On September 12th 2014, 20 current and prospective volunteers attended a Training Day 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 Japan Foundation and the JTS programme itself, the participants heard a report from a volunteer who had held a recent Japanese language taster at the Charter School, a secondary school in London. This taster had proved to be challenging yet rewarding, and the participants found it really useful to hear about the volunteer’s real-life experiences.
This was followed by workshops by Hiroko Tanaka (Japanese Language Advisor and co-ordinator of JTS at the Japan Foundation), who introduced a number of enjoyable activities that volunteers could use in their own taster sessions. These included using the “Hiragana Rap” to learn the basic sounds of the Japanese language, playing matching pairs and board games to learn vocabulary, and the highly energetic game “Fruit Basket,” similar to “Musical Chairs” but great for practicing new Japanese words. Several of the activities introduced came from Japan Foundation’s own online resources, including Ready Steady NihonGO! , JFL Japanese Scheme of Work for primary schools and the draft version of the Japanese Taster Lesson Resource Activity Pack.
All the volunteers enjoyed the training day and said that they found it useful. Shraddha Payyapilly, who was attending the training day for the first time, said, “I have learnt about so many simple, easy and extremely effective techniques about teaching Japanese. I am extremely grateful and happy to be allowed as a part of this training day. Special thanks to Tanaka sensei. She is very motivating and kind.”
Yasue Gunji, another newcomer to the JTS Training Day, commented:
(“I really enjoyed learning about teaching Japanese taster sessions. The sessions where we got to move around were particularly fun. It was good to learn about the characteristics of British schools and how different age groups react to the tasters.”)
We would like to thank all participants for coming, especially our guest speaker!
If you are interested in taking part in the JTS programme as a volunteer, please click here for more information.