design – after three months of daily, 7am to 7pm training in instructional design and e-learning experiences (Articulate Storyline, Rise, Adobe, Photoshop, Vector Imaging, Webflow and HTML/CSS), I created an instructional design portfolio (available here in English and in French) to showcase my projects, job aids, specialized projects, and training sessions. I was ready to begin my career as a corporate instructional designer.

I was hired at a corporation to see what the current state of professional tutelage and professional development was. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of training, especially by a phenomenal trainer named Vicky. Despite not having a background in training, she put forth her best and was constantly training herself to become better in the field.

Despite that, others who were supposed to help were roadblocked by their own insecurities and inexperience in training and education. What’s more, “instructional design” seemed not to have a place in the corporate world. In France, people seemed to understand “instructional design” as a marketing strategy to make PowerPoint presentations more interesting, but that is the complete opposite of what it is meant to be! Rather than PPT and theoretical homework, instructional design is a world that transforms academic methodologies into learner experiences that get learners into situations where they can trial-and-error to improve their skills.

Following Cathy Moore’s Action Mapping design, we can respond to business objectives by creating actionable and measurable do-these that allow employees to improve and to succeed at what they do. Focus less on the theoretical content, cut the fat of superfluous presentations, and get to the meat of the training: solving a problem or responding to a need.

I found myself back to the drawing board, but this time with a lot more experience and understanding of the problem than when I started the doctorate. I realized that my expertise was needed in the field – to attack the problem head-on. So, I created a teaching portfolio of most of my major projects since starting teaching (teaching portfolio available here) and I reached out to contacts across the world to find different teaching opportunities and network my way to a job. Now, the timeline and the steps to achieve the first phase of the project were a lot clearer.

Below are a list of the four main phases of the Confidence in Language Learning Project. As they begin to develop, more will be added to this post.

Phase 1: TikTok testimonials on experiences at school, YouTube free English classes, weekly Café des Langues, and the Metaphor of Language Series

Phase 2: Weaving together TikTok testimonials to write Je suis Nul en Anglais book, YouTube free classes and commentary data collection, and the Dîner Chez Vous ! project

Phase 3: Continuation of prior projects, creation of the Teacher-Student Network in France, and the first Confidence Conference

Phase 4: Based on feedback from the Confidence Conference, the T-S Network, the Dîner Chez Vous ! project, commentary from social media platforms, and any responses to books: drafting and submitting legislation with representatives from l’Education Nationale to change language education in France

After all, teaching is not just a yearlong exchange with people we will never see again. We are preparing the future of our planet, and that is something that cannot be taken lightly. ✺

Cite this blog post
Brendan Geer (2023, October 23). From ex-doctorate to changing the structure from within: Confidence in the Classroom and Next Steps. Confidence: language learning. Retrieved June 26, 2024, from

Brendan Geer

Language teaching expert and researcher in language confidence. Founder of Prism: Language Confidence. Also director of the HeOnTe online teaching program, co-director of the Rennes Café des Langues, and cat dad.

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