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Getting there


Tuesday, November 08, 2005


I’m having probs getting online with the network system here at home so I’m blogging this in word and pasting it in in case it gets lost being published, as has happened once or twice lately. I know this ends up with funny squiggles where the Japanese upsets blogger, but it’ll have to do. Doesn’t feel nearly as much like blogging not being in my lovely blogger window tho.

I felt quite overloaded with the preparations yesterday, I spent some time reading over the old blogs from November 2004 to see how I did what and what topics I had for the second presentation. I remember I got rid of Futures for the Thursday class, because the worksheet was really dense, and the banking presentations were kind of shallow so I cut that topic this time, and homed in on six topics:
Bankruptcy (new topic)
Central Banking (new topic)
Third World Debt (same as 2004)
International Trade (same as 2004)
Insider Dealing (same as 2004)
Government Spending (new topic)

Today two groups chose Insider Dealing, two chose International Trade, one Government Spending and one Central Banking.
I had thought bankruptcy was quite interesting myself, with a big article in the Nikkei about universities in Japan going bankrupt this morning, plus Japan itself is as good as bankrupt, but nobody went for it. So much for my likes and dislikes!

Anyway, then I was looking over the delivery awareness exercises from Macmillan’s ‘In Company Intermediate’ by Mark Powell and wanted to adapt them to Financial Economic topics, so I googled about Bankruptcy and took some quotes from a site, and then instead of a speech about Einstein, who gets enough kudos and attention anyway, I took some words of Hilary Clinton’s from wikiquote. Finally in the ‘over to you, do it yourself’ part of the worksheet, I introduced some of the ways to refer to surveys, pie-charts and so on while wangling some hints on approaches to the Central Banking topic. So that took up time and I didn’t get round to making a more focused Teamwork section, although today there just wasn’t time to get beyond the Delivery awareness, so Teamwork is going to have to wait for Presentation 3 anyway. The whole worksheet is as usual loaded in eemsophia in Day 5 Autumn Semester. I kind of followed Macmillan’s approach template and loaded in Economics content, sort of thing, and added a try it out yourself section.

Then in the train in this morning I was trying to set up sort-of non-compatible or don’t-know-you-so-well groups, and decided to go for six groups of seven people, to give us more time for presenting and reflecting, rather than seven groups which is more of a rush.

In class proper I began by writing up the schedule on the board:
9:15-9:28 Vocabulary Check
9:32-9:37 Mini-test
9:40- 10:00 New Groups, Finding Common Interests and Topic Choice
10:05-10:50 Group worksheet on delivery + HW :survey monkey and topic research

This all went according to plan, the biggest confusion was with the summer assignments, some people couldn’t find the rubrics, others simply hadn’t marked, others didn’t know who to give the paper back to, and with five odd people absent some people didn’t get back their summer assignments for looking over and editing. One student had commented and marked a peer’s assignment assiduously only to have no comments on their own. Disappointed. Don’t worry, I will comment, and it won’t affect your own grade, I responded. The weakness of peer editing outside of class is just that, that not everyone does it in a responsible fashion, so it gets disappointing. This is my first time to be giving the chance for peer editing, so it’s kind of an experiment. I guess I’ll ask everyone how they feel about it in the end of term assessment. Meanwhile it looks like I’m going to have lots of detailed commenting to do on my plate over Xmas, to make up for disappointments!

Some examples of common interests:
Sleeping late/ all members come from the Kanto area/ we love trips
We like soccer/ We all like drinking / We belong to club activities
We do part-time jobs/ we live with our families/ we all wear contact lenses
We are all wearing a black jacket/ we all go to bed late/ every member has a driver’s licence
We all love sports/ we all have brothers and sisters/ we all like drinking/ we all have and like our part-time job
We all like purple/ we all like fall/ we all have a part-time job

The mini-test was dire….I’m hoping everyone has a handle on their own topic, otherwise the chances are they’re not really gaining much in terms of content of other presentations…although it must be said that some students were putting down the vocabulary from the handouts, which was the other task, so at least some of the new words and concepts are sticking. The great surge of relief and stretching and bubbling after the mini-test was over was fun, sort of YEAH, it’s out, now we can relax.

So no wonder we only covered delivery and not team-work…when I called attention after the test and explained that we were doing content, presentation skills and interpersonal skills, and how would they approach working with people they don’t really know, there was embarrassing silence, so I handed out worksheets with the group names, and asked everyone to get in groups. They really don’t know each other’s names and things yet, amazing! So I was helping out, finding groups and settling down, and then shared a story about my own workshop experience, and how finding things in common with people was relaxing and helped create a safe space to work in. And then they got on with it. Good stuff.

After the break we hit the delivery worksheet with a listening exercise, and checking and comparing answers in groups before I call on a group to offer answers. I peppered the inbetween bits after people had answers with anecdotes or simply stating clearly what the point of it was, and we brainstormed seven different things that were different in delivery from conversation to presentation:

emphasis, loudness, clarity, tone, accent, (I and they noticed my Scots crept in when i tried to read in conversational style) speed, and I finished up by adding pauses, and illustrating how pauses weren't the same as just a slow speed, but had a value in themselves.

At any rate, since we ignored teamwork, there was time at the end to circle groups and make sure they were clear on the basics of the new presentation, and to check out survey monkey and think about making a survey.

From my point of view at least, it was a satisfying class, I enjoyed most circling groups to follow up with personal discussions on things they shared in common. I'm not at all sure this exercise was done in Japanese...:P