An alternative look at life in the Land of the Rising Sun, coming from its southernmost prefecture, the island of Okinawa.
Posted By Dave on July 8th, 2014


Those who have known me a while will know that I just about kept my body shape in control (mainly in Okinawa through sweating generally due to the heat and humidity) or because of walking so much with my car dying.  It definitely wasn’t due to exercise though!  But after a couple of months of being back in England […]


Archive for October, 2010

Car & bike drags in Okinawa, October 17th

Posted By Dave on October 28th, 2010


Not the greatest photos I’ve ever taken, but a few decent shots in there.  Mostly bikes out today but a few cars out there.  The temperatures were better for power, but made the ice-like surface even more slippery.  Hopefully this’ll be my last drags as a spectator and I can do some runs next time.  I have to say watching those guys run made me want to throw on a big turbo and get dragging the FC.  Big props to Ken, Josh and the guys at Speed Factory for working hard to get these events up and running.  They’re still ironing out a couple of niggles but it looks like 2011 is going to be a great year for anyone wanting to drag race here in Okinawa.

One biker went down in the knockout part of the event. He messed up the launch and you could see was unhappy.  He went at full throttle through the finish line, let off a bit late and then hit the front brake a little too hard.  He went down and his bike skidded off into the mountain.  Luckily he stood up almost straight away, staggered a little but gave the “OK” sign.  There was so much oil and debris on one lane’s run-off area though that they had to take it down to one lane only for the rest of the event.














The Model UN: An Educational Gem

Posted By Dave on October 7th, 2010

It’s been over 14 months since I last taught a lesson of the Model United Nations, since I last heard a, “Motion” or read a “Decides to remain seized of this matter” at the end of a draft resolution.  But the memories of that teaching experience, the preparations for the conferences and the procedures themselves will stay with me for a long long time to come.  And I’ve been so pleasantly surprised that the guide I put up online about how to teach the Model UN is still attracting attention and comments from people all around the world.

In fact, that’s one of the very few downsides to the subject as a general curriculum subject at either high school or university.  With the UNA-USA has produced a teaching pack in the past (I can’t say whether it still does now), it is very much catered to high level speakers of English as their mother tongue.  For students who do not speak English as their native language, an initial task of reading the entire UN Charter from the textbook can dishearten them completely and kill their interest before it’s even had a chance to spark.  Therefore the teachers of non-native speakers face initial hurdles in even starting the Model UN as a subject.  New teachers to the subject are either left to their own devices and have to research how full-blown UN conferences work and try to work out how to translate that to the classroom, or to find guides like mine and hopefully get some ideas from them.  On a personal note, I was very lucky in that when I started teaching the subject I was working under 2 teachers with experience and knowledge of it.  I spent 12-18 months of learning about the subject and how to teach it from them, and then was ready to start teaching the subject on my own and find out for myself what strategies worked and what didn’t.

And that’s one of the main things about the Model UN.  There are so many different geographical locations, technological levels, age & English level considerations to take into account when developing a curriculum.  While a discussion on whether mountaintop removal mining should be permitted might be a great topic for those in some countries, for students in the Maldives which has a maximum height above sea level of around 2m it’s not going to be the most interesting topic for them.  And once you’ve decided on a topic there are so many ways to actually teach and run your class.  You can run it similar to a debate class, whereby instead of being country representatives, students are simply for or against the motion.  They can then research and present speeches and papers about it.  This is useful for a country with slightly lower level learners, but it has one disadvantage.  In this type of conference there would not be any real goal.  In a debate there is no draft resolution that can pass as the affirmative team will always vote for their own side, and the negative team likewise.  So it’s something that needs to be taken into consideration.  But then a full on conference brings into the questions about how strict you will be with your motioning, procedural points and amendments to draft resolutions, to name just three areas of debate.  It can seem a little overwhelming to a teacher starting off on the subject, but what it allows for is customization to the nth degree of how to teach the subject and run your conferences.

Am beginning to ramble slightly as the night wears on so I will be you adieu for now.  Post up a comment if you’re studying or teaching the Model UN, and let me know what kind of school you’re at, what you’ve chosen for a discussion topic etc.  I love the subject, and love sharing ideas with it about anyone who wants to talk and listen 🙂

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