Luckily I flew in to Okinawa yesterday, so avoided the big explosion at the airport this morning.
This week I’m teaching a three and a half day certificated course for J-Shine. So today we had plenty of time for problem solving and Q&As.
I also tried out an idea I got from the “Next Internet Millionaire” reality TV programme, Mark Joyner’s “Simpleology” activity.
Basically all you do is to write up a set of goals on one side of the board, e.g. in this case the teachers wrote up what they want their students to achieve after 6 years of lessons. You mark this with a dot.
At the other side of the board you put another dot.
Next the teachers brainstorm a list of topics and ideas for their curriculum.
Then we start from the “start” dot and draw a line as they read out the curriculum ideas. Of course the quickest route is a straight line, so when things were directly related to their goals, the line was straight. when the topics were only somewhat related the line goes vertical or even back on itself. Anyway what we found out was that the teachers had plenty of ideas for their “getting good at English” target, but not so many for their international understanding targets. So that’s what we worked on for the rest of the afternoon.
Then after we’d finished at four o’clock, they were getting the room ready for a course on how to teach business skills. I’m very interested in that and although it’s a government sponsored workshop, I got myself a seat in the room. In the event it wasn’t so much “business” as trying to teach college students communication abilities. Apparently this is the most desired quality that Japanese companies are looking for and the one that’s most lacking in new graduates! ( The second is “the spirit of being up for a challenge”) The workshop was good, but the abilities they were teaching were exactly the things that kids learn when doing Genki English!