AGU in America 2006

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

First Planning Meeting

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!).

5 Comments:

  • Hi, Nina!
    Congrats on being the coordinator for the AGU study tour at UM. It sounds like a fascinating two weeks with a fabulous syllabus of blended activities.
    I don't think that blogs will be intimidating for the students, but we'll see.
    Best wishes,
    Teresa

    By Blogger Teresa, at Sat Apr 15, 06:56:00 AM EDT  

  • I am also happy with this accomplishment of yours Nina.I wish all the best in these two weeks

    warmly

    Isabel

    By Blogger Isabel Teixeira, at Sat Apr 15, 07:18:00 PM EDT  

  • Hi, Nina!

    Congrats on the Coordination of this very exciting international exchange.

    I don´t think students will be intimidated. On the contrary, it is a way to reflect and share what they will be experiencing. They will be connected to you, their peers, relatives, friends, the world! It is a thrilling, but rewarding experience. Go for it!

    If you need any help from Brazil, here we are!!!

    Good luck.

    Carla Arena
    Casa Thomas Jefferson
    Brasilia, Brazil

    By Blogger carla, at Sun Apr 16, 03:42:00 PM EDT  

  • Hi Nina. I think you have done such an excellent job at http://umei003rwg.blogspot.com/ that this looks like another great and fun project. I am sure your Japanese students will be delighted to have their personal impressions in writing for them to go back to whenever they want. I have always felt that "personal" language learning diaries -of the traditional sort- are jewels. Now blogs allow us to add pictures, sounds, maps, links ... you name it. This learning opportunity should not be missed. I have suggested to our Spanish as a Foreign Language teachers to have students create blogs on the experience of learning the language as well as interesting cultural elements of Venezuela. We get engineering and basic sciences exchange students mainly from Sweden and France who spend from one to three trimesters at our university. Tell us later how it went and I´ll keep you posted on our experience. Best of luck, your Color Twin

    By Blogger Berta, at Sun Apr 16, 10:06:00 PM EDT  

  • Hi, Nina!
    Your Japanese students will certainly like the idea to use blogs. It's not so difficult as that, you know.
    I wish you good luck and keep us informed how it is going.

    Best regards,
    Julia

    By Blogger Julia, at Mon Apr 17, 01:40:00 PM EDT  

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