Wednesday, April 18, 2007

My Other Blog

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It's not unusual for people to have two blogs but the truth is that I honestly don't have enough content for two real blogs. Well, that's not precisely true. From a certain perspective, my Blogcritic's posts are sort of like a blog for even more long-winded posts than normal (and given how long it takes me to make a point in my regular posts, that's some wordy work).

My other blog isn't really a blog. It's a collection of content for teaching private lessons called "The Home Sensei". I started it for two reasons. The primary reason was that I wanted to share the content I'd been making for my students. Many of my private students don't want to use textbooks but they do want some sort of discussion. Since most of them fall along some continuum of being intermediate in level, they aren't capable of handling intricate discussions of deep topics and aren't able to come up with ideas for hour-long discussions on their own. Finding the topic and keeping it going is my job. Therefore, I've been constructing a variety of cultural discussion lessons which I print out and use to guide the student slowly through various topics. Almost all of them are specifically designed for Japanese students.

The students, by and large, seem to enjoy these types of lessons. Of course, depending on the student's personality, they enjoy certain topics more than others. In general though, I try to avoid "heavy" topics because few of my students are interested in politics or newsworthy issues. This is probably a reflection of their age and gender to some extent and the fact that they aren't coming to me to be brought down by depressing topics. Teachers who find themselves in a situation similar to mine may find my lesson material useful.

One thing you also learn about Japanese students is that the vast majority of those taking conversation lessons either at schools or from private teachers aren't really interested in grammar or practiced sentence patterns. Most of them have already studied plenty of structures and rules in school and what they're looking for is a chance to put it into practice. This is one of the reasons many of them don't like textbooks. It's usually very boring for them to do lessons which focus on a grammar point or key phrases though there are exceptions.

The other reason that I started the second blog was that the failure of my hard drive on my Mac Mini taught me that it'd be a good idea to have my lesson materials backed up elsewhere. Since I can't trust myself to actually back them up all the time, putting them on the web seemed like a good idea.

At the moment, I've got some back-logged content that I'm still working on putting up so there will be a lot of posting at once followed by lulls as I burn out or start to only put up new content. I have noticed that, the more I labor to put up onto that site, the harder it is to get back to this one even though they both serve very different purposes.

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