Practical Teaching Ideas

Kaiten Presen


Kaiten Presen are raw, bite sized presentations of unedited, unscripted, impromptu speech. Kaiten Sushi is the japanese name for “Rotating Sushi”. Kaiten Presen are “Rotating Presentations”.

I must give credit where credit is due, this idea was inspired by the CUE Forum at the JALT 2015 International Conference, in Shizuoka. At the conference, presenters gave 5 minute pecha kucha style speeches at small tables, and then the audience rotated around the room to a new table while the speakers stayed in place.

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Materials: smartphones

  1. Divide students into groups of between 4-6 members.
  2. Have the members sit around a table facing each other.
  3. Assign one student in each group to be the “lucky person”. I specifically use this language, though certainly seen as a joke by students, to place a positive spin on presenting in English.
  4. Give the “lucky person” 1 minute to find an image of something they want to share with the group. This is essentially a show-and-tell.
  5. Give them 3 minutes to talk about the topic they have chosen.
  6. Give the listeners 1 minute to ask questions.
  7. Have the “lucky person” stay where they are, and have the listeners all move to another table. Have the class move in a rotation so that the listener groups stay together as they go to a new table with a new “lucky person”.
  8. After each listener group has heard the 3 minute presentations from each “lucky person”, review the content discussed by each “lucky person” as a class, asking the class to remember what each speaker talked about and what they learned. Make sure to have the audience applaud for each speaker.
  9. Assign a new “lucky person” for each table, and repeat.

This activity seems well suited to larger classes where traditional speeches are fraught with nervous speakers and silence from the audience for 90 minutes.

Students are generally nervous at the beginning, but excited and confident by the end. They are able to talk about the same topic each time with a new audience, and this seems to improve their fluency. They are generally smiling and boisterous by the end.


Practical Teaching Ideas

Accent Archives at GMU

George Mason University built a wonderful tool for pronunciation research and learning.


The Accent Archive has people from all walks of life all over the world reading the same simple English paragraph. Go through the How To section, then there are three ways to browse for different accents, all recorded on mp3. After you try out a few (or many, I spent a good 2 hours the first time I encountered this site), you can move on to search the 2096 samples (and counting) for your research purposes. Most contain phonetic transcriptions. Resources has links to background research and related websites.

There are two ways I use this archive for teaching. I introduce it to students, and have them choose an accent, and see if they can write down the utterances. I will often get groups to try out certain areas, like India, or South America. After they try transcribing, I reveal the text of the paragraph.

The paragraph itself is a wonder. It is short, yet contains almost every sound in English, and most of the difficult ones for non-native speakers. It is a real challenge. I get my students to record the passage on the first day of class, and on the last, and compare those. The technology to do this is my next Tool.

But for now, here is that wonderful paragraph.

Practical Teaching Ideas

Pilot Course Entry #2: The Syllabus

A syllabus is a more specific plan than a curriculum, one that lays out what each class session might entail. Because it is published, though, for students, administration, and for the Ministry, being too specific can lead one to hamstring oneself. Indicating only the topic of each week’s lesson allows me to change content depending on the quality of students. Since this is a required third-year class with tracked English majors, the level, for Japan, will be relatively high, with an average TOEIC score about 550, perhaps even 600.

By adapting Moodle for smart phones (goal 1), I will be able to keep all of the class materials organized in one place. The idea, though, is for students to use English Central software outside the class for content input, and use class time for small group interaction. Autonomy (goal 2) is developed by putting students in charge of the activities they develop. Evaluation in class will be based on peer review. Next post will be about managing peer review. The characters along with the number “45” each week indicate the homework.

Society Today 1 Group 2 (Spring 2015) ST1G2M2

There are five main topics to stimulate use of English in all four skills; Education, Technology, Gender, Ecology, and Current Events. We read short passages and watch short videos online, do vocabulary and pronunciation activities for homework. These activities are linked to in-class comprehension and discussion activities that build on the topics. Students will prepare and create activities to lead a small group session for 15 minutes at least once during the semester.

Theme: Develop skills to communicate intelligently about society.

  • Week 1: Introduction. Level check. Grouping. Topic choices [準備45分] Get your laptop ready with wi-fi at school.
  • Week 2: Sample Activities. [準備45分] Write profile for Moodle.
  • Week 3: Education 1 [準備45分] Online comprehension, vocabulary and pronunciation.
  • Week 4: Education 2 [準備45分] Online comprehension, vocabulary and pronunciation.
  • Week 5: Current Events [準備45分] Online comprehension, vocabulary and pronunciation.
  • Week 6: Technology 1 [準備45分] Online comprehension, vocabulary and pronunciation.
  • Week 7: Technology 2 [準備45分] Online comprehension, vocabulary and pronunciation.
  • Week 8: Current Events [準備45分] Online comprehension, vocabulary and pronunciation.
  • Week 9: Gakuryou [準備45分] none.
  • Week 10: Ecology [準備45分] Online comprehension, vocabulary and pronunciation.
  • Week 11: Current Events [準備45分] Online comprehension, vocabulary and pronunciation.
  • Week 12: Gender 1  [準備45分] Online comprehension, vocabulary and pronunciation.
  • Week 13: Gender 2 [準備45分] Online comprehension, vocabulary and pronunciation.
  • Week 14: Current Events [準備45分] Choose 1 of 6 Activities.
  • Week 15: Evaluation, Feedback, Remedial Work

Materials: (available online, license through bookseller)

Grades: Classroom Participation: 60%. Online 40%.

常勤教員 月水木土 英語コミュニケーション学科教授室(大学3号館2階)