Keeping a good balance

I am now adding a final touch to the handouts for the seminar, “how to successfully take the TOEFL test”, that is. Luckily enough, I’ve got more participants than I’d expected. I was wondering if I would be able to hold the seminar in the first place when I first made its announcement. I know I am known to those whose purpose is to get as much as 105 or 110, but I am not sure if my lecture would be appealing to those who have not even taken the TOEFL yet. So this seminar was a kind of challenge to me. I will make this seminar as meaningful and instructive as it can.

It’s so easy to give a seminar that is satisfying to the host himself, but it is so much harder to give a seminar that satisfies the actual participants. There may be a set of information that is so obvious to me, but not that familiar to the participants. At the same time, however, those basic sets of information can be learned by the participants themselves. There are a range of channels available to get such information (let’s assume they are valid and reliable). So if the seminar is filled with those basics, I will be dumbfounded to read the reflection and feedback of the participants.

Difficult, huh?

This, however, always applies to the classes I teach like every day. Do I have to give detailed explanation on this sentence? Should I refer to a similar Japanese custom to this? Am I talking too much now? How many more seconds do the students need to get the task done? Class should be meaningful to students, not teachers. Teachers can find pleasure somewhere else, but for students, pleasure must be there in class.

Now as a final touch, I am thinking about the ice-breaker that everyone could use at the beginning of the seminar. Some of them speak English well, while others not that well, but I would like them to speak out for the first 10 minutes or so just to create a good atmosphere. But then again, this is something I find natural, but participants may feel awkward just to do so.

It all amounts to keeping a good balance, which is what I will do tomorrow at the seminar.


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