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Getting there


Thursday, June 02, 2005

Thanking everyone for coming nice and early as I walked in, then fanned out the back papers over a table and began handing some back personally with praise and encouragement (I had worked out the average so far for people who had come consistently) as the chime went and the vocabulary work began around me. Meanwhile I also asked more vocal students to sit in the middle group, so that I could hand out the investment roleplay and explain the parameters to them with them having the table of info as a visual backup.

After the vocab, I took a moment to check numbers, asked for one extra volunteer for group leader (hey, how does she know who is pretty fluent, I heard someone wondering), tried a few names of hard workers but less assertive, and then added an incentive, bonus points, I said, filled the last slot with a volunteer who is quiet but is really getting into the flow of what we're at, with the collocations and studying conscientiously, looking forward to their taking off : ) .

Okay, so handed out the sheets, with ten people per group, so thanks for the homework, and now we're going to build on it and apply it. Next week you'll be discussing the four projects on this handout, Senegal, Canada, Korea, Malaysia, but if you wanted to research them all it would be overwhelming, so each team is going to research one country and project. So you are researching Senegal, and you guys are the CEO but also researching Malaysia, and you here are Canada, and finally over here you're going to research South Korea. Now then, in each team again, if you researched all the criteria it would take forever, and you need to make up your mind for a recommendation next week, so please split the criteria between you, go off and research the info, make a short memo for your team and come back to give them the info.

I repeated this all again in japanese, and they set about with gusto, and off they flew to the research labs. As I sat and marked I had people come to ask about things, mainly there was confusion with what was meant by the duration of the loan and how to research it. I explained that they could think about whether five years to build a hydroelectric damn was a realistic prognosis, research and cite how long it took to complete a couple of similar projects in that country or other countries. If the estimated construction period was too long, or too short, or just right, would be what they needed to let their colleagues know.

What I did differently to Tuesday was, I forgot to take in the homework first thing, and also I didn't ask for immediate research results, but instead spent the last five minutes suggesting they pass on the relevant info to their team via the yahoo group, and sketched on the board how to make a new folder and post a file....I wonder if the file will appear, or if I should add an empty file for each country myself.... I also had the new flowchart of suggestions how to present the decision whether to invest in the country and project printed on the back of the roleplay handout.

This is all more complex than last year, when I just handed out the roles, and there was more reliance on the scenario...I remember being totally impressed by a student last year who had seriously researched the country and project, with data and graphs to present during the discussion, and how both other students and I were totally impressed. The roleplay from the book gives vague info and sets out the position, you are in favor of blah. But this year I have left it open to the students, appealing to them to make the decision, and present their analysis to the team, which is more challenging. I think having set up the jigsaw task twice, the idea of researching a part of the info to share with others and build a whole picture based on which to make a balanced decision is clearer, and I'm more comfy with the idea of asking students to go and research because that was a technique I used for my presentations semester.

I'm hoping the discussion next week will be exciting, and the self-evaluation rubrics is also a rerun, so I think people are looking forward to it, I've had some encouraging response by email. Rubbing my hands in glee, this is the life!

Again, looking at what we're doing, this particular roleplay, it's mainly infrastructure projects, I'm wondering if a lot of investment is not done in other ways, and thinking students could end up by making their own suggestion for a viable investment proposition, not based necessarily on infrastructure, but whatever ... Kinda pie in the sky brainstorming, this, because I don't have a clue, but also because at the same time I want to move on to look at how governments and others??? attempt to tweak trends and the economy before doing my same as last year focus on company structure and management trends before we hit the final test and the summer. Interesting article in the Economist on the role of companies and social conscience, and also big Nikkei article on the falling birthrate here in Japan, .....which is one aspect I could use to ask them about the efficacy of tweaking...