Archive for the 'Study' Category

Exam Time

Saturday, March 16th, 2013

I’m nearing the end of my six month long intensive Japanese course.  I have four days left and they mostly consist of exams and preparation for the 5 minute talk I’m expected to give next Friday.  I have been asked by a few people if I think my Japanese is improving.  I find it hard to tell.  I have weekly tests and homeworks, which I get good marks in, but I still feel clueless on most days.

I think part of the problem comes from living in Japan and being constantly shown how much I don’t understand.  When I was learning other subjects I didn’t have any idea of the scope of the problem.  I thought I was good at science when I was 11 years old.  And I was, I was good for an 11 year old who only knew about the things my teacher had taught me.  I didn’t spend my days being shown science journals I couldn’t read or having to listen to people speak about advanced scientific concepts.  I had no idea how vast the subject of science was but I felt good about science and thought it was something that I would be able to continue to study.  I wonder if I would have decided to study science in university if I had been constantly bombarded by things I couldn’t understand?

In Japan every day I hear conversations I don’t understand and see media that I can’t read.  This doesn’t mean that I will give up but I do feel like there is a giant mountain in front of me that I will never be able to climb.



A Time To Study

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

I’ve just read through the details of the first assignment for my English Language course. I’m really surprised by it. The assignment is in two halves. In the first half I have to make a post to a university forum about a word that is either an English dialect spoken word, a word that has recently changed meaning or a word that has become extinct. The bit that surprises me is the second half of the assignment. I am expected to post a response to one of the other student’s postings. In doing this I am supposed to display my understanding of the genre of academic online posting of messages including netiquette. I wonder what they’ll make of smileys…

Marty is already campaigning for me to write about the word “hacker”. My first thoughts drift towards the word “spam”. But I do think I’ll be avoiding writing about words in the Northern Irish dialect as I suspect most of my tutor group will do that.

What Sort of Teacher Would You Like?

Monday, December 4th, 2006

I have my first Japanese lesson tomorrow. One of the questions I was asked by the company who are providing the lessons was “What sort of teacher would you like?” This is not a question I’d ever been asked before. When I didn’t answer Ueda said “but you have studied before you must have a preference of the type of teacher you would like.”

I really don’t know what sort of teacher I would prefer. But we decided that I would like a strict teacher who was demanding and wanted me to progress. I was told that some students prefer happy teachers who don’t get too cross if the students don’t complete their work.

It made me start to think about the various teachers I have had during my life. And the one thing that I really need in a teacher is that they have the ability to teach. Did you have art teachers like I did? They handed out paper and pencils and said things like “draw a coke can”. Never did they explain how to draw a coke can or how to draw anything for that matter. They just assumed that, like them, I was born with the ability to draw objects that were placed in front of me. I hated art because I don’t find it easy to draw anything which looking back just makes me sad. They had reduced art to nothing more than being able to draw or not being able to draw.

In third year (I don’t know what they are calling these school years now but I was 13 at the time and most of my classmates were 14) my art exam was to draw a green pepper. I had three hours to draw it and what I ended up with was something that looked a bit like a potato. Recently I’ve been going through lots of old papers. In third year I came in the top 3 in my year in every subject apart from Art and PE. I don’t know what my PE result was but I was 41st in art.

My little sister is now at the stage in life were she is being asked to draw coke cans. She finds it really hard to draw and none of her teachers have explained how to draw anything. When she asked me about it I told her that I couldn’t draw one either and not to worry about it. What I didn’t tell her was that with the right teacher she could learn to draw adequately. She may never be considered a gifted artist, but like with ever other skill, there are techniques that you can learn to help you improve. Of course she like me is going to drop art as soon as she can – not realising that there is so much more to art than being able to draw something that looks like a coke can.