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Archive for February, 2010

Cause-and-effect situations

February 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Situation 1

Tom was your average student. He wanted to make good grades, and wanted to be popular among his friends. The problem this young, 15-year-old faced was finding a balance between being liked by his buddies, on the one hand, and making straight “A’s,” which his parents very much hoped he would strive for. One day one of his best friends asked him to go to an end-of-year party after school. It was going to be the biggest party to date and all of Tom’s friends, including his long time partner-in-crime, Jake, would be there. Going to the party sounded like good news indeed. However, there was a drawback. If Tom went to the party, he would be unable to study for his final exam, which was the following day.

Tom sat in his room and was faced with a great dilemma: Should he go to the party or spend another night at home studying for a test? After many minutes of meticulous deliberation, he decided.

“I can’t miss this party for the world,” he thought as he grabbed his jacket and ran out of the house like a bull charging at a matador.

Unfortunately, as soon as Tom arrived at the party he found that none of his good friends were there. None-the-less, he decided to have the best time that he could.

The next day when Tom made it to class, he felt weary, listless, and vapid. As he began to take the test, the words on the paper appeared blurred and the letters seemed to fly off of the paper. When he awoke from this exhausted state, the bell had rung and class was over. He had failed the test.

Questions to consider:

1. What did Tom do that caused him to fail the test?
2. How did Tom feel the day that he took the test?
3. If you were Tom, what would you have done
differently?

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My biographical anecdote

February 3, 2010 1 comment

Here is a short biographical anecdote that I wrote recently for an essay:

A couple of weeks ago I presented at the Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT) conference, which took place in Tokyo, Japan. I presented on using film and process writing to teach cross-cultural awareness as well as methods to encourage foreign students to engage in the writing process. I did this presentation with several of my fellow classmates from Columbia University, Teachers College in Tokyo. The presentation was a resounding success for everyone involved. For me, the presentation touched on a theme that has been a cornerstone of my life—that obstacles can be overcome with unyielding determination and effort.

You see, when the conference began, I had already transferred from Teachers College in Tokyo to the New York. Returning to Tokyo to give the presentation was not feasible at the time. After much contemplation, I wondered if I might do the presentation online. I recalled that I had previously done research on using Skype (an internet/phone/videoconferencing program) as an educational tool. The main disadvantage of using Skype for giving a presentation was its lack of multiple modalities for effective communication. This problem might be overcome, I thought, if I could find a program that could compensate for Skype’s weaknesses. And so I began my search.

After “googling” laboriously for many hours, I came across a free program called Yugma (cross-platform presentation software), which was integrated with Skype. Realizing that these two programs would allow me to simultaneously conduct a video conference in addition to presenting a Power Point presentation to remote computer, I negotiated with my fellow classmates and the organizers of the JALT conference for internet access in one of the conference rooms. Fortunately, we were successful in setting up the programs on the day of the conference. Thus, I was able to present to and interact with participants who were thousands of miles away at 4AM!

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