Showa Women’s University has a new set of goals for general pedagogy called The Seven Seeds. These are the first goals here in my 20 years which I can really endorse wholeheartedly. Let me list them. I may talk about them in more detail later on. (Japanese in parentheses). I’ve added some notes to each to show how we do each seed in my classes.

The Seven Seeds in Ryan’s Classes (ゆめをじつげんする七つの力: ライアンの授業)

1. Live a Global Life (グロバルに生きる力)
We study using the Internet, and make contacts with people outside of Japan to give you a global viewpoint.

2. Use a Foreign Language (外国語を使う力)
English, of course.

3. Use IT Effectively (ITを使えこなす力)
We use IT tools in almost every class. That is why you should bring your laptop to every class.

4. Communicate (コミュニケーションをとる力)
To learn a language you have to use a language. You have to communicate with it in real situations that are important to you. Follow Ryan’s SMAT system:

Speak English: You can’t learn if you are quiet. It’s uncomfortable at first, but it gets easier.
Make Mistakes: If you are perfect, you are not learning anything.
Ask Questions: This means you have to be an active learner. Always thinking.
Take Notes: This helps by combining listening with reading, speaking with writing.

5. Be a Critical Thinker and Problem Solver (問題を発見し目標を設定する力)
Don’t believe everything you read. If it is to good to believe, it probably is. Solving Problems is the best way to learn. We have many task-based activities in class.

6. Be Active, keep one step ahead (一歩踏み出して行動する力)
Always keep busy. Fill up those little 3-4 minute gaps with small learning activities. Manage your own learning. Classroom time management because we have so many activities.

7. Be Yourself: Understand your priorities (自分を大切にする力)
Understand what you want to do. Understand what you CAN do. Set some goals. Long term goals and short-term goals. Make a list and check it off. We do a needs analysis for each class in the first session.