2017年06月16日

「オンライン精読会」の総括

知る人ぞ知る秘密結社 CRC-SA(= Cats Reading Club、Scientific American 読書会、全12回)がひと段落つきましたので、簡単に総括をしておきましょう。

【会の目的】生の英語(科学雑誌)を題材にした、精読力のアップ!
精読をひとりで勉強するのはなかなか難しいです。なぜなら、自分ではだいたい読めているとか、辞書さえあれば読めるとか思っているわけですが......じつは自分では気がつかないうちに、しばしば大きな勘違いをしていています。
実力をつけるには、自分よりもできる人に間違いを正してもらうのが一番。また、英語が相当得意な方でも、科学英語を苦手にしている人は多いです。科学に詳しい人に教えてもらって、ちゃっかり背景知識までも身につけてしまおう......というわけですね。
※英検1級や TOEFL の出題者は、なぜか理系のトピックが好き!

【やり方】Google Sheet で和訳を共有。→ 週に1回みんなで Skype!
これは基本的に、Jun さんご主催の読書会(JRC = JunReadingClub)のやり方を踏襲。Twitter でこっそりメンバーを募集、Skype でグループ(5〜8名くらい)をつくって、情報を共有したり質問をやりとりしたり。
※1回の分量は原文1.5〜2ページくらい。
※数段落ごとに担当者を事前にわりあてる
※不明な文・表現を事前に洗いだして、シートで共有する!
※和訳は全文でも、詳細をはぶいた大意でもOK!
※質疑応答は Skype セッションで(毎回約1時間)。
予習の仕方の一例:
【1回目】全体の流れに注意してざっと読む。
【2回目】担当部分を和訳して、和訳をアップする。
【3回目】担当部分以外も調べて、シートにコメントを入れる。

【よかったと思う点】多様性にあふれたメンバー
ねらったわけではないですが、個性豊かなメンバーが集まって、お互いの弱点をおぎないあうことができました。例えば、プロの通訳、多読の女王、生物の専門家、化学の専門家、幼児教育に妙に詳しい方などなど。物理や宇宙のトピックでは、私が補足説明をしたこともあったかな?
全文和訳を必須とはしませんでしたが、じっさいにはしてこられる方が多かったです。とある方からの厳しいチェックともあいまって、結果的にはそのおかげでみなさんの力が伸びたかなー。
ハラハラした方がおられるかもしれませんが、私と○○○さんのバトルがひとつの名物に!?
※全部の記事を読んだわけではなく、面白そうな記事を重点的に読みました。
※たんに和訳をするだけではなく、ときには脱線して感想を自由に言いあいました。

【注意点・反省点】司会の力量(leadership & hospitality)
みなさんをなごませるジョークは炸裂せず......。まだまだ修行不足です。
Jun さんの会に参加していたときは、忙しかったら休んだり、気がのらなかったらセッションでミュートにしたりとか好き勝手やっておりましたが......自分が声をかけたからには責任が生じますからね。ちょっとしたプレッシャーを感じました。
あと、私は知り合いが少ないので、どうやってメンバーを集めるかが問題になりました。
※Scientific American を読むには、おそらく最低でも TOEIC 900 点、あるいは英検準1級に余裕で合格くらいの力が必要でしょう。

いますぐはちょっと難しいですが、いずれまたもっとパワーアップして帰ってきたいと思います! メンバーの方々、おつきあいありがとうございました!!!

Scientific American 201703.jpg

posted by a cat at 23:30| Comment(0) | Reading | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2017年06月03日

Fruitful for Eiken pre1 No.8&9

Fruitful English 26週連続提出サバイバル達成記念! 怒涛の更新(笑) 『7日間完成 英検準1級予想問題ドリル』は全部おわったので、『英検準1級総合対策教本』から予想問題を2題。例によって、解答例は参照していません。

I tried to answer the question;
Agree or disagree: Modern technology can improve our ability to communicate
What distinguishes humans from other animals? Since I was a child, I have been fascinated by this question. Currently, my answer is technology: people have the ability to devise and develop tools in a sophisticated manner. The next question is whether modern technology can improve our ability to communicate or not. My answer is definitely no.

For one thing, the overuse of technology does more harm than good. Before the advent of writing, people had to memorize everything, from stories and poems to the history of a given tribe. Storytellers had to have a remarkable memory. The audience enjoyed listening to heroic epics without the use of technology. However, our ability to remember and tell stories is now declining.

