Japanese Skill Blog #2

This week was quite interesting in regards to my chosen skill. After a long time running, I am getting closer to my overarching goals of teaching English in Japan.

Early on in the week, I practiced my Japanese by using my old Rosetta Stone subscription I got before I even came to university! I haven’t been on it in a long time so it was interesting to return to it. I relearned words I had forgotten long ago, such as colour words, food words and occupational words.

I have the hiragana spelling on the left, the “romaji” translation (how it sounds when read in English characters) and then the translation.

くろ (kuro) = black

しろ (shiro) = white

あか (aka) = red

あお (ao) = blue

きいろ (kiiro) = yellow

みどり (midori) = green

たまご (tamago) = egg

りんご (ringo) = apple

いしゃ (isha) = doctor or physician

けいさつかん (keisatsukan) = policeman

While I remembered a lot of these words very quickly, it helps to go back to the basics and relearn the fundamentals. Here is what Rosetta Stone looks like when it is teaching you:

rosetta stone picture

This is only one example of the many different ways it will teach you. In this one, it is showing several pictures and it asks you to match up the words. The word at the top says “kuro”, or “black”. Therefore I would have to click on the black square and it would tell me I got it correct. If I selected the wrong square, it would tell me I got it wrong.

On a different note, another Japanese related thing I did this week was drive up to Calgary to get interviewed at the Consulate-General of Japan! I applied to work for the Japanese government under the “JET Programme”, which stands for “Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme”. It is an exchange program that would put me somewhere in Japan to become an assistant language instructor, where I would help out the resident English teacher. I would basically be a consultant to make sure he/she is teaching English correctly, and eventually teach lessons myself.

I won’t find out how my interview went for another couple months, but even if I do not get selected, it was a really cool experience and I am thankful to the program for even asking me to come for the interview in the first place!

Thanks for reading this week.

  • Garrett J. Bates



Feedly Is Neat!

Today I signed up with a website called “Feedly”. Feedly is an RSS reader that I will use to follow multiple education websites, such as “Education Week” and “NYT Education”. This is useful because it allows me to keep track of different opinions and articles on the education topic. It is a one-stop shop for all my daily educational news. It is quite neat!

The process of me choosing my blogs/websites is quite simple, I just typed in “education” in the search bar and chose blogs/websites that I had heard about before. Doing it in this fashion is nice because when you choose a blog/website, Feedly suggests some other blogs/websites to follow as well. Therefore I chose the ones I had heard about and followed some of the ones it suggested.

The blog I like the best is the one I mentioned earlier: “Education Week”. They post about 90 articles per week and cover a wide range of topics. They talk about current education news, such as recent developments or tragedies, as well as suggesting showing new studies in relation to education. I find this helpful because I am never in the same mood to read about one topic. Anytime I sit down on my computer, I am always interested in reading different topics! For example:

feedly news feed picture

You can see on just the posts from today for “Education Week”, they cover a wide range of topics. From talking about child abuse hotline posters, to American senators backing new laws in relation to recent tragedies, they talk about a lot! Not only does this help me keep up to date on the news, but also informs me of things I would never of learned otherwise!

I’m still pretty new to Feedly so I imagine I will find more blogs/websites to help me in my development, but I’m finding it pretty awesome so far!

  • Garrett J. Bates

Japanese Skill Blog #1

For my chosen skill in EDTC 300, I have chosen to learn Japanese. I have spent many years on and off with my Japanese education. I have taken two university level courses and had two private tutors throughout my learning process. However, this was over the course of five years, therefore my abilities are still at a beginner level. I would like to have spent more time learning, but due to school, work and other responsibilities, my learning has been difficult to upkeep.

Where I am right now is a bit tricky to explain without giving a brief lesson in how the Japanese language works. In Japanese there are three written forms: Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. Hiragana is the most basic form, comprising of 46 characters. Hiragana is used in conjunction with Kanji to spell out words, and is hardly usable for long writing projects. Katakana also has 46 characters, which all sound the same but are drawn differently. Katakana is used for words that did not originate in Japanese, such as words like bus and hamburger. They are translated phonetically and are pronounced “basu” and “hanbaga” respectively. Kanji by far the most complex and is comprised of over 50 000 different words! Each symbol makes up a word, therefore it is extremely difficult to learn. Kanji looks exactly like Chinese symbols but are pronounced differently.

I have near mastery over hiragana, but again, that still places me at a beginner level. Over the course of the semester, I hope to learn the majority of Katakana. If I learn Katakana, I will have effectively doubled my understanding of the language. This will be especially useful in doing simple tasks such as writing my name. As my name does not originate from Japan, it would be written in Katakana.

To learn Katakana I am going to use online tutorials, create videos of myself saying the characters while holding up pictures of the characters, and using my copy of Rosetta Stone. I hope to learn between 5-10 Katakana characters a week, which would leave me plenty of time to learn the entire alphabet. I also hope to learn simple introductions and expressions.

On a side note, I have signed up to teach English in Japan with the JET Programme. This is a program that is run by the Japanese government that asks people all over the world to come teach English in Japan. I am still in the application process, but by learning more Japanese, I can be all the more effective in my career.

Thank you for reading, stay tuned for my next update!

  • Garrett J. Bates

Educational Tech Blog Post #1

Hello, my name is Garrett James Bates and this is my first blog post for EDTC 300! I am from Nova Scotia and moved to Regina for my university career. I am in my fourth year with an English major with a Social Studies minor.

I have thought long and hard about the place for technology in the classroom. On one hand, it is very fitting and only enhances much of the learning process. On the other hand, it is the most easily exploitable aspect of the classroom. Whenever students are on computers, the irresistible urge to play games or to goof around becomes almost too hard to resist. I know this because of my experiences in internship, but also because I was high school student only 4 years ago! If I, a person who wants to become a teacher, can hardly resist the urge to exploit computers, then I can hardly expect a student to be any different.

However, that is not to say that computers are the only technology available. In fact, I think computers (specifically computer labs) are the only technology that I am at odds with. I use plenty of slideshows, videos, and other such materials to enhance my lessons. One thing not often mentioned when it comes to things like videos, or Kahoot, or anything of the sort, is that it breaks up the pace of the class. There is nothing like sitting through a thirty minute lecture, only to be greeted with a Kahoot at the end. Students will often forgive your lengthy lecture to get the opportunity to prove themselves in a Kahoot! Many studies also promote Kahoot as a great way to increase student motivation, such as this one: Case study on the gamification approach.


Photo Credit: Luigi Mengato Flickr via Compfight cc

On a different note, we were asked to give our opinion on blogging as an activity. I think it is for some people and not for others. I tend to lean into the position of it being a chore. However, I always enjoy the opportunity to rant and give opinions, therefore it isn’t all bad. Honestly, I’d rather be writing creatively than about myself. One of my favorite hobbies is to compose story ideas and create these elaborate worlds with many factions vying for control over something. Perhaps one day I’ll be asked to write a blog on that! As is, blogging is just alright my book.

Thank you for reading.

  • Garrett J. Bates