Monthly Archives: October 2014

Group Discussion: Restaurants and Eating

Hey everybody!  Sorry to post this so late!

Good evening. Here is our next discussion topic for Saturday (October 25th) and Monday (October 28th).  The topic is restaurants, eating out and food.

As usual, please prepare at least two questions.  🙂

We will start the discussion with one or two beginner questions, and then one or two intermediate questions, and with the rest of the time we will ask the advanced questions!

If you are a student of mine, I hope to see you at one of the discussion groups. If anybody (student or not) has any questions about this blog, please let me know: Post a comment here, find me on twitter, or email me through my website. Thanks!

During the next group discussion class, we will be talking mostly about money, but maybe a bit about the economy or shopping, too. Here is a list of the lexis and possible questions which we may use during the lesson:

Lexis

Nouns

Alcohol

Appetizer(s)

Beverage(s)

Buffet

Calorie(s)

Cholesterol

Course(s)

Dessert(s)

Fast Food

Order(s)

Take-out

Tip(s)

Verbs

Eat out

Order

Order out

Pay

Serve

Taste

Tip

Adjectives

Alcoholic

Disgusting

Fresh

Greasy

Salty

Spicy

Sweet

Expressions

All-you-can-eat

Sample Questions

Beginner

1. Do you like Western food?

2. How often do you order out?

Intermediate

1. Do you know what “bangers and mash” are?

2. Have you ever worked at a restaurant?

Advanced

1. What do you know about cholesterol?

2. What do you think should be done about crying babies?

That’s it!  See you then!

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Group Discussion: Money (and Shopping!)

Hey everybody!

Good evening. Here is our next discussion topic for Saturday (October 18th) and Monday (October 21st).  The topic is money: having it, not having it, being rich or poor, spending it, etc.  We may also talk a bit about shopping

Just a reminder: I’m going to do things a little differently this time: I will provide all the lexis you will need to understand the questions… but I’m only going to post a few sample questions!

This time, I would like you to create at least two questions for the discussion yourself!

That means no cheating and using my questions.  You have to make your own questions.  🙂

We will start the discussion with one or two beginner questions, and then one or two intermediate questions, and with the rest of the time we will ask the advanced questions!

If you are a student of mine, I hope to see you at one of the discussion groups. If anybody (student or not) has any questions about this blog, please let me know: Post a comment here, find me on twitter, or email me through my website. Thanks!

During the next group discussion class, we will be talking mostly about money, but maybe a bit about the economy or shopping, too. Here is a list of the lexis and possible questions which we may use during the lesson:

Lexis

Nouns

Beggar(s)

Charity

Consumerism

Credit card(s)

Debt

(The) Economy

Effect

Finance(s)

Lottery

Lottery ticket(s)

Poverty

Salary

(The) Stock market

Tax(es)

Taxation

Verbs

Beg

Donate

Earn

Eliminate

Handle

Invest

Plan

Save

Shop

Spend

Adjectives

Average

Extra

Ridiculous

Expressions

Be in debt

Handle one’s finances

How much longer

No matter Q.Word-S-V(-O)

Put money in N

The first/last time S-V(-O)

Sample Questions

Beginner

1. Do you think taxes in Japan are too high?

2. How much do you spend when you shop?

Intermediate

1. In a marriage, should the husband or the wife take care of the finances?  Should both do it?

2. What is the average salary in Japan?

Advanced:

1. What does “time is money” mean?

2. Is consumerism good or bad?  Why (not)?

That’s it! Please prepare and ask me questions if you need help! You can email me too! Hope to see you next time.

Learning, Part 4: Deep vs. Surface Learning (3 of 3)

This is the final part of a three part series on deep vs. surface learning.  All of this is part of an ongoing series of posts about my favorite topic in the world: learning. I first introduced the two approaches and talked about why you should take the deep learning approach.

Finally, I’d like to talk about how you can develop reflective thinking skills and also the single most important piece of advice I can give you as a teacher.

Start asking “how” and “why” instead of just “what”

Another way to develop a deep learning approach is to start asking better questions.  While I would never say there is a “wrong” or “stupid” question, I will say that some questions are better than others.

Most of my new students, and my students who are very entrenched in the surface learning pattern, often ask “what” questions: “What does this mean?” “What is the answer?” “What should I say?”  These questions are often useful, but they will usually only get you through this problem.  They won’t help much in the future.

My more advanced students, especially the ones with intrinsic motivation, will take their time and really look deeply into new information.  They start asking “how?” questions, and then “why?” questions: “How else can I say this?”, “How do native speakers use this?”, “How is A different from B?”, and then “Why is this wrong?”, “Why can’t I say this?”, or “Why do native speakers say A instead of B?”  These are the difficult questions with difficult answers, that will really catapult you into the next level of learning.  They start seeing connections that they didn’t see before, things start to make more and more sense, they start to really understand how language works.  It’s a very exciting and invigorating process, once things start to click.  Now for the most important part.

