Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Community College Class

The first night of the "Intermediate Jump Up" (I didn't name it. Don't blame me.) class went well. Most of the people attended, and we started a spirited discussion on the environment.

It would be interesting to know why these students attend, what drives them to leave their homes at night and come to the university to study. They don't get college credit for the classes. They are more of an extension project. Most of them work and then come to class. I don't think any of them work in companies that promote based on English skills.

Whatever their motivations are, they are a good bunch, and I admire their drive.

4 comments:

BB said...

Konichiwa

Hey Daniel ,, i dont really know how to start but ,, what are those classes about ?

and one of the things that drove me to your blog is that your from japan ,, and im willing to learn japanese in September ,, im really excited

Sayonara

Daniel said...

They are English language classes. Learners come to improve their language skills.

You are going to learn Japanese in September? Are you going to learn at a school somewhere? It would be good to hear about what the classes and the school is like.

Nigel Fogden said...

Just a thought...

I'm teaching ESL in Japan as well and I often wonder what drives students, especially those who never seem to improve, to invest so much time, energy and money into English classes.

I don't think that, usually, learning English is the main reason. Many students are drawn to ESL classes because it gives them permision to think in a different way. Learning a new language is a "get out of jail free" card for people who are chaffing in the identity-box that their culture has put them into.

Strange to say, but don't underestimate ESL as therapy.

Nigel

Daniel said...

Nigel,
Great insight. Some years ago when I was living in Kumamoto, I went around to the local eikaiwa schools and got several to participate in a study on learner motivation. Therapy was not a factor I considered or one that the respondents came up with themselves.

I do not have a background in counselling, but if you do, this may be an interesting line of inquiry. I know there is a "counselling learning" method using some counselling methods to teach, but is there anything written about the theraputic effects of language learning?

Just thinking about the implications is exciting. For example, do our students benefit psychologically by learning a foreign language? Probably not everyone. Some students, who do not participate willingly, like students in manditory classes, probably wouldn't benefit as much as those who really let go.

Good stuff