Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Two Japanese Movies: "Nana" and "Moyuru Toki"

私はこの映画を見るまで、日本のポップ音楽があまり好きじゃなかったが、漸く気に入った日本のポップを聞きました。この歌はロック歌手を演じる中島美嘉の「Glamarous Days」です。このビデオを下記に載せます。


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

About Using Blogs in English Teacher Training

From April to the ending of July, I used blogs together with my 英語科教育法 III class (English Teaching Methodologies 3). Our class blog as well as links to the learners' blogs can be viewed here or on this very page. In the last class I gave the students a questionnaire about their blogging experience. Below are the questions and the students answers. For questions 4, 5, and 6 students wrote out answers rather than circling an answer. I have put students answers for these questions into categories.

Question 1: How often did you write in your blog?
  • Every time and we had an assignment and when I wanted to - 7 students
  • Every time we had an assignment - 7 students
  • Sometimes - 3 students
  • Rarely - 2 students

Question 2: Overall, I would say my blogging experience was:

  • Very interesting - 12 students
  • Interesting - 5 students
  • Hard to judge - 2 students
  • Not so interesting - 0 students
  • Bad - 0 students

Question 3: I would like to continue to blog in the future:

  • Strongly Agree - 3 students
  • Agree - 9 students
  • Neither Agree nor Disagree - 6 students
  • Disagree - 1 student
  • Strongly Disagree - 0 students

Question 4: Please write what was good about your blogging experience

Answer Type 1: Being able to communicate with or learn from other people:

  • Expose my own ideas and communicate with other people who perhaps thousands miles away from my place
  • I can receive response from other people and there are many things what I notice first time. And I can read other people's ideas.
  • Good point was to have some comments from others and they were nice to think over my ideas.
  • I learned a lot because I was able to study English, various people read my blog, and I was very happy when people commented on my blog.
  • We can exchange our thoughts through it.
  • We can share own opinions and I learned a lot from them.
  • It is difficult to write English blog, but when I wrote itm some people were commented so I was very fun!
  • We ETM3 members can know other idea through reading blogs.
  • I could know the statement of another people.

Answer Type 2: English improved

  • I could write my own thinking in English every time. It is hard word, but I think my ability of English improve.
  • I think I could improve my writing skill. I enjoyed sharing opinions each other.
  • I could improve my English writing skills.
  • I had chance to considering story in English that I want to tell people.
  • Blogging improved my English level.

Answer Type 3: Other good points

  • I learned how to make a blog.
  • It was said that we could write what we wanted to write and I enjoyed being able to write freely.
  • I had good experience.
  • I can review the lesson.

Question 5: Please write what was good about your blogging experience:

Answer Type 1: Difficult to write in the blog regularly (Note we wrote in the our blogs almost once a week):

  • When I was busy, I can't write my blog and I don't access to internet from my home. So I can't write in when I wantr to.
  • I noticed that 3rd year students were very busy, so it is difficylt to write a blog every time.
  • I sometimes didn't do blogging assignments by the deadline.
  • It is difficult because I have no PC at my house.
  • Sometimes I wrote in late time.
  • It was hard to write my blog, for I have no computer which can use the internet. So the time is limited.
  • I can't write blog every day.

Answer Type 2: The topic was decided by the teacher too often:

  • I wanted write in the blog not for the sake of doing homework but to write about what I was interested in.
  • At the beginning, it was decided what we would have to write so it was difficult for me to write.

Answer Type 3: The Nature of Blogging

  • It is hard for me to write blog. Blog is so public, I felt shame.

Question 6: How do you think that JH can improve the use of blogs in the future?

Answer Type 1: More free writing

  • More free writing
  • I think it is very good thing. In blog, I can express my opinion and receive responces. The blog gives me many good things.
  • I think you should ask students to write about every things.
  • [My translation] If students were able to write freely in their blogs, I think there would be a lot more enthusiasim about blogging.

Answer Type 2: Class Management and Blogging

  • I think it would be better if blogs were brought up more in the classes.
  • Make the homework deadlines earlier.
  • [My translation] How about students meeting the deadlines?

Answer Type 3: Various suggestions:

  • Put a PC in [the English students' room] because sometimes we cannot use PC in [the computer room].
  • I think if students are more careful about the blog which are viewed by others it would be nice.

Answer Type 4: Do not change anything

  • Very good! It is the good opportunity to write my opinion in English.
  • It's difficult question. I think you don't have to improve the use of blogs for ETM3.
  • I should use blogs for ETM3 in the future.
  • It's good! Keep this style!

My Conclusion on my second blogging project:

What does this all mean? One, I should consider more free writing... There is much more that I could write but it is time for me to leave work and go home! The swings are beckoning my son and I. I have to start working on another project tomorrow, so I will not be able to finish writing this until next week. Stay tuned.

New Webpage on Vocabulary Notebooks

On August 4, I made a presentation at the All-Japan English Education Conference titled "An Investigation on How Vocabulary Notebooks can be used Effectively in EFL Contexts in Japan". The train from Morioka to Kochi city took almost 12 hours! First, I took the bullet train from Morioka to Tokyo but we were delayed 50 minutes because some dummy ran onto the train tracks. As a result of this, JR (Japan Railways) stopped all the bullet trains and searched the tracks for 50 minutes to make sure that there was no one else out there (I think). After I arrived in Tokyo station, I took the bullet train from Tokyo to Okayama and finally a normal train from Okayama to Kochi City. The highlight of the last train ride was crossing the 瀬戸大橋 or the Seto Bridge. (See the picture I downloaded from Wikipedia below:)

As I had been so busy with work at the university, I was not able to prepare for the presentation until the last second. I did not start practicing my presentation until I had arrived at Kochi and eaten dinner. The presentation at the conference actually did not go so badly but there were some thing that I wanted to say that I did not. I have made a webpage which outlines all the research I have done on vocabulary notebooks these past few months. Eventually, I will write two papers from this research:
1) A proposal on how to use vocabulary notebooks in class - grounded on theory and practice


2) What effects can the use of vocabulary notebooks have on the word learning strategies that students use?

I hope that the webpage I have put on the internet will be of service to teachers interested in vocabulary learning. The webpage can be accessed here.