Remember why teachers teach

This might seem like a strange one, but it’s important.  Have you ever really thought about why teachers do what they do?  It’s because they know that you, the student, want to get better at something.  What that means is (and this is important) they already know you’re not good at it, or at least, that you are not perfect at it.  What this means is not only is it ok to make mistakes but that’s why we are here!  Think about it: if you never made any mistakes at something… why would you need a teacher?  LOL

If you only take one thing away from this blog I hope it’s this point here.  Almost every new student I have adopts a surface approach because they incorrectly believe that I am expecting them to get everything right, and to memorize everything I teach them perfectly and use it perfectly every time.   They fear failure.  The problem is, no human can learn without failure, and lots of failure.  In all honesty, mistakes don’t bother me a bit.  What bothers me is when students take an approach to learning that actually hurts them more than helps them.

We’re here to help you.  We want to help you!  When a teacher gets mad at a student or frustrated with a student, that doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong, that means your teacher is doing something wrong.

The basic idea is – and I know some people will hate this – is you have to be consistently active.

Remember, it’s perfectly normal to take a surface approach to many things in our life.  Sometimes we’re not very interested in something that we need to do in order to do something else.  For example, many companies require their employees to take the TOEIC.  Not everyone likes the TOEIC, but many employees need a certain score for work purposes.

Sometimes we have to get things done by a deadline.  For example, many teachers have to write reports every week or even every day about their students.  They don’t need to understand the process deeply, just get it finished.

But there are some things that we learn because we want to, and we have our whole life to do it.  A surface approach hurts this process more than helps it.  Get immersed.  Be curious.  Enjoy the process. 🙂

 

Group Discussion: Sports and Fitness

Hey everybody!

Good evening. Here is our next discussion topic for Saturday (October 11th).  This Monday is a national holiday so there will be no class, but the next topic will be money!

Just a reminder: I’m going to do things a little differently this time: I will provide all the lexis you will need to understand the questions… but I’m only going to post a few sample questions!

This time, I would like you to create at least two questions for the discussion yourself!

That means no cheating and using my questions.  You have to make your own questions.  🙂

We will start the discussion with one or two beginner questions, and then one or two intermediate questions, and with the rest of the time we will ask the advanced questions!

If you are a student of mine, I hope to see you at one of the discussion groups. If anybody (student or not) has any questions about this blog, please let me know: Post a comment here, find me on twitter, or email me through my website. Thanks!

During the next group discussion class, we will be talking about jobs and work. Here is a list of the lexis and possible questions which we may use during the lesson:

Lexis

Nouns

Activit(y/ies)

Athlete(s)

Champion(s)

Event(s)

Player(s)

Race(s)

Stadium(s)

Verbs

Benefit

Bother

Exercise

Gamble

Jog

Practice

Ski

Snowboard

Surf

Wrestle

Adjectives

All-around

Beneficial

Extreme

Fit

Professional

Expressions

Be bad/good at

Be crazy about

Be on a team

Be viewed as

Do away with

Have a team

How to play

When was the last time S-V(-O)

Work as a team

Example Questions

Beginner

1. Are you good at any sports?

2. Do you know how to play golf?

Intermediate

1. Is chess viewed as a sport in Japan?

2. When was the last time you went to a baseball game?

Advanced

1. Do you think playing team sports helps people work as a team in other parts of their life?  Why or why not?

2. Other than keeping fit, what are some benefits to playing sports?

That’s it! Please prepare and ask me questions if you need help! You can email me too! Hope to see you next time.

 

Group Discussion: Jobs and Work

Hey everybody!

Good evening. Here is our next discussion topic for Saturday (October 4th) and Monday (October 6th).  The topic is jobs and work.

I’m going to do things a little differently this time: I will provide all the lexis you will need to understand the questions… but I’m only going to post a few sample questions!

This time, I would like you to create at least two questions for the discussion yourself!

That means no cheating and using my questions.  🙂

We will start the discussion with one or two beginner questions, and then one or two intermediate questions, and with the rest of the time we will ask the advanced questions!

If you are a student of mine, I hope to see you at one of the discussion groups. If anybody (student or not) has any questions about this blog, please let me know: Post a comment here, find me on twitter, or email me through my website. Thanks!

During the next group discussion class, we will be talking about jobs and work. Here is a list of the lexis and possible questions which we may use during the lesson:

Lexis

Nouns

Business(es)

Career(s)

Compan(y/ies)

Co-worker(s)

Dut(y/ies)

Employee(s)

Employment

Experience

Field(s)

Management

Paperwork

Pay raise(s)

Position(s)

Promotion(s)

Retirement

Wage(s)

Workaholic(s)

Verbs

Describe

Earn

Improve

Own

Promote

Resign

Run (a company)

Adjectives/Adverbs

Competitive

Current

Demanding

Overpaid

Overtime

Satisfying

Typical

Well-paid/paying

Expressions

At what age

Be qualified to/for

How do you like

In # years time

What do you like about ___?

What is ___ like?

Working conditions

Example Questions

Beginner

1. Do/did you ever work overtime?

2. At what age do people usually retire in Japan?

Intermediate

1. What was your first job?  Tell us about it.

2. What did you likea bout your last job?

Advanced

1. If you could go back, would you do the same job again?  Why or why not?

2. Why did you choose your career?

That’s it! Please prepare and ask me questions if you need help! You can email me too! Hope to see you next time.