Friday, 28 June 2013

Run for the hills! YLE training in Yamagata

 You might think driving to Yamagata on a Friday night after classes is a bit of a fool's errand, but that exactly what I was doing this time last week. Although it's a long way (a tank of gas or 550km) it is very straightforward...Nagano, Niigata, Aizu, aim for Sendai & turn left. The cricket had just started (perfect time difference to England) & my iPhone could pick up the live radio commentary all the way. Bliss!

I found a quiet place to sleep in the car, and had a day of YLE examiner training to look forward to nice & early Saturday morning, at MY English school, owned by my friend Ryan Hagglund.

I really enjoy training teachers who teach children, because they generally do not try to over-complaicate things, and are dealing with YLE classes on a daily basis. Seeing the child-friendly nature of the exams for real is usually met with very positive comments and the realisation that the format of the materials is very familiar to their way of teaching...and does not require any massive re-invention of the wheel to help their students be successful in them. What is the point of teaching to a test, after all?

After a full day Saturday, we all went out for a pint or two, as well as a frog. Not too much the worse for wear (well, me anyway!) we practiced on Sunday with volunteer candidates for both the YLE exams and the adults. Such practice is really useful for the trainee examiners, as it piles on the pressure being a lot more realistic than practicing with each other.

Tired, satisfied, I pointed the car east, then south, then west, and south again listening to more cricket, delighted that England were winning and that we have half a dozen re-certified examiners in the Tohoku region. Well done team!