A total of 22 volunteers attended the November 30th Training Day of 2012 of volunteers of the Japan Foundation’s Japanese Taster for Schools (JTS) Programme, in which native and fluent Japanese speakers conduct free Japanese taster sessions in UK schools.
The day started with a basic outline of the JTS programme for new volunteers, followed by presentations from two volunteers (one native and one non-native Japanese speaker) who had visited several different kinds of primary and secondary schools through the programme. The first volunteer had visited a London-based primary school within a group of volunteers, while the second had visited a Lincolnshire secondary school on her own. It was good to hear about the two contrasting experiences!
This was followed by workshops by Hiroko Tanaka (Japanese Language Advisor and co-ordinator of JTS at the Japan Foundation), who introduced how to teach Japanese writing – one of the most challenging aspects of Japanese for UK learners. However, Tanaka-sensei demonstrated that despite the difficulties involved, learning Japanese hiragana, katakana and kanji can be made very enjoyable for students through games and activities such as “kanji sumo” and the “Hiragana rap!” Finally, Tanaka-sensei showed some activities suitable for winter and Christmas incorporating Japanese language and culture.
Several of these ideas and materials came from Japan Foundation’s own resources, including Ready Steady NihonGO.
The training day was well-received by all volunteers. Isabelle Demaude, a new JTS volunteer, commented, “Really interesting to see different approaches to teaching Japanese – will definitely be using some of the activities myself!”
Nobuko Boyd, a veteran JTS volunteer, commented, 「田中先生の教えてくださった、ひらがな・カタカナ・漢字の教え方・ゲームが大変参考になりました。」
(“The games and teaching methods for hiragana, katakana and kanji by Tanaka-sensei were really useful.”)
We would like to thank all volunteers for coming to the Training Day, and hope they will have the chance to hold a Japanese Taster Session at a school soon!
If you speak native level or fluent Japanese and are interested in becoming a JTS volunteer, please click here for more information.
If you are a school teacher and are interested in holding a Japanese language taster at your school, please click here to find out more.