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  • Brett Reynolds
    I ve been at my new position for about three months now. There was no ER going on at all when I arrived. I brought in a bunch of readers and told students that
    Message 1 of 17 , Sep 26, 2003
      I've been at my new position for about three months now. There was no
      ER going on at all when I arrived. I brought in a bunch of readers and
      told students that I really thought that this was among the most
      important things they could be doing. I then offered to lend them my
      own personal books if they promised to take care of them and return
      them to me promptly.

      Despite the fact that many of the EAP students claim to be
      overburdened, they ate it up. Almost to a person, they are now reading
      a book a week with absolutely no requirement to do so. I now have a
      commitment from my program coordinator to put about C$1,400 into GRs
      and a commitment from my associate dean to match that funding.
      Everything just clicked.

      The one hurdle we've come up against is a $6 cataloguing fee that the
      inter-college library system wants to charge us. We're currently
      considering ways to get around this.

      -----------------------
      Brett Reynolds
      English Language Centre
      Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada
      brett.reynolds@...
    • James Swan
      On Saturday, Sep 27, 2003, at 00:13 Japan, ... I hold a pariah view among the listas here, it seems, and my own failure to convince my Japanese colleagues of
      Message 2 of 17 , Sep 26, 2003
        On Saturday, Sep 27, 2003, at 00:13 Japan,
        ExtensiveReading@yahoogroups.com wrote:
        >

        > Topics in this digest:
        >
        > 1. My ER course crashed and burned
        > From: "Michael Abberton" <mykbex13@...>

        > _______________________________________________________________________
        > _
        > _______________________________________________________________________
        > _
        >
        > Message: 1
        > Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2003 01:01:31 -0000
        > From: "Michael Abberton" <mykbex13@...>
        > Subject: My ER course crashed and burned
        >
        > Hello. Well, the er course I introduced for the ichinensei and
        > ninensei students here at the senmon gakko was a total failure. Over
        > 60 percent of the students failed the course, the principal insists
        > that they resit the exam, but most of the students PASSED the exam -
        > they failed because they did not read ANY books. Not one.
        >
        > Time and again we reset deadlines. Chance after chance was given.
        > Time and time again they were reminded that the main part of the mark
        > was the reading they did and the book reports. One student did all
        > the reading over the summer and handed in the reports on the day of
        > the exam, and so passed. Others did not. Some aced the exam - as it
        > was based on classwork - but failed the course.

        I hold a pariah view among the listas here, it seems, and my own
        failure to convince my Japanese colleagues of the merits of ER have
        been documented here. Nevertheless, I will sally forth.

        I do not test my students, as I find the very concept of "testing" ER
        utterly reprehensible and totally inimical to the philosophy behind ER,
        not to mention entirely lacking in validity.

        I do not require my students to write book reports, do oral
        presentations, or engage in any kind of song-and-dance group exercises,
        as the range of ability levels is so wide as to make any of these
        exercises essentially meaningless in a mixed classroom of 40 or more.

        I use the SRA Reading Lab as classwork and require self-selected free
        reading for homework. Each class session I wheel my travelling "Swan's
        Library" into the classroom and give them time to change their reading
        materials for the coming week. I try to keep the library stocked with
        a wide selection of materials gathered from wherever I can find them,
        ranging in difficulty from very easy children's stuff to NS junior-high
        level books to the daily JAPAN TIMES, western and romance novels, and
        other authentic materials. There are also some student-targeted
        materials and some graded readers thrown into the kitty, but my school
        doesn't give me enough budget for a very big selection of them, so
        mainly its simply scrounge up what I can.

        I do not use the students' SRA level as a grading factor. I tell them
        that SRA is purely for their own benefit, not for grading purposes.
        But I do require their attendance and limit their final grade based on
        the number of times they are absent.

        I do not spend much time on lecturing to the class about reading
        strategies, etc. as few of them listen when I speak anyway. Instead I
        use the opportunities presented by the SRA to provide one-on-one advice.

