Welcome to Rob’s Zemi
My name is Rob Kerrigan, and I am the native-speaking English teacher in the Department of Global Studies (国際キャリア学科) at Shitennoji University. In Japan, it can be quite difficult to find places to practice and develop your English-speaking skills. However, in our department, the students are provided with plenty of opportunities to practice speaking in English with not only their classmates, but also their teachers, which includes native-speaking English teachers.
In this post, I would like to introduce my seminar or zemi (ゼミ). My zemi is eclectic—That is, it covers a wide range of topics. Of course, students practice their English in the class, but that is not the only thing they do. They also learn about second language development (SLD). This is the study of how people learn additional languages. I introduce a number of theories and ideas about this topic. Some of my zemi students want to become English teachers in the future, so these topics are useful for them. We also do mini lessons, where the students give a short lesson on a communicative activity. Not only do students practice English during these activities, but they also have to use their English in a practical and meaningful way.
One other thing that we do in my zemi is discussion practice. Many of the students who want to become English teachers need to do a discussion or an interview. This discussion practice helps them for this grueling task. However, this practice is also beneficial for the students who do not want to become English teachers. In these discussions, the students must display their opinions and provide reasons and evidence for their positions. This is no easy task in your first language and especially in your second language. We cover a wide range of topics, such as educational and global issues. We discuss the current events around the world and the in-vogue topic of SDGs. My students work hard to learn more about these issues and to improve their English proficiency and discussion skills. If you’re interested, please come check out my zemi!