On Tuesday 27th and Wednesday 28th May 2014, the Japan Foundation ran Learn & Teach Primary Japanese, a course for primary school teachers looking to teach Japanese to their pupils. This forms part of the Japan Foundation’s Primary Japanese Campaign, which aims to bring Japanese language learning to primary school children across the country.
Twelve primary level teachers gathered at the Japan Foundation for the two-day course, which uses our own Japanese Scheme of Work for Primary Schools to provide lesson plans and ideas for teachers. The participants, who had little or no prior knowledge of Japanese, experienced model Japanese lessons led by Chief Japanese Language Adviser Dr Seiji Fukushima. Over the course’s duration, the participants received instruction on how to teach hiragana and katakana, greetings and self-introductions, and how to say colours and body parts in Japanese.
Throughout the course, the focus was on teaching methods that would be fun and engaging for primary school students. The lessons made use of videos of Japanese media, internet resources, colourful anime-style characters, active participation and games aimed at allowing pupils to memorise vocabulary in an enjoyable way. Many of the teachers praised the wide variety of teaching tools demonstrated, and enjoyed taking part in the games and activities themselves.
At the conclusion of the course, each teacher was given a CD-ROM with copies of the presentations, teaching materials, and links to resources used during the course. They were also provided with information on securing funding for Japanese classes at their respective schools, institutions in the UK which teach Japanese, and more. It is the Japan Foundation’s hope that all the educators who attended the course will make use of our Scheme of Work and its associated resources to create engaging, enjoyable lessons which will make their students enthusiastic about learning Japanese.
Here are just a few of their comments on the course:
“Teacher was fantastic! Very charismatic, informative, fun. The course moved at a good pace.” (Aiya Abe)
“Loved the activities and how Sensei made everything easy to understand. The teacher was brilliant and the course was well prepared and delivered.” (Rishi Gohil)
“I loved the writing aspect- this really helped to clarify the different alphabets and their uses.” (Kimberley Devonshire)
We would like to thank all the teachers who took part in the course, and to wish them the best of luck with teaching Japanese in the future.