I had an opportunity to talk with a friend of mine who turned out to be a professor at a university in Japan. We used to work together and I am very glad to keep a good relationship with this former co-worker. What led to this reunion was … maybe I should refrain from exposing too many things here? Anyway, she wanted to know in detail about teaching the TOEFL and I shared with her what I knew about it. The talk itself was very much fun and I would share as much as possible here, if I really could, but I shouldn’t (self-control!). However there are two things that she requested that I share.
One is that university students do not have a practical skill in note-taking. While you hear a lecture, you may want to take notes on it, for sure, but students do not voluntarily do so, except that the prof asks them to. Our assumption was the same; this is probably because of kind teachers at high school and even kinder teachers at preparatory school. They change colors of the chalk they use according to their principles: important rules are written in red, Japanese translation is given in yellow, and the others are written in white, for instance. Students are mainly responsible for copying the blackboard. We laughed together, knowing that this does not apply to university. This professor reiterated the nonsensical excuses to change the color of the marker (on the whiteboard). “I use red, not because what I am writing is important or anything. I use red, just because that’s the color that I happened to hold. “Hey, Shinobu, you should remind them of this back at your prep school!”
… and I did. And I wrote it in red.