The Student News Site of The American School in Japan

HANABI

The Student News Site of The American School in Japan

HANABI

The Student News Site of The American School in Japan

HANABI

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English 101: Get to Know the English Department – Mr. Confer

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Photo by Kamakshi Bhavnani

Introduce yourself! What class[es] do you currently teach, how long have you been at ASIJ, and what do you like to do outside of school? 

Hi! My name is Dwain Confer, and I’m in my 8th year at ASIJ. I currently teach Psychology of Fear, AP Seminar, and AP Research. Outside of school, I love to fly fish for trout in the streams and rivers of Japan. Don’t ask me about it unless you’re willing to see a picture of a beautiful fish in a beautiful setting. And there’s nothing more relaxing after a long day wading up a river valley than to sink into a rotenburo and forget about the woes of the world. 

When did you discover your love for English? Did you always love it?

I was a voracious reader as a child, then less voracious in high school, then overwhelmed in college, then voracious again, then reduced to picture books as a new parent, and now I would call myself a selective reader. My tastes have changed a great deal over that time, so I would say that I’ve found new loves in the vast realm of English.

What is your opinion on AI and Chat GPT? How, if at all, do you incorporate it into your teaching?

Generative AI is fascinating. It’s interesting (and amusing) to hear people’s hot takes about the future of humanity based on such an infant technology—this marks either an evolutionary step toward utopia or is the harbinger of doom. I haven’t incorporated it into my teaching, yet, but I am exploring ways that I might have a GPT writing mentor to help my students with their own work.

Which is your favorite English skill: Reading, Writing, or Speaking?

Writing

Please give a book recommendation and explain why students should read this book. 

Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. It’s a paradigm-challenging philosophical book about a conversation with a gorilla. 

If you could teach a course based on your niche interest, what would it be? 

Advanced Topic: “Writing About Place”—Nature and Travel Writing 

What do you want students to take away from your classes? 

An appreciation for careful language that reflects careful thought, and the capacity and desire to use language carefully and powerfully.

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About the Contributors
Sami Torii
Sami Torii, Writer
Hello! My name Sami Torii and I'm a senior at ASIJ. I've been at ASIJ for about 3 years now and before Tokyo, I lived in Hawaii. As a new member of Hanabi, I intend to explore the craft of writing and hope to cultivate the knowledge of both myself and Hanabi readers.
Kamakshi Bhavnani, Photographer

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