What's more, most people are now drowning in a flood of information. Even worse, smartphones enable you to use the Internet anytime and anywhere. Since it has become something of a necessity, it is almost impossible to be disconnected. You are bombarded by messages and have to reply to them all the time. The quality of communication is deteriorating rapidly.

In summary, I do not believe modern technology can improve our communication skills. You need to disconnect sometimes in order to fulfill your potential.


I tried to answer the question;
Agree or disagree: The natural environment in Japan is being seriously damaged
I was born and raised in Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island. It is famous for its beautiful nature. When I was a kid, I often went to the sea because I loved fishing. I have come to feel a strong connection to nature. However, now I realized that the natural environment in Japan is being seriously damaged and compromised.

For one thing, many plants and animals are on the verge of extinction due to the destruction of their habitats. The construction industry has a powerful influence on the Japanese government. You can see wasteful public works projects, such as the landfill of wetlands, everywhere. As a result, the paradise of wildlife is quickly disappearing all over Japan.

In addition, climate change is casting a dark shadow over the natural environment. Originally, Japan was also known as "Mizuho no Kuni," which means, "the land of rice." Japanese people have been growing rice for thousands of years. It grows best in this country, and became the staple food. If the temperature goes up by several degrees, it might be impossible to grow rice here.

In conclusion, the ecosystems of Japan are becoming increasingly vulnerable. We have to do something to prevent further destruction of the natural environment as soon as possible.
posted by a cat at 07:30| Comment(0) | Writing | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

Fruitful for Eiken pre1 No.5&6

明日英検なので、なにかのヒントになればと思って、添削後のみあわてて公開。「Harvard Business Review 学習会」の影響が色濃くでている2本。

I tried to answer the question;
Agree or disagree: The government needs to encourage young people to live in rural villages (5th day)
Nowadays, the urban culture appears to be attractive to many people, in particular to younger people. They are trying to go to college or find a job in big cities. This tendency results in a trend toward urbanization. In my opinion, however, the government needs to encourage young people to live in rural villages, for two main reasons.

First of all, the lifestyle in big cities is distracting for college students. They have many places to hang out. Unfortunately, some of the students are so childish that they cannot resist temptation. That is a waste of time and money. If they lived in rural areas, they could concentrate more on their studies, even during their free time.

Stopping urbanization is also beneficial to society. Frequently, urbanization is accompanied by the aging and depopulation of villages. You can find many vacant houses and abandoned farms that have been for sale for years. If young people return to the villages with ambitions to start a business, it will boost the economy, not only of the region but also of the whole country.

In conclusion, I believe that the government should persuade youths today to live in rural villages. This policy will lead to both academic and economic success.


I tried to answer the question;
Agree or disagree: Being friends with co-workers is important (6th day)
Business leaders are trying to improve the productivity and morale of their teams. Good teamwork is essential for achieving high performance. However, I disagree with the statement that being friends with co-workers is important, for two main reasons, as I'll outline below.

First of all, friendship has nothing to do with teamwork. You have something in common with your friends, such as hobbies, taste in music, and sense of humor. You can relax and have fun with them. By contrast, you want your co-workers to be competent in their work. Even if they have different taste from you, there is nothing wrong with that. Expertise is more valuable than anything else in the workplace.

In addition, the mixing of public and private matters has become a big problem in Japan. Most managers believe that going drinking after work helps build strong teamwork and morale. They like singing at karaoke bars until midnight. On the other hand, younger employees get frustrated because they feel it is a waste of time and money. They place more importance on their private life than older generations do.

In conclusion, I do not think that being friends with colleagues is not so crucial. Instead, each worker should focus on building skills and developing expertise.
posted by a cat at 07:00| Comment(0) | Writing | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2017年05月03日

Fruitful for Eiken pre1 No.4

あとひと月。なんとしてでもサバイバルを......というわけで、Fruitful English の添削です。学習会の仲間といっしょに検討するために、『7日間完成 英検準1級予想問題ドリル』が題材、模範解答は参考にしていません。

You(= a cat) wrote :
I tried to answer the question;
Do you think traveling abroad helps a person grow? (4th day)

あなた(= a cat)の作文
Even though Japan is an island country, more and more people (A) travel abroad. Travel lovers claim that overseas trips help a person grow. In my opinion, however, that is not often the case, especially when travelers do not learn (B)a language spoken in the area.

