Preparation Discussion Reaction: The PDR Method

How to get students speaking, discussing, and writing about real topics

The PDR Handbook

The PDR Handbook

Almost two years after it was first published, the PDR Handbook is finally available online.

PDR is a groundbreaking method for running 4-skills language classes for intermediate and above students. It can also be adapted for use with content classes. I have also used it successfully for teacher workshops.

You can download a copy of the Handbook in PDF format from here.

Teaching alphabet stroke order and stroke count to Japanese children

Not as clear as it first seemed


I’ve also been meaning to write this post for a while 🙂

A couple of years ago it came to my attention that some of our students were being told by their elementary school teachers and junior high school teachers that they were writing English letters wrong.

After an initial reaction of annoyance (this seems to be a perennial problem with some teachers who don’t have the confidence to deviate from the one correct answer given by the textbook), I decided that it might be better to find out what the official ‘stroke order’ for the alphabet in Japan is and make sure our students know it.

I have done some quick research and there doesn’t seem to be any official stroke order. I found the following two online:

stroke order nintendo

This is from Nintendo

stroke order gakuryoku

And this is from GakuryokuUp.

As you can see, they are slightly different (lower-case w, for example). Presumably the teachers are going off whatever textbook they are using in class, and are so insecure that they won’t accept alternatives.

Which kind of takes us back to the beginning. I guess we just need to teach our students that there are different ways of writing letters, and some of their teachers in the future are going to be particular about how they are written in their class. Always do things the way your current teacher wants you to, even if they are wrong (like the ALT who told one of our students that the only correct response to ‘how are you?’ is ‘I’m fine, thank you’).

Any experiences with teaching letter-writing?



My life is pretty busy, and to make it worse I tend to get interested in new things and lose interest in things pretty frequently. Focus, or lack of focus, is a big problem for me.

As I mentioned in my report card post I got a lot done last year. While I am pretty happy about that, I also get the feeling a lot of it was quite shallow. Some of it was okay, but not exactly legacy work.

This year will be different. I am going to consciously do less work, but make it count for more. To do more meaningful work, and to say no to more things. I am going to focus.

Wish me luck!

Niigata Teacher Seminar

I just got back from Niigata, where I was invited to present to a great group of teachers from local junior and senior high schools.

My topic was teaching reading and writing to junior and senior high school students, and you can see my presentation slides and notes below:

101111 Niigata Intro
101111 Niigata Reading for JSHS
101111 Niigata Writing for JSHS
101111 Niigata Notes

Thanks for a great day and good luck with your teaching!

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives