Tuesday, June 06, 2006

TKAM at Sapporo University?

I'm elated! It's likely that next year I'll be able to teach the course on To Kill a Mockingbird that it's taken me literally months to develop.

For over a year I've been using the materials at Fuji Women's University, first on paper and then, towards the end of the year on computer. Over the year, I was able to hone the materials, particularly making the questions easier and more pertinent, and finding which websites were the most useful in exploring the novel. Finally, near the end of the year, I was able to put the course on Moodle, and this year I'm using Moodle extensively.

At the beginning of the year, I assign tasks: Economist, Historian, Geographer, Politician, and Sociologist. These people have to do research various aspects of American society that provide a background setting to the novel. What's great is that the students can go to websites that include photographs, interviews, and a plethora of materials related to the era.

Naturally, if I teach the class at Sapporo University, it will involve some changes. The students taking the class there would be English majors planning to study abroad. While the women at Fuji mainly read and write, I would have the students at SU do more formal presentations of their research, perhaps using PowerPoint, and include more discussion questions. That in addition to the extensive reading would give them a feel for what would be expected in an American university class. Also, by reading the novel and learning about all the related aspects, the students would gain a better understanding of American history, etc., that would be of enormous help in their studies in the U.S.

Oh, and of course we watch the film, starring Gregory Peck and a superb cast, as part of the class!

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