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Getting there


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

In Cortazzi M. & Lixian J. (1999) 'Bridges to learning'. in Cameron, L. and Low, G. Researching and Applying Metaphor CUP, which I happened to be glancing through on the train in to work this morning, I came across a description of the metaphors applied to teaching and learning.

Thinking about myself, I thought of "parenting", because I find of myself thinking of my students with the kind of feelings of endearment and wishing for success that I get towards my own two. At first this wasn't in there, until you read on to the Asian section and find that it was tops in the Chinese metaphors and while lower for Japan, still there: 'There was a predominance of FRIEND and PARENT metaphors for teachers among Chinese, Japanese, Lebanese and Turkish groups, compared with the much lower frequencies of these metaphors in the British data (there are only 13 instances of 'parent' and none of 'friend' among 236 British metaphors, although this must be interpreted with caution because the elicitations stems are different' (Cortazzi &Lixian, 199:175)

So am I getting Asian? I then skipped to thinking about how I parent, which becomes an issue...Why I am blogging this is because as I was dancing round my groups, enthusiastically and overheatedly trying to explain the why and wherefore of the exercises, one of the students said the register of my Japanese was really bad. Now I can actually speak most polite Japanese, and I was thinking that I was lowering my register to how I talk to my kids, who have grown up with me learning Japanese watching telly, and therefore have a most informal, slang register which we share....indeed in the same way I will crouch down to get eye-level with my wee elementary school kids, I am crouching down in language register to a level even my own kids have, if I am to be honest to myself, outgrown. WOW! What a realization. What a chance to learn. So I will have to readjust not only my Japanese register in class, particularly when I get all intense with trying to facilitate in the short time available, but also with my ain brood.

The class, well, walked in chatting to one of my top students who got to bed at four am trying to do all the homework....can't we just relax, he said! Hmmm. NO! You'll be grateful for your work and proud of it in the end, you'll see, I countered. Again, I could try a bit more sort of counselling acknowledging of feelings technique, methinks...I work hard too, I explained to same student at the end of the class, when they're having heebie jeebies about the mini-test, three hours to look over your vocab sheets carefully, plus I make the papers and worksheets...you get paid, they said, haha, I said, less than you per hour, would you believe it!

I know I give a lot of homework, it's the way to learn! No time for it in class, and so much to be explored. Plus thinking and discussion preparations have to be done in peace, not in the hustle and bustle of the lesson and the group.

I got to class early and handed back papers, reminding myself of names, had a wee chat to one student who had been recycling the same vocab again about moving forward and studying. Then on the chime I welcomed everyone and reminded them to check memorizing carefuly, noting that I would spot-check results the following week and deduct marks from the checker too if a student had not learned the phrases. While students then proceeded to check I wrote up on the board how the lesson would proceed, noting for myself to ask for a word count and remind students to check the links section of the yahoo group.

After students had written in the wordcount on the homework assignment (for which I quickly redsitributed papers) I called people to order and did a mini-review of the course so far, and repeated in Japanese. First we've been looking at the strengths and weaknesses of various economic models, product based, finance based, happiness based, and check the Yahoo group links for a sustainable model. Now we have the problem of how to measure the economy. The answer lies in our discussion rubrics, you select criteria, and check those. These may change over time ( you were better in discussion the second time, rihgt?) So for the economy we call these criteria economic indicators, and the way the economy changes over time is the business cycle. I'd like you to look at two The Economist articles to see what economic indicators they use, which ones you think are missing, and which model of the ecconomy The Economist is using.

Then continue to look at how The Economist quotes sources and statistics, following the worksheet, and finally I'd like you to research a graph to illustrate a trend you are interested in for homework.
Please work in groups of four with friends and call me for details, and five minutes before the end I'll explain the homework in more detail. (sort of thing)

I was running round supporting group understanding of concepts, coaxing through, students are not used to skimming, so it was good to be encouraging them to try. I also thought that further on in the worksheet since I had gathered key phrases there was perhaps no need to highlight in the articles, so I will revise the worksheet, there isn't enough time!

The statistics gapfills seemed pretty clear, what was not so clear was the way The Economist justifies the sources it quotes, and how to apply it to your own examples, so I was busy trying to explain that to every group. Also important is to pen up the answers on teh board, but I had no time, I was busy trying to explain to each group. Here a moment's focal explanation might be more effective and efficient, with a timer and then a blackboard explanation, then group work again, and so on....but perhaps small groups is more relaxed for students, although less relaxed for me as I rush round making sure concepts are understood!

At any rate next week should be fun, with all the graphs and quizzes, and the test is made! All in all methinks we did good work, and an awareness of sources and quoting sources and perhaps the fact that some criteria such as the population shifts, privatization trends, the increase of women in the workforce and so on were not in there. But I haven't asked for results, only had the time to sow the seed of questioning, rather than expect the production of ideas on the spot.