        Rather than book reports or journals on their daily homework reading, I
        ask the students to keep accurate records -- title, number of words,
        number of minutes, average reading speed in WPM, the difficulty level
        (rated HARD, OK, EASY), and the interest factor ("Did you enjoy it?" -
        rated Yes or No). Students who are caught falsifying their reported
        homework reading will automatically fail the class, but such
        discoveries are rare and only made accidentally, since make no overt
        effort to check up on their honesty. I refuse to play the role of
        policeman, as I think willingness to cheat is a character flaw that I
        really can't do much about.

        I collect their reading records monthly and tally up the totals. At
        the end of the semester, I grade everyone by rank-ordering them on how
        many words they report having read during that time frame, limited by
        how many class sessions they missed. Students who report having read a
        lot outside of class and match that report with a good class attendance
        record get good grades. Those who don't, don't. Those who attend the
        bare minimum number of classes set by university attendance policy will
        pass the class within the bare minimum passing range of 60 - 64, no
        matter how much or how little they claim to have read outside.
        Students whose attendance record more closely approximates perfection
        are able to earn a grade more accurately reflecting their true
        rank-order.

        Overall attendance is pretty good and, in my experience, few students
        miss enough classes to limit the score they earned with their homework
        ranking. That is to say, generally speaking, the students who report
        reading a lot at home also have the best class attendance records, and
        the final grades of the students with poor attendance records aren't
        much affected by their absences simply because they didn't report much
        homework reading in the first place. Few students miss enough times to
        fail the class entirely.

        Some students do well with this approach, others don't do so well.
        Every year I have some students who make it all the way to SRA GOLD
        (the highest level of Set 2a) or beyond, into Set 2b or even Set 2c.
        And, at the other statistical tail, every year I also always have a few
        who can't seem to break out of 2a BROWN, the lowest level, even after
        one school year of practice. Whether their problems involve dyslexia
        or whatever I don't know, but in my experience, these students are
        beyond my limited ability to help within the structure of a
        40-or-more-member class.

        Pariah view? Well, there you are.

        Out for now.

        Jim
      • michael abberton
        I think you need to read your post again there! You talk about the whole idea of testing being anathema, and then you go on to outline your method of testing!
        Message 3 of 17 , Sep 28, 2003
          I think you need to read your post again there! You talk about the whole idea of testing being anathema, and then you go on to outline your method of testing! Which seems even more strict than anything I did!
           
          How do you make sure that the students are doing the reading? This is perhaps a fundamental problem. And one that I started the whole thread with, as it happens. They should be reading for pleasure. But we are all teachers in academic systems that require grading and checks.
           


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        • rube39_@eml.cc
          ... Actually, all that is required is dedication, principles, and balls. Rube
          Message 4 of 17 , Sep 29, 2003
            > They should be reading for pleasure. But we are all teachers in
            > academic systems that require grading and checks.

            Actually, all that is required is dedication, principles, and balls.


            Rube
          • Juan Pino Silva
            Hi everyone, In Latin American countries it is almost impossible to teach a a reading course without a test. In the where I university I teach, only three
            Message 5 of 17 , Oct 2, 2003
              Hi everyone,
              In Latin American countries it is almost impossible to teach a a
              reading course without a test. In the where I university I teach,
              only three colleagues do ER and we know it works because our
              students are passing those exams, and because they tell us (in
              questionnaires) over and over again that their progress is mainly
              due to their work in the extensive reading program. They also value
              the follow-up tasks and the teacher's feedback they receive for
              every text they read. Unfortunately grades are needed to make pass
              or fail decisions. I wish there was a way to avoid exams.
              Best wishes,
              Juan

