Tag Archives: Australia

Research in English II Session #13: January 8th, 2010

Alice Springs, Northern Territory
Image via Wikipedia

Welcome back, everyone, to the first of our last two classes in 2010.

Important announcement: the makeup class scheduled for Wednesday Jan. 13th has been cancelled. Instead, there will be class as usual on Friday, Jan. 15th.

Here is the lesson plan for today:

  1. I return the remaining #2 reports.
  2. Review of the criteria I use to evaluate your writing
    1. conventions of writing: sentence and paragraph structure, punctuation, etc.
    2. Vocabulary: rich, precise, correctly used.
    3. Grammar: basic and advanced structures, word order
    4. Organization: logically organized, correct use of paragraphs
    5. Originality: have you used your own words? Do you have interesting ideas or approaches?
    6. Academic writing:
      1. formal register:
        1. avoid “I”; your writing should be impersonal and objective;
        2. avoid contractions like “don’t”;
        3. be precise in your use of words
      2. citations (“according to ….”, (Krashen, 2003), etc.
      3. references / bibliography, including websites and the date visited
      4. opposing arguments (both sides of an issue)
      5. logical thinking
  3. What does “discuss” mean?  Discuss – requires an answer that explains an item or concept, and then gives details about it with supportive information, examples, points for and against, and explanations for the facts put forward. It is important to give both sides of an argument and come to a conclusion.
  4. Topics for January, and details of the final exam.
  5. Australia quiz. Who or what are these (answer in 1 or 2 sentences):
    1. Alice Springs
    2. the Great Barrier Reef
    3. Canberra
    4. Stolen generation
    5. White Australia policy
    6. Pavlova
    7. vegemite
    8. Lamingtons
    9. RFDS
    10. Uluru
    11. Broome
    12. Bush tucker
    13. didgeridoo
    14. APEC
    15. What does Australia export apart from beef?
    16. How many foreign students does Australia have?
    17. Where did the new settlers who came to Australia in 2001-2 come from?
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Research in English II Session #12: December 18th, 2009

Alone Across Australia
Image via Wikipedia

Remaining reports: please introduce your report in English (title and subject), then in Japanese.

After introducing your report, please give the hard copy to your instructor AND email me your report. Thank you.

Report #2 presentations by

  1. Ms. Honjo on White Australia Policy
  2. Ms. Furuya on Aborigines
  3. Ms. Kido on Aborigines and Ainu
  4. Ms. Matsunaga on the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS)
  5. Ms. Miyata on the Rabbit Problem

After the reports, we listened to the audio for Unit 7 and answered the worksheet questions (Unit VII, Part 2).

Comments on the reports. I use the following rubric to grade your reports:

  1. Conventions of writing: sentence and paragraph structure, punctuation, etc.
  2. Vocabulary: rich, precise, correctly used.
  3. Grammar: basic and advanced structures, word order
  4. Organization: logically organized, correct use of paragraphs
  5. Originality: have you used your own words? Do you have interesting ideas or approaches?
  6. Academic writing:
    1. formal register
      1. avoid “I”; your writing should be impersonal and objective;
      2. avoid contractions like “don’t”;
      3. be precise in your use of words
    2. citations (“according to ….”, (Krashen, 2003), etc.
    3. references / bibliography, including websites and the date visited
    4. opposing arguments (both sides of an issue)
    5. logical thinking

I grade each item on a scale of A to E, with A being “expert, exceeds expectations”, and E being “far below expectations”. D and E are both failing grades.

Today is the last class of this calendar year.

UPDATE: There will be two make-up classes in January: Jan. 12th (Tuesday 5th period) in the same room (S404) and Wednesday Jan. 13th 1st period (9:00~10:30) in room 205. I understand not everyone can attend the makeup class. If you can, that’s great. If you cannot, it is not a major problem. We will not use the textbook in the make-up classes.

FINAL EXAM: The final exam will be Friday, Jan. 22nd. You will write a short research paper about Australia. I will give you more details on January 8th (Friday).

See you in the New Year. Until then, Merry Christmas!

