AGU in America 2006

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Laura Jacob joins the team

We have hired undergraduate Laura Jacob as our first Student Mentor! I did not get to meet Laura when she came for her interview on Thursday, but Linda and Aaron (who stood in for me) were both really impressed. I am looking forward to meeting her soon.

On another front, I am investigating the possibility of a tour of the Washington Post. I think that will be really interesting!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

It's a "go"!

AGU has confirmed our program! There are exactly 20 students signed up (the maximum number). This is exciting news!

Linda and I will interview the first applicant for the Student Mentor positions tomorrow morning.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Welcome to Kevin!

Linda emailed me yesterday to tell me that she had just hired the second lecturer for the AGU program. His name is Kevin McCaughey. I don't know anything about Kevin yet other than that he lives in California, but I have just emailed him and hope to Skype him very soon.

Other than tweaking the schedule a little bit, not much else has been done since my last post; we are waiting to hear if enough students are recruited for the program to happen. I am also quite busy finishing up the spring semester here at MEI.

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!).