I have to apologize for getting this up so late. On June 21, we had visit from Andrew Boon, an associate professor in the faculty of humanities at Toyo Gakuen University, Tokyo. He gave two amazing presentations. The first was a talk on how to get students speaking during class time by using a new textbook called Inspire. Andrew is a co-author of Inspire and he demonstrated that by showing them a series of National Geographic photos and videos, the students could get into lively discussions about the subject matter. Some of the topics in the textbook included cities and food from around the world. Cengage Learning sponsored this presentation and also had a selection of their materials on display.
Andrew’s second presentation focused on Facebook groups and how they can be set up to give students a place to interact socially online with their classmates and instructors in English. He went over how he set up the groups for his classes and how they are maintained. He gave us a live demonstration of of couple of his groups. It was clear that his students were getting valuable feedback, not only from him, but from their peers. This also got them immersed in a native language environment. He stressed that you need to be able to actually add your students as friends on Facebook to make this work and that it might not be suitable in all situations.
Andrew’s presentations were very enlightening. We were grateful for him taking the time to come and visit us in Morioka, and we’d like to thank Cengage Learning for sponsoring his visit. Hopefully we can get Andrew up here again for another talk.