              --- In ExtensiveReading@yahoogroups.com, "David Hill"
              <david.r.hill@e...> wrote:
              > I am not quite sure where this topic started, so the following may
              be out of order.
              >
              > Testing of ER is a relatively untried area. This is partly
              because many feel that testing undermines the ethos of ER which in
              theri view is reading for pleasure. Philip Prowse (editor of
              Cambridge English Readers) is the champion of this view, hence the
              absence of questions at the end of CER. But people want evidence
              and so tests are necessary.
              >
              > I believe that a test of ER must replicate the process of ER and
              test the ability to read fluently for global comprehension. EPER
              developed two batches of tests at each of the 8 EPER levels
              requiring e.g. at an intermediate level the reading of a booklet of
              1000 words and the answering of questions testing global
              understanding. EPER offers these tests as a sample. It should not
              be beyond the powers of teachers to create their own perfectly
              adequate tests along the same lines.
              >
              > Certainly such tests do show up students who say they can read at
              a certain level but cannot finish reading the text in the allotted
              time. And we who receive Japanese students onto undergraduate and
              postgraduate courses find that whatever their IELTS score, very few
              can read quickly enough when they get here to complete their course
              reading.
              >
              >
              > David R Hill
              > EPER (Edinburgh Project on Extensive Reading)
              > IALS (Institute for Applied Language Studies)
              > University of Edinburgh, 21 Hill Place, Edinburgh EH8 9DP
              > Tel: 0131 650 8211/6200 Fax: 0131 667 5927
              > Website: www.ials.ed.ac.uk/eper.html
              > ----- Original Message -----
              > From: michael abberton
              > To: ExtensiveReading@yahoogroups.com
              > Sent: Friday, September 26, 2003 3:33 AM
              > Subject: Re: [ExtensiveReading] My ER course crashed and burned
              >
              >
              > Thanks.
              > Yeah, we hit them with how marvelous it was, and we have readers
              going easier than level one in the bookworms series. We encouraged
              them to grade the readers and talk about them to other students to
              recommend books. We devoted some class time to reading the readers
              too. I think maybe your first point got it, knowing that we would
              have to pass them anyway...
              > I suppose we could reassess the class, so that it is possible to
              pass on classwork and the exam alone, with the reading as extra
              points, but,
              > AAAARRGG this is so frustrating! This is a reading class! Yes,
              in the class we covered intensive reading techniques and great they
              could pass the exam but... I have always been a critic of exams as
              the be all and end all of assessment. Passing an exam does not mean
              that you KNOW the stuff or can APPLY the skills.. It just means you
              know enough to pass an exam.
              > You know, it wasn't all doom. I had some students in the class
              whistle through the readers and read more than the requirement,
              moving up through the levels. I had one student who was so excited
              to be able to read real classic books without constantly referring
              to a dictionary.
              >
              > Thomas Robb <trobb@c...> wrote:
              >
              > It's clear that somehow your students got it into their head
              that the
              > reading wasn't necessary. Perhaps they know something that
              you don't --
              > that the school has a policy of passing everyone anyway.
              There are quite a
              > few institutions in Japan that do not allow students to fail,
              particularly
              > if it means not graduating in the normal number of years.
              >
              > In my school, as well, we have an outside reading
              requirement. For quite a
              > few years it was absolute. If the students didn't do the
              required number
              > of pages, they failed. We had one student who took 7 years to
              graduate due
              > to this requirement! Out of a realization that there are SOME
              students
              > whose learning styles simply do not agree with an extensive
              reading
              > approach, we now simply penalize the students' grade if they
              haven't done
              > the reading! . If they are strong in other aspects of the
              course, they can
              > still pass.
              >
              > I wonder how the reading program was introduced to the
              students. A "sun"
              > rather than "wind" approach can work wonders. Were the
              students introduced
              > to the program in class and the merits of extensive reading
              introduced?
              > What attempts were made to build a "community of readers"?
              >
              > While it might not help for this term, it might be useful to
              spend a bit of
              > time IN CLASS with the readers so that the students will at
              least get a
              > start. If they manage to crack the book open and read a bit,
              perhaps they
              > might (well, some of them) decide to continue.
              >
              > Another factor might be the difficulty level of the books.
              Were the books
              > at a suitable level? My guess is that they might need Level 1
              or Level 2
              > in the Bookworms series. Anything higher than that might be
              too
              > frustrating. You might also try another series. Bookwo! rms
              are excellent,
              > but consist mainly of re-written adult literature. The
              Penguin series
              > containing book versions of movies might tweak the interest of
              the students
              > more. The Cambridge series offers stories specially written
              by ELT
              > specialists for a student audience.
              >
              > One more consideration is the amount of work that YOU are
              giving them
              > vis-a-vis other instructors who are teaching the same course.
              If the
              > students feel that, relative to the other instructors, you are
              demanding
              > too much work, then they might rebel.
              >
              > ER programs will always work better if the administration has
              determined
              > that outside reading is an essential part of the curriculum.
              The going is
              > much rougher when a single instructor attempts to implement an
              ER program
              > unilaterally. You might consider giving your
              administrators/supervisors a
              > copy of Rob Waring's "Guide to Graded Readers" available in
              Japanese and
              > English from OUP Japan.
              >
              > Finally, if the students have to resit the examination, why
              not make the
              > question "Tell me what you learned from a graded reader that
              you read this
              > term." :-)
              >
              > Cheers,
              > Tom Robb
              >
              >
              > ** Thomas Robb, Kyoto Sangyo University, Japan <trobb@c...> **
              > ** Visiting Scholar, La Trobe University, Faculty for
              Education 2003-04 **
              > ** Homepage: http://www.kyoto-
              su.ac.jp/~trobb/index.html **
              >
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            • Clive Lovelock
              I ve been following this thread about those who suffer under an unsympathetic administration. Here s an explanation of an angle on assessment in our ER
              Message 6 of 17 , Oct 3, 2003
                I've been following this thread about those who suffer under an
                unsympathetic administration. Here's an explanation of an angle on
                assessment in our ER programme. Much of it may not be relevant to
                others, but it gives bit more background information as to what angles
                one might make use of.

