What an opportunity; what a dilemma

I have been asked to teach 5 new classes from April, 2007. I’m in my 14th year at an all girls private JSHS in Osaka, Japan, and have taught Oral English almost exclusively up to this point. The new classes will be Ko II (grade 11) and Ko III (grade 12) writing classes. They provide a wonderful new opportunity and challenge at this point in my teaching life. I’m excited to figure out how to teach them well. On the other hand, it also creates a huge dilemma. How do I balance my needs to teach a real English Writing course with the students’ impending “university entrance tests from hell?”

I am looking for ideas from any other teachers who have faced a similar situation. I have found a few starting points on the internet already. If you have any experience or thoughts on this topic, particularly within an EFL framework in Japanese high schools, I would LOVE to hear from you.

I just listened to a January 30, 2007 TESOL Virtual Seminar “Teaching Vocabulary, Is It a Waste of Learning Time,” with Paul Nation. It was so good that I may not sleep tonight (I AM prong to hyperbole, but it was really good!)

He gave everyone so many specific, practical ideas and is obviously a wonderful TEACHER. He explained, reviewed, gave great details and examples. I highly recommend it.

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