The first time we prepare a course is always difficult. Is this text appropriate? Are students going to engage in the discussion? If they don’t understand, what other examples can I give them? The preparation is always plagued with doubts. Luckily for me, I got an amazing group this time and things went much better than one could expect.
We had only eight lessons in the semester (1 credit course), but every lesson was full of discussion and questions. It is often the case that students do not say a word when instructors ask class-wide questions, but this group, oh boy, they were sharp. This was a first-year/second-semester class, which makes it even more amazing to see all that interaction in the classroom.
With a very small classroom size, we were able to split students into two groups for the last sessions. As the content dealt with directives from the Japanese Ministry of Education (MEXT), students were asked to present about it. Dare I say… they did a great job! Many details are lost in the translation, and I also understood some points that needed to be clarified in the English translation. This was a great example of implementing Active Learning in the classroom.
Of course, there were problems. As this is a course tailored for students aiming to become future English teachers, there were things they needed help understanding. Some discussion comments were shallow and lacked proper supporting ideas, showing that some of my students skimmed through the texts but did not bother to go deep into the subject. From my point of view, this is all part of the learning process, and to be honest, the main reason why they are not getting “A”s.
Now to the grading. I am sure that students learned something, and I am happy to say that all of them will pass the course. When they come to get their final test corrections, they will be able to reflect on their mistakes and learn something else even after the course is over.
I will miss this group.