IE Orientation 2015: An Event to Remember

We’re looking forward to an energizing and engaging IE Orientation this year, with several senior teachers presenting for the first time. There will be updates on our evolving approach to plagiarism prevention, sessions on bringing cultural awareness and exchange into the classroom, a “pecha kucha” showcase of IE Seminars, an explanation of how to self-publish, an exciting technology panel, and a roundtable on best practices in IE Active Listening by veteran instructors of that course.

This year’s IE Orientation will be more streamlined, with only the two final presentations overlapping. This should ensure less chaos, better time management, and more opportunities for everyone to gain exposure to information, ideas, and suggestions that apply across courses rather than just related to the particular course(s) they have been assigned.

IE Orientation

Here is the schedule. Just to remind you, the IE Orientation will begin at 8:30 AM on Saturday, April 4th, in Building 17, where we will meet briefly for coffee in room 17-808 before moving on to room 17-810 for the first session. The only session that will not be held in 17-810 will be the one titled “Best Practices in IE Active Listening,” which will take place in the Goucher Building–15-502.

The Scope & Sequence for IE Core has been updated for 2015. The biggest change is the addition of some plagiarism awareness activities and tasks at each of the three levels. Even though this document is most directly relevant to IE Core teachers, it is highly recommended that IE Writing and Active Listening teachers take a look at it as well since this is an integrated program and the changes in one course has knock on effects on the others.

We have also prepared an updated version of the English Department Handbook–a useful reference source for the rules, policies, and regulations of the department. It has helpful information about what you will need to do should you have to call in sick, etc. Teachers new to the department should definitely look through the text to see what it covers. Continuing teachers are strongly encouraged to take another look at it since there have been some updates.

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New Plagiarism Policy

The IE Program now has a new policy that addresses the problem of plagiarism. We do not see plagiarism as a greater problem at AGU than at other universities, and it may even be less of a problem due to the fact that plagiarism avoidance strategies are explicitly taught to our students. However, in order for students to get the most out of their education, and to ensure fairness across all classes, we felt that it would be beneficial to promote and enforce a clear plagiarism policy. Here are the PDF and DOC versions of the policy.



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New documentary about post 3/11 Tohoku

A documentary film dealing with the lives and experiences of Tohoku-ites recovering​ from the triple (earthquake, tsunami, nuclear) disaster is due to premiere this coming autumn. Linda Ohama is the Canadian filmmaker directing the documentary–“TOHOKU NO SHINGESU: A New Moon Over Tohoku”–which is now in the sound editing phase of production. She is planning to visit Japan after the film has been completed for the screening of her film and a lecture tour.

IMGP4345 (2)

An excellent public speaker, Linda has given talks to students and faculty members at Aoyama Gakuin University for a number of years, to much critical acclaim. As the work of a film maker constantly involves retooling and learning new things, it is a profession that is all about lifelong learning. You can see a write-up on the film at the 8 bit news site: A link to National Film Board of Canada’s website where a previous film by Linda Ohama–“Obachan’s Garden”– can be seen in its entirety is

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Calendar for 2015 Academic Year

Access an English version of the schedule for the 2015/2016 Academic Year here:



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Blues Lecture/ Concert by Steve Gardner


Born in Mississippi in 1956, Steve Gardner is an accomplished blues musician and photographer, having studied photojournalism at the University of Southern Mississippi and blues from the “School of Hard Knocks.” After working as a photojournalist in the States, he came to Japan, where he has freelanced for Japanese magazines as well as for Time and Newsweek. The interest in the blues that he found in Japan led him to create a picture book on Mississippi and the blues, Rambling Mind (1994). His first CD, “Rambling With The Blues” (2002) is this book’s musical counterpart. He recorded another CD in New Orleans, Louisiana, “Walkin’ the dog” (2008), and his newest release is a album named “Hesitation Blues.”

Through his music and stories, Steve Gardner will take us on a journey to Mississippi and show us where the blues came from — both geographically and spiritually. He will also speak about southern food culture and how that has been represented in the Blues.

EVENT: Open Lecture & Concert
WHEN: December 4, 2014 (Thursday), 3rd Period
WHERE: Aoyama Campus, 930 (Building 9, 3rd floor)

IE Core and Seminar teachers, as well as teachers of Reading I or II, should feel free to bring their classes to this special event.

Here is an article about Steve Gardner that was written by a professor in our department, Wayne Pounds, for the Metropolis magazine. It shows some of Mr. Gardner’s excellent photography and puts his music into historical context.

Click on the graphic (below) to access some fine blues songs about southern cooking, especially the art of barbecue.