                Japanese universities naturally demand that students be graded for any
                course for which credit is offered - a pretty reasonable requirement,
                I'd say. Many of them leave it to teachers to decide whether to base
                the evaluation on an exam, on assignments, on coursework, or some
                combination of these. Others require an exam to be set, but the method
                of calculating grades is still left to each teacher's judgment in most
                cases. Few universities impose inflexible regulations about this, as it
                is deemed an infringement of the principle of "academic freedom".
                Personally, as far as teaching languages (as oppposed to research) is
                concerned, I think "academic freedom" is a convenient sacred cow that
                releases university professors from the responsibility of giving
                students good value for their tuition fees, but that's another story.(I
                just don't want anyone to think I'm defending academic freedom in the
                wrong context or opposing it when it's appropriate). But now I'll get to
                my point.

                Even where a university states that teachers are expected to give an
                exam, as long as it's understood that the teacher can then decide how to
                interpret the results, there's no need to let exams have undue influence
                on teaching and learning. The percentage of the overall grade that is
                allotted for the exam is the key point. Even in courses where I believe
                an exam plays a significant role (and many of my courses fit this
                category) I only apportion 20~30% of the total marks for the exam. If I
                thought that an exam was totally superfluous to a particular course, I
                wouldn't hesitate to award only 5% of the total grade for it. I wouldn't
                award 1% or 0%, as that might be viewed as disrespectful to the
                administration (!). On the other hand 5% is hardly going to make a major
                difference to the overall score.

                I give the greatest weighting to coursework (i.e. varying proportions of
                classwork and homework). I also give a small, but significant amount
                (10%) for attendance, because the (very important) classroom practice is
                impossible without attendance. The logic of this apparently simple
                causal relationship seems to escape some of my students - hence the 10%,
                a form of instrumental motivation. I don't give more than 10% because I
                want to emphasize that mere attendance, though a minimal requirement
                hardly amounts to much without efforts to achieve the course objectives.
                That's my general approach for all courses. Now, about ER courses ...

                The role of exams or other forms of assessment - even the role of
                assessment itself - of course depends on the course objectives. The ER
                programme at my university is exeptional among our English language
                courses, in that the objective and the pedagogical approach are imposed
                on teachers. I hasten to add that this is with the assent of the
                teachers, and that they organize their extensive reading in different
                ways. Anyone who's not interested in teaching reading through ER is not
                scheduled to teach in this particular programme. We have a separate
                reading programme for professors who want to use other methods - notably
                the traditional "yakudoku", which means page-by-page explication
                (translation) of text by the teacher. This keeps them off the backs of
                ER teachers.

