From the 19th to the 23rd of August, 22 intermediate and 15 advanced speakers of Japanese joined the Japan Foundation’s language advisors to refresh their Japanese before the start of the new school year. This year’s attendees were non-native Japanese language teachers from a wide range of teaching backgrounds, from primary schools to university-level.
This year’s theme was 「話すことを教える」- Teaching Spoken Japanese. The aim of the course was for teachers to study Japanese teaching methods while at the same time brush-up their own Japanese ability by trying out teaching activities. Lead by Seiji Fukushima and Hiroko Tanaka, the Japan Foundation’s Japanese Language Advisors, the course gave participants the opportunity to explore how to teach Japanese conversation, including pronunciation, looking at both pedagogy and practical teaching ideas.
Participants looked at the JF Standard for language education and had time to practice speaking in Japanese by creating role plays. They also learnt about spoken Japanese in terms of timing, rhythm and intonation and tips to improve pronunciation, such as shadowing. On the final day of each course, the participants gave speeches or self-introductions in Japanese. These were excellent and demonstrated the exceptional talent and passion that Japanese language teachers in the UK possess. Catherine Stead commented that she “liked the balance of activities that challenged us to use Japanese and that concerned discussion of teaching Japanese.”
All participants enjoyed not only exploring teaching methods, but also the opportunity to network and practice their Japanese with fellow Japanese teachers. One participant, Beth Smith summed this up by saying, “I really enjoyed the challenge – and I would recommend to anyone teaching Japanese or running a Japanese club. I learned so much that I thought I had forgotten.”
We would like to thank all participants for coming to the Refresher Course, and really hope to see them again at future events. お疲れ様でした！
You can download the data from the Refresher Course below.