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A “level-up” system for the university classroom

Peter Quinn

If you are not lucky enough to be a JET Programme participant, your first experience teaching L2 English in Nihon is likely the conversation “school” (minkan-eikaiwa). The “stopped-clock rule” dictates that, even here, a good idea or two may pop up despite the general idiocy of the industry. Peter Quinn sees a possibility for reducing recidivism in the university classroom. In this scenario, canny readers may see a concern for teachers: the number of students could change significantly each week making it difficult to plan future tasks. Why not propose a solution? Write it up and send it here! 日本語も大歓迎!


A “level-up” system for the university classroom

Wouldn’t it be great to have a university where no students fail?  Let’s replace the pass/fail method of grading students in universities with the “level-up” system used in conversation schools. In conversation schools, students study in a class chosen according to their ability. When it is appropriate, the student “levels up” and joins a higher-level class. Nobody ever fails.

In university, instead of passing a class, students would level up to earn credits for graduation. They would accumulate participation points by studying hard. When a student had enough points, they would level up.

What would a university lesson look like in the “level-up” system? Let’s say a student wanted to take an English class next Tuesday. Online, the student would check classes available at their level. They would download the materials used and watch a short video of the teacher explaining what the class was be like and what homework was required.

The student would then choose a class. The teacher would get the student list for each class meeting sent to their mobile device. The student list would have links to all of the information about each student: attendance, homework, and participation in class. The teacher would call the roll, check homework, and teach the class as usual, all the while updating each student`s records on the mobile device. This record-keeping would not have to be a chore. For example, if a student were to complete a task very well, the teacher could say, “Very good! You get a participation point!” and update the student’s record at once on the mobile device. Having records updated can motivate students to study harder.

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