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June 08, 2005

Ryan Takes His Students on the Air

The Daily Yomiuri ran a feature yesterday on a program being run by former ELT News editor Kevin Ryan. An associate professor at Showa Women's University Associate, Kevin and his students recently launched their own bilingual radio show on FM Setagaya (83.4MHz) in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo. What's Up Setagaya!, a 15-minute weekly show that airs on Sundays at 8:55 a.m., brings local listeners an original selection of interviews, readings by the students and insights into various aspects of Setagaya. Though the time in the studio is fun and challenging for the students, the real educational benefits come from the many hours spent in preparation. None of the 16 students taking part have any broadcasting experience, so cooperation and dialog - all in English, of course - are essential to avoid on-air disappointment. "I feel simulation is more effective for learning because it puts students in a real life dilemma," Kevin says. "The radio show takes this idea a step further when the simulation becomes reality every Sunday morning. You know people are listening and you don't want to disappoint."

In order to take part in the program, students had to "apply for the job" and undergo interviews, which is in keeping with the university's participation in Gendai GP, an education ministry "initiative to provide students an experiential English-learning environment." The show has appeal not only for English-speaking listeners but also for language learners. Student Marie Sakurai says, "It should be encouraging to listen to us and say, 'Hey, they are only students but they are doing a radio show.'"
Take English to the airwaves (link will expire)

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