Last night marked the end of another six-week cycle of classes at the Community College. I taught two night classes, one entry-level English, and one advanced class. I have been teaching these classes for several cycles now, and though I have become comfortable with them, there was some doubt about what the participants were thinking, so I did an evaluation.
In the entry level class, I was interested in two things one was the pace of the class, the other was the amount of Japanese that I use in teaching. For me the pace is S L O W. My intention is to move at a pace that they are comfortable with, not one that I decide is appropriate. My concern was, though, that it was too slow. There were 24 people on the register, and in the end 17 people were attending regularly. I know for a fact that one person had dropped out because it was too slow. (The participant’s significant other was in the other class.) The results were surprising. All of the respondents were happy with the pace, and several students asked me to speak (English) more slowly. I try to speak at a normal speed, because it has been suggested to me by a colleague that my speaking speed has slowed over the past few years.
My plans for the next cycle, which will start in two weeks, will be to continue at this pace, and include an explanation why I speak English as fast as I do.
L1 in the L2 classroom is an issue that I struggle with in class and as a theoretical issue. I have received very very few evaluations that have suggested that I use less Japanese in class. I use some Japanese in nearly all of my classes, with the exception of the advanced classes at the Community College. No one in this recent evaluation suggested that I reduce the amount of Japanese that I use in class, and several respondents wrote comments expressing their appreciation for the use of their L1.
I plan to continue using Japanese at about the same levels that I have up to now.