Here are the last photos of 2010.
Here are pictures of the junior high school 3rd graders working on their Public Service Announcements.
We played a few games during our last week. In this game, we had five groups. One student from each group would come to the table. They'd have 20 seconds to look at a picture, and then 30 seconds to go back to their group and describe the picture to their teammate. The teammates would then come to the table and would have to answer a question about the picture, just based on the description by their teammate. The students seemed to really enjoy this one.
投稿者 nelp : 21:40
Today I went to the 5th All Japan High School English Debate Tournament in Gifu. It was a very productive trip. It was really amazing to see the students debate and it really made clear a lot of things that I had read about debate.
In particular, it really clarified the purpose of the question time.
This will have a big impact on how I teach debate to my students. I talked with one of the judges after one of the preliminaries, and when he found out I was thinking on doing more debates, he was delighted. He told me that debate is all about teaching students a new way to think, and a new way to approach problems. He said that these skill are applicable to the students' lives, even when they study problems in Japanese. He told me that schools that teach debate see a rise in students' test scores.
I can see how that would be possible, particularly because it teaches listening skills and higher cognitive thinking functions.
It's given me a lot to think about for my own program, and my high school program in particular.
投稿者 nelp : 22:18
As I often say: NELP exams only get harder. It's natural for grades to go down over time. In fact, it's rare for students' grades to go up. It happens ... but not often. Often a student's English level may be improving even though her grades are going down. It's not for lack of trying. It's just that my class starts out a little difficult and then gets more difficult as we go along. So in general, if a student's grades stay the same, she's probably working really hard and is really learning a lot. If a student's grades improve over time, she's doing pretty awesomely, and if the grades gradually fall, that's kind of to be expected.
That said, I was really shocked at the grades this term. Oh, boy, did they fall. I think in the six years since the NELP program began, I've never seen so many low grades or so many grades that were SO low. I'm in shock. Jaw-on-the-floor shock.
I'm surprised because In a lot of ways, this term was easier than in previous years. The Beta Tests were harder because I reintroduced Language Development, the high level vocabulary questions. They were easier because they had fewer questions. The OC tests were about the same. The first grade Alpha test was kind of hard though. The high school first grade OC test was just ridiculously difficult, but two students still ended the term with very good grades. I was deeply impressed with them. Even the high school students whose grades were not so good ... well, more studying would have been better, but I'm sure they tried.
Overall, the junior high school second graders did the best on their tests. They also had the best homework completion rate and did, as a whole, the best book reports (though I did have some excellent book reports from first and third graders too). I'm very happy with second grade as a whole.
Some of the other students, I think, underestimated how hard the tests would be. Some of them could have studied more.
I see a lot of evidence that many of my junior high students did not study for their OC listening testAT ALL. It would not surprise me if some of them did not crack open their books at all (or even don't know where their Progress in English books are). Note to Mom and Dad: students should be studying Progress in English, on their own time, for homework, on a weekly basis.
I hope to see some higher scores next term. Next week, I'll see my students for our special winter lessons, and their are going to be some very sad girls on Tuesday when I give back the tests.
投稿者 nelp : 22:43
I just finished grading the book reports for the second term. Some students did very well and I'm very pleased. However, some students gave me book reports that only covered the first chapter or two of their books.
In the same way that a drumstick isn't the same as a Christmas turkey, a book report over a couple of chapters is not the same as a book report about a whole book.
Outside reading is a VERY important part of the NELP class. Traditionally, the student who reads the most makes the most progress. This is because through reading, students can see language in action. Students should read books that they can understand, but which are a little challenging and give them opportunities to see new language and new forms.
I give my students class time to read during our Wednesday reading time, so I'm very surprised and disappointed that some of my NELP students are not reading up to their potential.
I'd like my students to be reading MORE, and where possible, I'd like my NELP parents to check on their students and see if the students are doing the reading that they need to do.
投稿者 nelp : 18:25
This year, I took two students to the Joto High School Speech Contest, one NELP second grader and one NELP third grader. Both did original speeches and I was very proud of both of them. They both gave good performances and did their best. Neither of them went to the final round, and I'm naturally feel badly for them, but I'm very satisfied with how well they did. The Joto High School speech contest was very high level this year, and there were many outstanding speakers with outstanding speeches.
I also took seven students to the Reischauer Speech Contest, two second grade NELP students and one third grade SELP student for the recitation section, two third grade NELP students for the original speech section, and two SELP third graders who did an original skit. Of these students only one of the students, a second grader, advanced to the final round for the recitation section, ultimately winning 5th place.
Still, I was deeply proud of all them. Again, I wish we could have done better, but I'm proud of all of all of the girls for how well they did.
I do wish that the judges at the Reischauer contest had given comments at the end. I would have been interested to know the judging criteria by which the winners were chosen.
Anyway, here are pictures from the two contests.
In addition I was also VERY happy that one of my high school first grade NELP students passed the Chugoku preliminary for the All Japan High School English Speech Contest and will go on to the final round in Tokyo in February 2011.
投稿者 nelp : 17:51