Monday, 6 July 2009

Osaka Extensive Reading SIG

Over the last few weeks I have been visiting a number of teaching events and conferences up and down the country, meeting a lot of enthusiastic and knowledgeable people in the English language industry.

As I mentioned before here, I presented at the Hokkaido JALT conference in May. Last month I made it to three events. First, I attended a mini-conference in Niigata, where I was able to put on a display of materials for the examinations we promote and organise up & down the country. The disappointment of the day was listening to a famous professor announcing that his university was designing a new entrance test...not because I want people like that to see the value of Cambridge ESOL examinations, but because of the utter meaninglessness of moving the goalposts again. Schools and jukus etc will only teach to the test, not English to a better standard for the benefit of language learning and acquisition. Groan from me.

Shinshu JALT's meeting in Matsumoto I have previously posted on.

This weekend I was in Osaka holding down a table again, displaying Cambridge ESOL material as well as some support publications from Cambridge University Press - thank you John Letcher for your help. There I met a fellow Centre owner Malcolm and spent the day talking with teachers from the Kinki region, catching up with publisher reps, and seeing a very good presentation from the guru of extensive reading Rob Waring. The man talks an awful lot of sense and is inspirationally keen on extensive/graded reading.

I did not enjoy trying to negotiate the public transport system in Osaka; Umeda station was built by rabbits from Watership Down, it's a warren down there! A very good day out, if a little far. Highlight of the trip = seeing the British Lions win on Saturday night (even if there was a noisy cover band playing non-stop!). Low point? Kicking over my celebratory can of beer on the Shinkansen :(