                There are two main objectives for the ER programme. The main one is
                that, since the ER courses constitute one third of the 1st and 2nd year
                English language programme, the ER courses are intended to promote the
                learning of English. To be more specific, we see this as mainly
                consolidating partially-learned language and also to introduce (raise
                awareness of) other common and useful words and expressions. The second
                objective is to promote the enjoyment and habit of reading. That's a
                second priority, though still an important one. To reverse those
                priorities might raise unwelcome questions from other departments about
                the vaidity of our approach in terms of the amount of time and money
                that we lavish on Extensive Reading. We want to avoid such bureaucratic
                distractions.

                Given that progress in English (however little) is a requirement of our
                programme, we want to remind our ER students that this is an important
                reason for getting them to do all this reading. We don't actually
                believe that progress in English proficiency and progress in reading
                efficiency are the same thing, but we think they are sufficiently linked
                to justify the claim that progress from one (EPER) reading level to the
                next, is a valuable aim that supports our course objectives. Not only
                does ER help deepen students' understanding of English in general, but
                giving level check tests to decide when a student should move up to a
                higher (or occasionally down to an easier) reading level is a good
                motivator. Students want to move up and they get a satisfying sense of
                achievement when they do so. If they're struggling at a particular
                level, we can take the pressure off them by recommending a lower level,
                providing there's nothing to indicate that it's a bad reading habit
                rather than language level, that's holding a student back.

                We give up to 10% for students who raise their reading level over the
                course of a year. We give 6 points (a passing grade) to somone who moves
                up just one level, 1 to 5 points for someone who achieves less than
                that, and 10 points for someone who moves up three levels (or more).
                This is not a big enough percentage of the overall grade to make
                progress a big deal or to add significantly to stress, but like the 10%
                for attendance, it's a reminder that they should try to make at least
                SOME progress. To the students, these are tests, taken at intervals
                throughout the year, when the teacher (or they) feel they are due for a
                change of level. We don't leave it to our intuition or that of students,
                to decide when to change levels. We confirm, or contradict our
                intuitions with a level check. Students can be over eager to move up,
                and teachers sometimes unwisely encourage them in this over-eagerness. A
                level check test can ring an alarm bell for us if we are over-estimating
                a student. Other students lack self-confidence, and a strong test result
                can be instrumental in persuading them to try more challenging books, or
                in supporting a teacher's hunch about this. SO, as far as the students
                are concerned, these are CHECKS (like health checkups), not exams. As
                far as the administration is concerned, these tests can easily be called
                "exams", if that will satisfy them. And if all classes have to take an
                "exam" on a given day, the final level check can be scheduled in that
                period. So it's a matter of semantics as much as one of reality. Just
                treat the tests as "checks", and tell students they're "checks", too.

                In conclusion, forgive me for suggesting this, but I get the feeling
                that some contributers to this list seem to be leaning towards a kind of
                political correctness in this discussion. To me, political correctness
                is the same as a kneejerk reaction. "ER is for promoting reading as a
                pleasurable activity. The word 'exam' necessarily means something
                unpleasant or painful. Therefore exams are inimical to ER". But one
                person's exam can be another person's health checkup.

                The same kind of knee-jerk semantic conditioning is attached to the word
                "stress". EXCESSIVE stress is associated with dangerous mental illness
                or depression which causes serious mental and / or physical incapacity.
                But in the interests of brevity (linguistic laziness?) the expression
                gets abbreviated to just "stress". So: "(Excessive - deleted) Stress
                causes illness and inhibits learning, therefore we need to eliminate
                stress from the classroom." But, in fact, we can't live healthy lives
                without a bit of stress. It's what keeps us on our toes, alert, eager to
                achieve, able to react quickly in emergencies, etc.. Most people who
                don't feel stress at all are either in a coma, or under sedation, or in
                some way mentally handicapped. Entertainment (or pleasure) is a way of
                easing excessive stress, or even of avoiding it, but entertainment can
                also be a kind of drug that induces the couch potato syndrome. It
                distracts people from striving to realize their ambitions - including
                the ambition to learn English.