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Research in English II Session #10: December 4th, 2009

  1. Checked with each student all outstanding assignments.
  2. Returned old papers
  3. Unit VII Part 1 worksheet
  4. Free time for writing report #2 (this report is due next wekk, Dec. 11th)

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Research in English II Session #5: October 23rd, 2009

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 27:  The ANZAC Guard...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife
  1. Australian movie reports
  2. Feedback:
    1. Presentation skills
      1. More eye contact is needed.
      2. Talk to the audience, not to your paper.
      3. Think of your audience: will they understand your English? Perhaps explain some key words in Japanese.
    2. Research skills
      1. You MUST reference your information sources: where did you get your information from?
      2. If you use pictures or photos, you MUST credit the person who took the photo or made the picture.
      3. One presenter said that the movie she watched (“Australia“) does not tell much about Australia, but she was interested in the Japanese attacks on Australia (“air raids”) and she researched them. That is a good example of intelligent research.
    3. Australian themes
      1. Today’s movie reports mentioned several themes or ideas which are important to Australians:
        1. Gallipoli” and the First World War. As one presenter said, Australians had to fight in this war because Australia was a colony of Britain. Many Australians are proud that Australians fought and died in this war, even though Crimea had no connection with Australia. Also, some Australians feel sad and angry that Australians died “for Britain” (not for Australia). In the same way that Hiroshima and Nagasaki will be remembered by Japanese for a long, long time, so Gallipoli and the First World War will be remembered by many Australians. That is one reason why this movie was made. The soldiers who fought in Galllipoli were from Australia and New Zealand. They were called “Australia and New Zealand Army Corps” or ANZAC (or in Japanese here).
        2. Opal. Australia is rich in metals and other natural resources. They are an important reason for Australia’s wealth and success.
        3. Surfing. Surfing is an important part of Australian culture.
        4. (Italian) immigrants. There are many immigrants from many countries living in Australia. Australia is a multi-cultural nation. Australia began as a colony of Britain, a white man’s country with a white man’s culture. However, this is no longer true, even though English (a white man’s language) is the national language.

Homework: none

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Research in English II Session #4: October 16th, 2009

Illustration of a scribe writing
Image via Wikipedia
  1. Review of basic rules of English writing:
    1. simple sentence 5 conditions: capital letter, subject, verb, period, space.
    2. complex sentences + common errors (fragments, run-ons, and comma splices)
    3. the nature of the paragraph – unity, grouping of sentences, topic sentence, major supports, transitions.
    4. the nature of the essay (according to Andy Gillett) –made up of several paragraphs; introduction, main body, conclusion; all written about one main topic; needs to have a clear purpose; “you should present ideas you have learned but in your own words, and say something for yourself about the subject; the ideas and people you refer to must be made explicit by a system of referencing.”  (c.f. Using English for Academic Purposes: A Guide for Students in Higher Education )
  2. Discuss your answers to the questions on page 29
  3. Discuss your questions and answers on page 31
  4. Listen and read page 32 and answer the questions in the textbook.
  5. Conduct a class survey, using the questions on page 29.

HOMEWORK:

  1. Your Australian movie reports are due next week.
    1. Movie report: write a report about an Australian movie. The movie must be about Australia (not just filmed there).
      1. See a list of movies that students reported about in the spring semester here
      2. You will read your report aloud to the class (same as in the first semester).
      3. Your report should include some research about the movie, e.g. about the history or area of Australia which the movie is about, also critical reviews or interesting reviews by people on Amazon.
      4. Your report must show me (the instructor) that
        1. you have seen the movie (not just copied your friend’s notes)
        2. you have understood the key points of the movie
        3. you have thought about the movie (is it good? is it useful to learn about Australia?), i.e. you have an opinion about it
        4. you can express your opinion in English
        5. you can use the MLA style for references.
      5. Your report MUST INCLUDE the following information:
        1. movie title (in both English and Japanese)
        2. movie director’s name and the names of the main actors and actresses and the characters they play
        3. date the movie was made
        4. the company that made and distributed the movie
        5. a summary of the story (key points only)
      6. This information MUST BE WRITTEN USING MLA STYLE (see the handout from session #3)
      7. Your handout should include the title of the movie and other key information, and some brief notes and pictures that will make your presentation more interesting. (The information in the handout does not have to be in complete sentences.)
      8. The report is due Friday October 23rd.
  2. Make a blog for your writing in this class, so you can share your thoughts and ideas with other students. Watch this video on how to create a blog in less than 5 minutes. (On the right side of this blog, you can see a list of blogs that my Interactive Writing I students made in the spring semester. Check them out!)
  3. Read the slideshows about paragraph writing and summarising:
    1. slideshow #1
    2. slideshow #2
    3. slideshow #3
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Research in English II Session #3: October 9th, 2009

