On February 22nd 2013, 19 volunteers attended the first training day of 2013 for 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.
After an overview for new volunteers about the programme itself, the participants heard reports by two volunteers who had held recent Japanese language tasters. One presenter was a native Japanese speaker who had visited the London-based Rosendale Primary School with three other volunteers, while the other was a non-native speaker who held a taster at Sale Grammar School in Cheshire by herself. It was a good opportunity to hear about two very different JTS experiences. Several of the materials used for the tasters came from Japan Foundation’s own resources, including Ready Steady NihonGO.
These presentations were followed by a very special session by Kayoko Fujii – one of JTS’s most experienced members, having visited 20 schools during her time with JTS. As Ms Fujii is now returning to Japan, this was a final chance for volunteers to get some valuable teaching ideas from a veteran member. Ms Fujii introduced various songs and dances to make learning Japanese as enjoyable as possible for students.
Finally, Japan Foundation’s Japanese Language Advisor Hiroko Tanaka held workshops on how to introduce Japanese language and culture effectively in a Japanese taster, including fun games for teaching Japanese colours such as “finger twister!”
All participants seemed to enjoy the Training Day. Sachiko Toda commented, 「初めての参加でしたので、全く楽しく興味深かったです。実際の活動の紹介がとてもよかったです。次回も是非参加したいと思っています。」
(“It was my first time to attend, and it was all really enjoyable and interesting. The introduction to practical activities was very good. I definitely want to attend again next time.”)
Karolina Nalaskowska, a veteran JTS member, said, “The session was very entertaining and as always gave me lots of new great ideas for the next JTS.”
We would like to thank all participants for coming, especially our three guest speakers, and wish Kayoko Fujii the best of luck when she returns to Japan!