                But please don't accuse me of being against pleasure. I'm only against
                the misuse of pleasure to the extent of suppressing effort.

                CL

                Juan Pino Silva wrote:
                > Hi everyone,
                > In Latin American countries it is almost impossible to teach a a
                > reading course without a test. In the where I university I teach,
                > only three colleagues do ER and we know it works because our
                > students are passing those exams, and because they tell us (in
                > questionnaires) over and over again that their progress is mainly
                > due to their work in the extensive reading program. They also value
                > the follow-up tasks and the teacher's feedback they receive for
                > every text they read. Unfortunately grades are needed to make pass
                > or fail decisions. I wish there was a way to avoid exams.
                > Best wishes,
                > Juan
                >
                > --- In ExtensiveReading@yahoogroups.com, "David Hill"
                > <david.r.hill@e...> wrote:
                >
                >>I am not quite sure where this topic started, so the following may
                >
                > be out of order.
                >
                >>Testing of ER is a relatively untried area. This is partly
                >
                > because many feel that testing undermines the ethos of ER which in
                > theri view is reading for pleasure. Philip Prowse (editor of
                > Cambridge English Readers) is the champion of this view, hence the
                > absence of questions at the end of CER. But people want evidence
                > and so tests are necessary.
                >
                >>I believe that a test of ER must replicate the process of ER and
                >
                > test the ability to read fluently for global comprehension. EPER
                > developed two batches of tests at each of the 8 EPER levels
                > requiring e.g. at an intermediate level the reading of a booklet of
                > 1000 words and the answering of questions testing global
                > understanding. EPER offers these tests as a sample. It should not
                > be beyond the powers of teachers to create their own perfectly
                > adequate tests along the same lines.
                >
                >>Certainly such tests do show up students who say they can read at
                >
                > a certain level but cannot finish reading the text in the allotted
                > time. And we who receive Japanese students onto undergraduate and
                > postgraduate courses find that whatever their IELTS score, very few
                > can read quickly enough when they get here to complete their course
                > reading.
                >
                >> David R Hill
                >>EPER (Edinburgh Project on Extensive Reading)
                >>IALS (Institute for Applied Language Studies)
                >>University of Edinburgh, 21 Hill Place, Edinburgh EH8 9DP
                >>Tel: 0131 650 8211/6200 Fax: 0131 667 5927
                >>Website: www.ials.ed.ac.uk/eper.html
                >> ----- Original Message -----
                >> From: michael abberton
                >> To: ExtensiveReading@yahoogroups.com
                >> Sent: Friday, September 26, 2003 3:33 AM
                >> Subject: Re: [ExtensiveReading] My ER course crashed and burned
                >>
                >>
                >> Thanks.
                >> Yeah, we hit them with how marvelous it was, and we have readers
                >
                > going easier than level one in the bookworms series. We encouraged
                > them to grade the readers and talk about them to other students to
                > recommend books. We devoted some class time to reading the readers
                > too. I think maybe your first point got it, knowing that we would
                > have to pass them anyway...
                >
                >> I suppose we could reassess the class, so that it is possible to
                >
                > pass on classwork and the exam alone, with the reading as extra
                > points, but,
                >
                >> AAAARRGG this is so frustrating! This is a reading class! Yes,
                >
                > in the class we covered intensive reading techniques and great they
                > could pass the exam but... I have always been a critic of exams as
                > the be all and end all of assessment. Passing an exam does not mean
                > that you KNOW the stuff or can APPLY the skills.. It just means you
                > know enough to pass an exam.
                >
                >> You know, it wasn't all doom. I had some students in the class
                >
                > whistle through the readers and read more than the requirement,
                > moving up through the levels. I had one student who was so excited
                > to be able to read real classic books without constantly referring
                > to a dictionary.
                >
                >> Thomas Robb <trobb@c...> wrote:
                >>
                >> It's clear that somehow your students got it into their head
                >
                > that the
                >
                >> reading wasn't necessary. Perhaps they know something that
                >
                > you don't --
                >
                >> that the school has a policy of passing everyone anyway.
                >
                > There are quite a
                >
                >> few institutions in Japan that do not allow students to fail,
                >
                > particularly
                >
                >> if it means not graduating in the normal number of years.
                >>
                >> In my school, as well, we have an outside reading
                >
                > requirement. For quite a
                >
                >> few years it was absolute. If the students didn't do the
                >
