I have accepted the position of coordinator/teacher for the 2006 Aoyama Gakuin University study tour at UM, August 2-16, 2006!
Although the program will not be confirmed until April 28, when AGU will know if they have enough participants, Linda Sahin (MEI Assistant Director) and I had our first planning meeting this morning. Linda had drafted a tentative (very full) schedule of classes, field trips, activities, and outings. I put in my two cents' worth. For one thing, I would like to transform the "cultural observation journal" into individual blogs where the students could keep a running record of what they do and see while they are here, as well as what they think about it. I also want to schedule an hour each day in the computer lab for the students to reflect on and write about their experiences (with language guidance from the teachers) and post them on their blogs. They will be able to upload their photos to their blogs, and their families and friends in Japan can keep tabs on what they are doing and seeing by visiting their blog every day.
The schedule Linda suggested looks great, with lots of variety (sightseeing, sports, arts, panel discussions...). We will use the afternoon and evening activities as content for the morning language classes: for example, before seeing the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, the students could read or hear about these two U.S. presidents and the memorials themselves. I think that the students will already know a lot of grammar; what they will want to do here is to increase their vocabulary through exposure to content, and to improve their ability to speak and understand spoken English.
There will be a second teacher hired as well as three "mentors," UM undergraduate students who will accompany the group on field trips and outings and participate in activities with them. My job as coordinator will be to make the necessary contacts, find panel participants and outside speakers, and nail down the specifics. I think it should be fun (as well as a lot of work!).