From April the English teachers in this faculty will be using new texts for our classes. For the Communication Class we will be using Linda Lee, Kensaku Yoshida, and Steve Ziolkowski’s book, J-Talk, published by Oxford University Press. Having not used it before, I don’t know how it will work out. I have done an activity similar to that in the first unit with my first year classes. It is about names. Theoretically it involves students explaining their names in English. To me that is a great activity. I really got excited about it when I started. I was not really prepared for the apathy on the part of the students. They don’t know what their names mean. They don’t know why they have these monikers, why their parents stuck them with these tags. And they really don’t seem to care for the most part. We’ll see how this year’s crowd works.
For the Basic English classes, we’ll be using Jack Richard’s Interchange, Intro, the third edition. This is a very well supported book, with lots of helpful stuff, but really expensive. I would feel sorry about it if most of the students didn’t have cars that their parents bought for them, put the gas in, and pay both insurance and taxes for.
I am also thinking about having students buy the first of a series of books in Japanese about English that I really like. It’s called 「ビッグ・ファット・キャットの世界一簡単な英語の本」、(Big Fat Cat’s Easiest English Book in the World), by Mukoyama Atsuko, Mukoyama Takahiko, and Takashima Tetsuwo, published by the Gentosha company. I think the students could really use a fundamental review of the really simple, important stuff before we begin anything. I really like what they have written and how they explain the language. It is super useful.