Home Run Lesson

I just finished teaching a home run lesson (strange thing to say, as I am from the UK and don’t even understand how to play baseball) and am now compelled to write about it.

From this semester I have started teaching a class in a computer lab (you can read about the disastrous second lesson here). Today was a very different experience.

We had another tough class last week, where I gave the students too much work to do in too short a time. This week I wanted to give them a break, and put together something a bit lighter.

You can see the full lesson plan on my teaching blog.

This class has been weird for me. Partly it’s because of the physical properties of the computer lab, where students are much further away and more inaccessible than I am used to. Partly it’s the dynamics of the class, where I communicate with the students via blog, notebook comments, and email. And partly it’s because I have never taught this particular course before, so I’m making it up as I go along.

Today we explored a theme that I am very interested in having students think about. Part language identity poll and part wake-up call, the class examines Japanese speakers of English and asks the students to consider where they would fall on a scale ranging from non-English user to native-like speaker.

It seems I got the timing right this week, as the students all finished on time, but what really blew me away were the comments. I’m going to post a few below. The brackets show comments that were in Japanese originally. Translations are mine and may be inaccurate 🙂

Today’s work was good. I think about why we learn English again. I want to train my English skill, especially listening and speaking skill.

(I noticed that my English is really poor. I want to be able to understand spoken English at the very least. I’ll need English once I start working, so I want to get better at it while I am still a student) 

Today,my motivation rised. I want to become well to speak English like them.In the future, I would like to interview without an interpreter.

It is good for me to see Japanese-speaker in the various phases.I think I am in no English, especially listening, so I will study English everyday and improve my English skill.

(I was completely shocked. I think I will study English more. Thank you)

It was nice to know a few Japanese who has different English skills. I noticed be able to speak English fluently is pretty hard.

Most students said similar things, which made me incredibly happy. My goal for this class was to get students thinking about why they might be studying English, and motivate them to push a little harder.

Now, this lesson is by no means perfect, and I’m already thinking about how to update and improve it, but I wanted to share it as it went down so well.

Has anyone done anything similar?

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