From September 2014 it will be compulsory for all maintained primary schools in England to teach at least one foreign language from Key Stage 2. In response to this, the Japan Foundation, London is planning a series of workshops and events for our Primary Japanese Campaign 2014, to help prepare primary teachers who would like to teach Japanese. The first of these events took place on the 10th of September 2013, when 15 teachers of Japanese and primary class teachers came to the Japan Foundation, London for an exclusive opportunity to learn from the Language Consultants from Japan Foundation Sydney.
In Australia Japanese is the most widely taught language in primary schools, so Australian schools have a wealth of advice and resources that could also be used in the United Kingdom. The specialist language consultants from the Japan Foundation Sydney, Cathy Jonak and Hyogyung Kim, introduced some of the tried and tested ways Japanese has been taught in Australian schools.
The seminar started with an overview of the wide range of support (including resources and funding) for primary schools in the UK. This was followed by information about Intercultural Language Learning (ILL), an approach which integrates language and culture learning in a holistic way. ILL forms the basis of the languages curriculum for Australian school education. Lastly, participants looked at various classroom activities based on this approach using the resource Art Speaks Japanese-日本の美術, and the anime 『千と千尋の神隠し』(Spirited Away).
One teacher mentioned that this event “inspired me to use more cultural (traditional and anime) resources” while another commented that “it was useful to learn about the Intercultural Language Learning approach especially using Miyazaki films and Art Speaks Japanese.” If you are interested in the Art Speaks Japanese resource, we have six copies available to borrow in the Japan Foundation Library.