                > required number
                >
                >> of pages, they failed. We had one student who took 7 years to
                >
                > graduate due
                >
                >> to this requirement! Out of a realization that there are SOME
                >
                > students
                >
                >> whose learning styles simply do not agree with an extensive
                >
                > reading
                >
                >> approach, we now simply penalize the students' grade if they
                >
                > haven't done
                >
                >> the reading! . If they are strong in other aspects of the
                >
                > course, they can
                >
                >> still pass.
                >>
                >> I wonder how the reading program was introduced to the
                >
                > students. A "sun"
                >
                >> rather than "wind" approach can work wonders. Were the
                >
                > students introduced
                >
                >> to the program in class and the merits of extensive reading
                >
                > introduced?
                >
                >> What attempts were made to build a "community of readers"?
                >>
                >> While it might not help for this term, it might be useful to
                >
                > spend a bit of
                >
                >> time IN CLASS with the readers so that the students will at
                >
                > least get a
                >
                >> start. If they manage to crack the book open and read a bit,
                >
                > perhaps they
                >
                >> might (well, some of them) decide to continue.
                >>
                >> Another factor might be the difficulty level of the books.
                >
                > Were the books
                >
                >> at a suitable level? My guess is that they might need Level 1
                >
                > or Level 2
                >
                >> in the Bookworms series. Anything higher than that might be
                >
                > too
                >
                >> frustrating. You might also try another series. Bookwo! rms
                >
                > are excellent,
                >
                >> but consist mainly of re-written adult literature. The
                >
                > Penguin series
                >
                >> containing book versions of movies might tweak the interest of
                >
                > the students
                >
                >> more. The Cambridge series offers stories specially written
                >
                > by ELT
                >
                >> specialists for a student audience.
                >>
                >> One more consideration is the amount of work that YOU are
                >
                > giving them
                >
                >> vis-a-vis other instructors who are teaching the same course.
                >
                > If the
                >
                >> students feel that, relative to the other instructors, you are
                >
                > demanding
                >
                >> too much work, then they might rebel.
                >>
                >> ER programs will always work better if the administration has
                >
                > determined
                >
                >> that outside reading is an essential part of the curriculum.
                >
                > The going is
                >
                >> much rougher when a single instructor attempts to implement an
                >
                > ER program
                >
                >> unilaterally. You might consider giving your
                >
                > administrators/supervisors a
                >
                >> copy of Rob Waring's "Guide to Graded Readers" available in
                >
                > Japanese and
                >
                >> English from OUP Japan.
                >>
                >> Finally, if the students have to resit the examination, why
                >
                > not make the
                >
                >> question "Tell me what you learned from a graded reader that
                >
                > you read this
                >
                >> term." :-)
                >>
                >> Cheers,
                >> Tom Robb
                >>
                >>
                >> ** Thomas Robb, Kyoto Sangyo University, Japan <trobb@c...> **
                >> ** Visiting Scholar, La Trobe University, Faculty for
                >
                > Education 2003-04 **
                >
                >> ** Homepage: http://www.kyoto-
                >
                > su.ac.jp/~trobb/index.html **
                >
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                >>
                >>
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              • Clive Lovelock
                I forgot to mention in the message I just sent about exams that our students are primarily graded according to the amount of reading they appear to have
                Message 7 of 17 , Oct 3, 2003
                  I forgot to mention in the message I just sent about "exams" that our
                  students are primarily graded according to the amount of reading they
                  appear to have done, based on short reports they file about these, and
                  on their active participation in class in reading, and in writing about
                  or discussing their reading. The latter may have little effect on
                  improving their reading, but it does get them to recycle language they
                  have read through other mental processes, thereby reinforcing language
                  acquisition. I believe writing about and discussing reading can be
                  enjoyable activities and build students' confidence in their ability to
                  communicate in English.

                  CL
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