With the attention span of young people getting shorter, and teachers having to compete with all kinds of distractions, educators have to start becoming even more creative and innovative. A language teacher at Kurashiki Seiryo High School in Japan’s Okayama Prefecture is trying to embrace the idea of micro-writing, Twitter-inspired style to teach her students how to understand characters in novels.
47-year-old Miki Mimura teaches literature to second-year students, and to help them get into reading and understanding classic and famous works of literature, she’s asking them to condense their thoughts into 60 characters or less. Sounds like a piece of cake right? Students find it tough, but ultimately more interesting than previous methods they’ve encountered. While reading a scene from Soseki Natsume’s Kokoro, she suddenly told her students to “tweet” what a certain character was feeling, and the thoughts just kept on flowing. 17-year-old Daiki Ko said, “It’s not easy to understand an old novel as it takes place in a different era, but the work becomes more familiar if we express characters’ feelings using contemporary words.”
Mimura learned from her postgraduate studies at Okayama University that American and European schools were teaching students how to put themselves in the characters’ shoes when studying novels and stories. So when she started noticing that her students were very fond of tweeting, with the social network’s 140-character limit for updates, she decided to use that as a starting point and developed a program or system that would show on the screen what the students type in the class computer, just like Twitter. Professor Mariko Murai, a language education expert from Naruto University of Education, said that Mimura’s teaching method has potential. “Comprehension and self-expression skills are required in communication and they will also lead to academic development,” Murai added.
[ via Yomiuri ]