To begin with, people can broaden their horizons through intercultural experiences. Most Japanese people do not know much about other cultures(C) because Japan is a homogeneous society. If they (D)learn English or (E)other local language, they can (F_)communicate with local people directly.(_F) Unfortunately, most of them (G)enjoy only sightseeing and buying souvenirs.

Furthermore, interaction with local people benefits you in (H)another way. You can fully understand (I)advantages and disadvantages of your own culture, only when you compare it with other cultures. You will find out (J)yourself after diving into foreign cultures. In other words, you travel not only overseas but also within (K)you. Learning languages is (L)the sole access to such experiences.

In conclusion, if you do not (M)interchange with locals, traveling abroad does not help (N) personal growth so much. I strongly believe that you should learn English or a local language before visiting (O)the country.

添削結果
Even though Japan is an island country, more and more people (A) here travel abroad. Travel lovers claim that overseas trips help a person grow. In my opinion, however, that is not often the case, especially when travelers do not learn (B)the language spoken in the area.

To begin with, people can broaden their horizons through intercultural experiences. Most Japanese people do not know much about other cultures(C), because Japan is a homogeneous society. If they (D)succeed in learning English or (E)another local language, they can (F_)directly communicate with local people.(_F) Unfortunately, most of them (G)only enjoy sightseeing and buying souvenirs.

Furthermore, interaction with local people benefits you in (H)other ways. You can fully understand (I)the advantages and disadvantages of your own culture, only when you compare it with other cultures. You will find out (J)about yourself after diving into foreign cultures. In other words, you travel not only overseas but also within (K)yourself. Learning languages is (L)your sole access to such experiences.

In conclusion, if you do not (M)have interchanges with locals, traveling abroad does not help (N) your personal growth so much. I strongly believe that you should learn English or a local language before visiting (O)another country.

評価
Lv4 ほとんどネイティブの書いた英文と同じレベルに達しています。

From T*****,
Hello there,

Your views are just excellent and so broad-minded, and you've written so very well - great job!

At the beginning, it's best to refer to "people here", to specify "Japan"; and we need to refer to "the" particular language in that country, so we want use the article "the" here. On the other hand, at (E), we are referring to "another" (an other) language in general.

Also, we find out "about" ourselves in various ways, so we need this preposition; and we need to write "only enjoy" in this word order.
*副詞の語順!

Finally, rather than use 'interchange' as a direct verb, it's more natural to refer to "having" interchanges, using this word as a noun.
*より自然な表現! これは難しい……。

I hope this helps you - wonderful!
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2017年04月12日

Homework Essay

I wrote an essay about language learning as a homework assignment. This will be a good practice for TOEFL or IELTS. I wanted to add more details but I am still a slow writer...

Question:
Do you agree? It’s of more value to enjoy language learning rather than studying for real world goals, such as getting a raise or a new job. (250-500 words)

My essay (before the feedback):
The other day, I had a discussion with my English teacher. He has taught English in numerous countries and realized that motivation is the key to success. Unfortunately, most Japanese students do not have the motivation to learn. Even if they feel they should study, their goals are practical ones, such as passing examinations or getting promoted. In my view, though, such goals are not so valuable as enjoying the language itself, for three main reasons.

To begin with, forced learning is not only ineffective, but also discouraging. In other words, it works only temporarily. There are two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation comes from within yourself; extrinsic motivation comes from outside. The former is much more powerful than the latter. Once you get benefits from outside, you cannot keep your motivation without incentive pay.

In contrast, if you have true passion for the language, your experiences will be more than valuable. Some people predict that, thanks to advanced technology, similar to Alexa or Siri, you will not have to learn languages in the near future. I believe, however, no matter how advanced mechanical translators are, you could only convey superficial information through them. Communicating by yourself is much more enjoyable, leading to deeper understanding with each other.

Learning for fun also plays an important role in culture and society. As the world is globalized, more and more workers come to live in Japan, which has resulted in cultural conflicts. I think the root cause of the problem is lack of communication. If you learn their languages, such as Vietnamese, Tagalog, or Portuguese, it must be interesting, as well as great help for peaceful coexistence.

In summary, I strongly believe that the joy of language learning is far more valuable than studying for practical goals. As Nelson Mandela said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” (330 words)

My teacher said, "If a student is struggling with the language, how can he or she enjoy it?" That is a big problem...
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