Today I went to the Smith School of English training seminar. I like to go
to these becuase it refreshes me and keeps me current with the other owners
and the direction and goals of our group. Of course Mark Smith had lots to
tell us that was really valuable and interesting, like the state of the
English school industry as a whole in Japan, and the actions we franchisees
should be taking to bring our business to the students who could benefit
most from it. But I found talking to another franchisee also quite
interesting. Chiharu gave me a whole new way of looking at things.
We discussed how she uses the Japan Sea in her lessons. I had heard much of
it before, but somehow it did not click with me, and I could never
understand it or implement it right.
Well, anyway, we talked about how after she does the main lesson, she then
uses the story as a template, and then tells her own story of a weekend
activity. The students then listen and try to answer the questions, (same
set of questions, adapted). The next stage is to ask the students to relate
their weekend activity. After they do, with some skillful questioning, you
can lead them to realize that they can use the story as a template to tell
their own stories.
From there it is just a short hop to the questions, which you or they can
ask (you to them, they to you).
This sets the stage for a more fruitful use of all the smith stories, and
the intermediate set of stories are quite difficult for the students to use.
Other adaptations are to have them insert phrasal verbs or idioms into their
I am pretty excited about trying this out in my own lessons!