On the 1st of August 2014, 12 primary teachers joined Japan Foundation staff for an introduction to both the Japan Foundation’s new Japanese Scheme of Work for Key Stage 2, and easy to follow resources that can be used alongside the Scheme of work. These teaching materials have been created by the Japan Foundation’s Chief Language Advisor Dr Seiji Fukushima, and have been tested with two classes of Year 3 pupils at Southfield Primary School. Participants were each given exclusive draft versions of the resources, and Dr Fukushima gave explanations about how he taught his class, and how his resources might be adapted for other primary Japanese classes. The resources themselves include worksheets, plans, activities, games etc.
Dr Fukushima explained the structure of the new Scheme of work, introduced the kind of activities he had tried at Southfield Primary School, and showed examples of student’s work, including a video with the children acting out animal-related vocabulary using the story of Ookii Kabu (The Enormous Turnip).
This was followed by an introduction of the Japan Foundation’s new taster package by Hiroko Tanaka, the Japan Foundation’s Japanese language advisor. This package includes lessons on some basic Japanese vocabulary, games and several culturally-related activities (which can be chosen depending on the time of year). Ms Tanaka demonstrated activities such as “fruit basket” (where students have to switch chairs depending on what vocabulary is called) and “tama-ire” (where participants have to throw balls into a basket, and then count how many they have managed to acquire.) Lastly attendees were told about the vast range of support, training and networking opportunities available to schools that teach Japanese.
One teacher, Laura Parfitt, told us that “It has been so useful to have the SOW and resources ready-made and with such clear lesson plans.” After the event, Catherine Rodrigues mentioned “I feel very motivated to go back to school and start teaching Japanese. Thank you for organising today!”
We hope this event gave the attendees everything they need to start teaching primary level Japanese from September. If you could not attend the event, but are interested in the new resources and taster package, they will be available to download from the Japan Foundation website soon.