TOKYO - FEBRUARY 26:  (L to R) Director Baz Lu...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife
  1. Editing symbols worksheet
  2. Complex sentences worksheet (run-ons, fragments, comma splices)
  3. List of editing symbols (for your reference)
  4. Textbook page 30 (reading and listening)
  5. Writing (on looseleaf):
    1. have you homeschooled?
    2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling?
    3. Do you think compulsory education is a good idea? Why/why not?
    4. Handout: MLA format (for your reference)
  6. HOMEWORK:
    1. Unit 5, part 1 worksheet
    2. Movie report: write a report about an Australian movie. The movie must be about Australia (not just filmed there).
      1. See a list of movies that students reported about in the spring semester here
      2. You will read your report aloud to the class (same as in the first semester).
      3. Your report should include some research about the movie, e.g. about the history or area of Australia which the movie is about, also critical reviews or interesting reviews by people on Amazon.
      4. Your report must show me (the instructor) that
        1. you have seen the movie (not just copied your friend’s notes)
        2. you have understood the key points of the movie
        3. you have thought about the movie (is it good? is it useful to learn about Australia?), i.e. you have an opinion about it
        4. you can express your opinion in English
        5. you can use the MLA style for references.
      5. Your report MUST INCLUDE the following information:
        1. movie title (in both English and Japanese)
        2. movie director’s name and the names of the main actors and actresses and the characters they play
        3. date the movie was made
        4. the company that made and distributed the movie
        5. a summary of the story (key points only)
      6. This information MUST BE WRITTEN USING MLA STYLE (see the handout from session #3)
      7. Your handout should include the title of the movie and other key information, and some brief notes and pictures that will make your presentation more interesting. (The information in the handout does not have to be in complete sentences.)
      8. The report is due Friday October 23rd.
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Aborigines not getting the houses they were promised

Ayers Rock/Uluru Sunset, Uluru-Kata Tjuta Nati...
Image by digitalreflections via Flickr

According to the BBC,

A report into an ambitious housing scheme for Australia‘s Aboriginals has found that not one dwelling has been built in the year since it began.
The project aims to construct 750 homes in the Northern Territory and refurbish hundreds of others.Officials blamed “administration problems” for the delays – which prompted one minister to quit. The slow pace of this ambitious programme to help Aboriginal families almost brought down the Northern Territory government when a former minister quit in disgust at the lack of progress.

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The Cove… on Japanese tv

As I blogged previously (here and here), “The Cove” is a documentary movie made in English by an American filmmaker. One of the advisors to the movie was Ric O’Barry, a former dolphin trainer. Australia created a very popular TV drama series about a dolphin. The series was called “Flipper” and was popular not only in Australia but also in the US and in Britain (I remember watching it when I was a boy). The popularity of this show helps to explain, perhaps, the Australian outcry against the town of Taiji in Wakayama Prefecture, for its annual dolphin “hunt”, which is shown in the documentary.

Japan Probe, the blog which first alerted me to this movie, follows up with another blog entry: how does the Japanese media react to this? The dolphin hunt in Taiji began yesterday, and Ric O’Barry was there and he brought some foreign journalists to Taiji.

I was surprised to read that the dolphin meat is sold, and some of it is used in school lunches in Taiji. The filmmaker was concerned about this, as he believes that dolphin meat is high in mercury, a poisonous metal. This was in fact confirmed by two Taiji council members who had the meat tested, as I wrote in my previous blog entry The power of film.

