The PDR Method Handbook

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The PDR Handbook

Preparation Discussion Reaction


Last year we finally got around to writing the teaching manual for the Preparation Discussion Reaction method and the printed copies arrived last week. Like the ER@TU Handbook, the PDR Method Handbook is fully bilingual and available for free from Tohoku University (this one is A4 size though!).

The PDR method is a teaching approach based on small-group discussion that allows students to improve their language skills while also talking about issues or concepts. It is currently being used in two universities in Sendai to teaching English, but we believe it could be applied in a variety of teaching situations.

In particular, we believe the PDR method should be used to teach subjects other than English. In PDR classes, students participate actively, sharing ideas and building more robust understanding by discussing with their classmates.

Stay tuned for a guest post from the creator of the PDR method. You can order a complimentary copy here.


Japanese High School Students’ English

Unsurprisingly similar to junior high school students’ English

1604 school English proficiency

Following on from the report on Japanese junior high school student English proficiency, I saw this article today about high school students (also this better article with the percentages for each prefecture in Japanese). Miyagi sadly is below the national average for both junior and senior high school.

I don’t think the results are very surprising.

I do wish they would use better tests to set targets, as in my experience it is possible to pass Eiken with relatively poor English skills if you are lucky or prepare for the test format. I would prefer to see a test with separate scores for skills rather than the catch-all pass/fail STEP Eiken.

Also the root of the problem can be seen here: poor English teacher language proficiency. It is incredible, given how much effort and resources Japan puts into English education, that people with insufficient practical language ability are employed to teach it. It should be a huge priority to encourage and help English teachers in junior and senior high school improve their language skills, and to make practical language proficiency a firm requirement when hiring new English teachers.

And of course, everyone should be doing extensive reading and listening 😉

10 Ways to Prevent Aging/Burnout

A nice cheery topic for you all today

head in hands

It’s been a tough ten years.

It’s been a wonderful ten years as well in many ways, but working two or three jobs, six or seven days a week for years on end takes its toll.

Some days I just want to give up.

A few times I have felt completely crushed and unable to teach.

Burnout is real, and is a major danger to teachers as teaching is one of those jobs that you can’t stop at 5pm and leave behind at the office.

Right now I am enjoying myself again, but it was a close thing a few times.

As far as I can tell, there are a few ways to reduce the chance of burnout. Coincidentally, all of them are likely to make you happier too 🙂

10 Ways to Reduce the Chance of Burnout

  1. Autonomy -the more control you have over your work, the more you will enjoy it
  2. Collaboration -working together with others on projects
  3. Comrades -working with people you respect who are easy to work with
  4. Growth -your job changes as you get more experienced or your interests evolve
  5. Health -exercise and good food
  6. Purpose -if you believe in what you are doing it is more satisfying
  7. Rest -having some time off regularly, preferably one or two days a week
  8. Results -seeing results makes it all worth it
  9. Rewards -financial or otherwise, being rewarded for your efforts makes a big difference
  10. Sleep -getting enough every day, not just recharging at the weekend

One of my major goals this year is to work on these for myself. There is no point in succeeding at work if it destroys your enjoyment of life.

How about you? Are you heading for burnout?

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