Here be (Dungeons and) Dragons 6: Interlude


Interlude, or stopping the game and assessing.

Who’s assessing?

Well, funny you should say that. At Ladies College of Suburban Tokyo (LCST) I went around two classes of twenty odd, checking portfolios in progress while the students planned repeat tasks. I assigned them to re-record the most difficult task of the last 4 weeks, listen to the new one, listen to the previous one and judge which is better and how or why? Also, it gives a chance to see what still needs to be done. These students are a bit more savvy with academic skills as well as IT, and I don’t have access to a CALL room so I didn’t run a lesson on PowerPoint and OneNote or Google Apps to collate work.

The students’ work outside class has been a good mix of practice with elllo.org and dreamreader.net but also a lot of indiscriminate grammar drills from high-school textbooks, despite my urge to study grammar from graded readers, listening or something with a lot of context or cotext.

At University Outside Tokyo (UOT), I had more students than usual after a prompt of “come to class or face failing again”. Some students were savvy, others not so. I showed how to use PowerPoint to gather pictures and annotate them for vocabulary and how to drag and drop multimedia files. I was hoping this would take about 50 minutes but young people in Japan, while mobile literate are sometimes not very computer literate. They’ll redo tasks at the start of the next lesson.

At least I know now what the demands are, how much time it takes me to get around everyone to give feedback and the students know to make better use of grammar drills and such.

Read Here be (Dungeons and) Dragons previous ‘chapters’: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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2 thoughts on “Here be (Dungeons and) Dragons 6: Interlude

  1. Hi Marc, I’m always amazed at the autonomy you give your students and how they accept it. Something I need to work on. What happens if they don’t work on their extra-class assignments? I know that I have to assign everything in great detail as HOMEWORK if I want some of my groups to do it. Thanks a lot, cheers Kamila

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    1. Thanks Kamila. You always make me think about why I do what I do.

      I think, regarding the autonomy, I just teach in an easier-going way than I used to. It is certainly less stressful. If everyone is clear about the pass criteria and expectations, everybody should be able to do what is needed to pass the course.

      I don’t set tons of homework. Japanese university students have a terrible reputation for being lazy and having lax schedules, which is not true. Extra curricular activities are taken quite seriously and also there are several students with part-time jobs (and one with a full-time job). I think ten minutes a day of proper study is fine, over five days, of actual reading or listening or something other than grammar drills divorced of context.

      Basically, I teach how I would like to be taught when I think about it enough. If that means I’m not always strict or classes lack rigid demarcation of stages and such, well, I’m fine with it.

      Liked by 2 people

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