Random ideas

Reading Beyond Methods (Kumaravadivelu, 2003) gives me some ideas culled from his book and other ideas inspired by his book. In random order:

  1. Learning Strategy Posters – He writes that successful learners use both more strategies and more appropriate strategies than average learners. It’s easy to pick out the more successful learners in my classes. I may ask them to make a poster outlining some of their thoughts on learning strategies. This goes back to my belief in sempai (one’s senior) power.
  2. Recently a news survey said that Japanese perceive Ichiro (baseball), Nakata (soccer), and Fujiwara Norika (actress) as successful English learners. I’ve started to look for samples of their English prowess. I found a series of TV comercials that Ichiro did for the Seattle Mariners. They seem very usable in class because they are short, fun and cultural.
  3. I have a private student at home who just passed the Eiken Pre-2nd test. She is 13 years old (grade eight) and has studied one hour per week (40 times/year) for seven years. That’s roughly 280 hours plus whatever she’s done on her own (minimal) . She seems to be way above most students her age. I swear she’s succeeded to this point because she has focused on MEANING vs. anything else. Of course she began to study grammar last year, but I want to know why she is so good…
  4. I have a writing class of 5 returnees (a year in Canada or New Zealand). I want to know how much English they think a) they were exposed to, b) they processed (input), c) they used, or d) they studied. The reason is related to the above point 3 in that I have no idea about the difference between ESL vs. EFL in the volume of English that they experience.
  5. Portfolio marking is one approach to grading. Kumaravadivelu talks about a journal tracking one’s EFFORT. I’m thinking about whether my HS students could track their efforts in 3 ways: my class, other English classes, and outside of class. I would give them credit for doing their homework, going to cram school, listening to English music, watching English online (YouTube, CNN, etc,) and studying online (listening, reading sites, etc.)

To be continued…

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4 thoughts on “Random ideas

  1. I have a little computer that measures spoken production in terms of the number of normalized hours that person has been learning/practising English. If you’re interested in trying it out, send me a 2-minute sample of unprepared speaking by student in #3 (or maybe #4) in your list, and I’ll tell you the results.
    Contact me directly for more info.

  2. I’m assuming I should send a 2-minute mp3 file…
    That’s right. Tho in my state-a-the-art LL we use cassettes, but I realize not all institutions are as rich and advanced as our…
    Whatever medium is easiest for you.

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