The Japan Probe blog writer thinks that the Japanese tv report was “sympathetic to Taiji’s fishermen”. What do you think? And what do you think about the documentary “The Cove”, and about foreign protests against it?

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The power of film

Following my blog about the Australian town of Broome and its decision to end its twin-relationship with Taiji in Wakayama as a result of a documentary movie made about the slaughter of dolphins that takes place in Taiji every year, JapanProbe tells us that anti-Japanese feeling has been growing because of this documentary.

The Australian media is reporting that there has been an surge of hate directed at Japanese people in Broome Shire, a town that had a sister city agreement with the Taiji, a town in Wakayama prefecture. Anger at Japan forced the town to dissolve its sister city agreement and now graveyards are being targeted

Below is a link to an “Open Letter to the People of Broom”. This letter is by the director of the movie “The Cove“, Louie Psihoyos. In the letter, Psihoyos points to another reason why the dolphin slaughter is a bad idea. If this is true, it is strange that it has not received more attention. Unless you think that dolphins are more important than humans.

The Cove exposes not just a horrific yearly hunt, but humans knowingly poisoning other humans by slipping dolphin meat into the food system. Dolphin meat is through-the-roof toxic because of high levels of mercury, the most toxic non-radioactive element in the world. Dolphins have anywhere from five to 5,000 times more mercury than allowed by law.

Despite this, the Taiji mayor and his council had a scheme in place to distribute toxic dolphin meat to school systems all over Japan. Ric O’Barry, his organization Earth Island Institute/Save Japan Dolphins and my organization Oceanic Preservation Society had a small hand in ending that dreadful scenario through the help of two Taiji councilmen, one of whom had children in the school system. They tested the meat and found it had more than a dozen times more mercury than allowed by Japanese law. They demanded the meat be removed from the school system.

The same website that posted the “Open Letter” also posts about Japanese newspapers picking up the story.

Japanese language newspapers reported on the dolphin slaughter in Taiji for the first time yesterday. Even though the Japan Times had previously covered the dolphin hunt in Taiji in its English language version, Japanese language papers have never reported it. The story that finally broke the barrier was the news that Broome Shire, Australia will break its sister city ties with Taiji because of the dolphin slaughter that takes place there each year.

This is a typical example of outside pressure, a concept called “gaiatsu” 外圧 in Japanese. It is well recognized as an effective strategy, because Japanese decision-making processes together with group dynamics, means that changes are difficult to effect. Given the “shame culture” of Japan, outside (i.e. foreign) pressure can often work to effect change more quickly, by using “shame”: “look at what other countries are saying about us! We had better do something!”

The article links to several Japanese-language articles, but the links are bad, except for this one.

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Broome tells Japanese city to stop dolphin slaughter

Location of Taiji in Wakayama Prefecture.
Image via Wikipedia

Last semester, we read in our textbook about the Australian town of Broome.

Well, Broome was in the headlines today, in an article in the Japan Times. Broome is apparently twinned with the city of Taiji in Wakayama. The two cities have a long history: people from Taiji emigrated to Broome in the early 20th century to teach the local people how to dive for pearls.

It appears that Taiji is now famous, or infamous, for an annual slaughter of dolphins. This slaughter has been given a great deal of negative publicity, and this year, despite the long history and the close ties between Broome and Taiji,

The local council in Broome voted unanimously Saturday to send a warning to Taiji to end its dolphin “harvesting,” council head Graeme Campbell said Monday.

At the same time, a documentary has been made about the annual Taiji dolphin slaughter, and has already been screened in the US. The English version of the Asahi newspaper has the story:

A U.S. documentary film that features footage of the annual slaughter of dolphins in a tiny cove in Japan has stirred waves of controversy here since its release at the end of July.

Moviegoers who have seen “The Cove,” directed by Louie Psihoyos, said they were stunned by the cruelty of the killings, captured by concealed cameras.

Many newspapers have blasted the traditional coastal whaling practice in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, which is not subject to the International Whaling Commission‘s ban on commercial whaling.

Map of Japan with Wakayama highlighted
Image via Wikipedia
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