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Photos of IE Teacher Orientation 2014

Many thanks to all the teachers who attended the annual AGU orientation for teachers, and those who made fantastic contributions through engaging presentations. I can’t think of a more energizing way to begin the academic year. We are particularly grateful to Tom Anderson for his generous talk on techniques that teachers can employ to deal with stress. We are grieving his premature passing after hearing, on Thursday morning, that he passed away. He will be missed by all in the AGU community for his sincerity, professionalism, gentle smile, and willingness to go that extra mile.

Created with flickr slideshow.
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New English Department Teachers Handbook

A new handbook has been produced for teachers that introduces all of the IE (and related) courses, explains expectations for grading and classroom deportment, describes the AV and computer facilities in the classrooms, and much more. It is highly recommended that teachers, at least, skim through the document early in the semester and sit down and read it more thoroughly once the academic year is under way.

The document provides answers to many of the questions that teachers have asked the IE Program coordinators and members of the administration in the past, so please refer to the index of the document before firing off an email. Having said that, we are always glad to answer any inquires from teachers. They have made it possible for us to produce as comprehensive a document as this one has shaped up to be. Download the Handbook as a PDF by clicking HERE.


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IE Orientation for Teachers 2014 (updated)

Here is the tentative schedule for this year’s IE Orientation, which will be held from 8:30 AM to the early afternoon in buildings 15 and 17. Everyone will meet first in 17-808 (the 8th floor of the tall building to the left after entering the main gate). Coffee and snacks will be provided. Here is a PDF of the schedule.


For the convenience of teachers, here are the latest updated documents related to IE Active Listening, IE Core, IE Writing, and Oral English:

2014 IE CORE Scope & Sequence PDF

2014 IE WRITING (Teacher Guide) PDF

2014 ACTIVE LISTENING Scope & Sequence PDF



2014 ACADEMIC WRITING Teachers Guide

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Moving toward a paperless future

As much as possible, we would like to encourage teachers to strive for a paperless classroom. Professor Yokotani has offered a great idea toward making that a reality. Almost all teachers provide students with many handouts throughout the year. We can cut down our use of paper by making available, at least, some of those handouts online, either through a course website or by sending them directly to students through email (after setting up a mailing list).

The idea put forward by Professor Yokotani was for teachers to create smartphone-friendly handouts for students using a template document optimized for comfortable viewing on a smartphone. These days, a majority of the students in our classes possess smartphones of one kind or another, so this is an idea whose time has come.

Using Microsoft Word, you can produce a smartphone-friendly document by using these specs:

Margins = upper 5 mm, lower 5 mm, left 6.1 mm, right 6.1 mm
Header position = 4 mm from the top
Footer = None
English font = Ariel, 28 pt
Japanese font (if Japanese is used in the doc) = MS P Mincho,  28 pt
Font type and size for header and headings = Times New Roman 36

After the document has been saved using Word, it is recommended that it be converted to a PDF so that you can be sure that students will see it as you do. It should be viewable on most smartphones without the need for resizing, allowing for the efficient swiping between the pages of the document.

EXAMPLE OF PDF CREATED FROM THE TEMPLATE (Try downloading to a smartphone to test it for readability)


You can suggest that students download and use the free smartphone (or tablet) app “Adobe Reader” for their iOS or Android device. That way they will be able to store all the documents they receive in one convenient place and view them comfortably.

The following documents, prepared by Prof. Yokotani of the IE Committee, explain in detail how to view PDF documents on mobile devices. They have been formatted to appear nicely on mobile devices and they offer a step by step explanation of how teachers and students may view them on iOS or Android devices. Although the files will appear long and skinny on smartphones and tablets, they facilitate continuous scrolling and allow users to print out four pages of the document on one A4-sized paper.

How to view PDFs (DOC)

How to view PDFs (PDF)

How to view PDFs (PDF arranged so that all 7 pages can be viewed on a PC or printed on ONE A4 double-sized page)

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2014 Academic Year Schedule

Here is an English version of the Academic Calendar for 2014, lovingly prepared by Chihiro Matsuno-san: Academic Calendar 2014.



The times when each of the periods begins and ends is as follows:

  • 1st Period: 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM
  • CHAPEL: 10:30 AM – 11:00 AM
  • 2nd Period: 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
  • Lunch: 12:30 PM – 13:20 PM
  • 3rd Period: 1:20 PM – 2:50 PM
  • 4th Period: 3:05 PM – 4:35 PM
  • 5th Period: 4:50 PM – 6:20 PM
  • 6th Period: 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
  • 7th Period: 8:10 PM – 9:40 PM
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