Wednesday, April 14, 2010

It begins...

Hello everyone!

Well, I've officially started my second year today. My first class of the new academic year was an advanced TOEIC preparation class. This class only has 8 students so far, so it should be an interesting semester. Also, unlike last year, I am conducting this class in a computer room. There are three reasons that I decided to do this:

1. Academic Word List
There is a very good site, in my opinion, that has all the lists plus loads of questions to practice the vocabulary with immediate feedback.

2. Listening Practice
I think sites such as VOA or Breaking News English are good for practicing listening comprehension.

3. Email
Something that I am considering trying, although I am not sure if it will work well since it is my first time to try this, is have the students email me at the end of class vocabulary lists of words that they did not know. I would then take these lists and make vocabulary quizzes for the students based on the most frequent words in their lists.


Like the email idea above, I am not sure how this will work out either, but each class will follow a similar structure.

Students will first work through the textbook (see below), but it is up to the student to choose the order; I have given them complete freedom in this matter. As they finish each question, they will submit their answers for marking, which I will do in class since there are so few students (one of the many advantages of a small class). Next, they will go back through the questions, highlighting the words they did not know. They will then make a list of those words with Japanese translation using Excel.

2. AWL
After a certain time, they will be expected to go online to work on the AWL, first starting with list 1 and so on. They will have to go through the vocabulary making sure they know the pronunciation, part of speech and meaning in Japanese of those words they don't know, and they will include these words in their list as well. After that, they will work through the questions on the website. Each list has 6 groups of 3 sets of 10 questions, so I am thinking of asking them to do only 1 set from each group. Also if there is time, I will ask them to add the words they don't know from the questions to the list they have already made that class.

Finally, they will email me this list and with the remainder of the time they will listen to an article from VOA or BNE. This will not only give them some listening practice, but it will also work as a post-task activity, or more importantly, a way to relax a little after having worked so intensively.


The purpose of today's class was to explain the course. I first introduced myself, stating explicitly what we would be doing in the course. I then had them write their names on cards with a marker - these cards will be placed on the computer they use to help me remember their names. I also had them hold these cards in front of them and I took a picture of them in pairs. Again, this was also for the purpose of remembering their names. Since there are so few students, however, I am quite confident that forgetting names in this class will not be a problem.

Once I finished taking their photos, I went through the syllabus (see below) explaining things in more detail, stopping at certain times to ask them if they had any questions. I also told them that if they ever had any questions they could email me or come to my office. Finally, I had them enter some personal information into the computer that I will use to make the student list for this class.

Well, I think that is it for today. Things are going to be busier for me this year, so I really can't spend so much time writing these, but I will do my best to continue them throughout the year. For those of you who are starting like me, good luck and all the best this year!


-------------------------CLASS SYLLABUS-------------------------


Classroom: ***********************************
Time: 9:00 – 10:30 Wednesday
Instructor: ********************************
E-mail: **************************************
OFFICE: ********************************************


Reading Guide to the TOEIC Test (Thomson)
Earphones or headphones

NOTE: Students who do not bring these items will lose points.

Academic Word List (


By the end of the course, you should:
-be able to improve your TOEIC score, especially in the reading section
-have a larger vocabulary




9 TEST 1



4 TEST 2


Grades will be based upon the following criteria:

Weekly Quizzes
Vocabulary Exercises
Midterm Test
Final Test
TOEIC Test Score

*If you come at 9:15 or later, you will be marked absent.
*If you are absent 3 times, you will receive an F.
*If you are absent for a valid reason, you must give me that reason in writing by 1:00 PM Thursday. If you fail to give me this notice of absence, you will be marked absent.

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