On May 27th and 28th, 14 teachers learned basic Japanese language skills through a wide range of fun and educational activities at Learn & Teach Primary Japanese, a course especially for primary school teachers learning Japanese from scratch as part of the Japan Foundation’s Primary Japanese Campaign.
The two-day course began at the Institute of Education in London, where teachers first learned some basic Japanese greetings and phrases for self-introductions. This was followed by a workshop in making Japanese hanko rubber stamps, taught by the Japan Foundation’s Assistant Japanese Language Advisor, Mio Tsunematsu. By learning about Japan’s hanko culture and in making their own, participants also learned the basics of the Japanese writing system. After lunch, the participants learned about the support available from the Japan Foundation for schools looking to start or further develop Japanese language provisions, and then found out more about travelling in Japan while learning Japanese language associated with visiting places.
On day 2, the participants came to Kuriya Keiko for a special workshop on making sushi. This began with learning Japanese vocabulary associated with food, taught by Makoto Netsu (Chief Japanese Language Advisor at the Japan Foundation London). The participants were then taught by Keiko Urakawa, proprietor and instructor at Kuriya Keiko, how to make different kinds of sushi. Despite most of the participants having never made sushi before, everyone created beautiful pieces of culinary art which they then ate for lunch!
After lunch, Netsu-sensei demonstrated how Japanese could be integrated into other parts of the curriculum, by teaching Japanese words and phrases associated with the topic of healthy eating. Much of this content can be found in Japan Foundation’s Japanese Scheme of Work for Primary Schools, which is free to download. Finally, everyone shared ideas about how they could integrate some of the activities and language skills they learned over the two days into their own lessons. All participants expressed that they had not only enjoyed the course but had learned a great deal as well – one participant said it was one of the best courses she had ever been on!
Some of the other feedback from participants included:
“Really friendly and well organised and delivered in a really friendly way.” (Chris Williams, Lavant C.E. Primary School)
“Excellent course, packed with useful information and very interesting activities.” (Elisavet Athanasiadou-Mangwana, St. Mary's School for Girls, Colchester)
“Cannot fault any part of the event/course. Teaching and materials second to none.” (Christopher Weadick, Burleigh Primary School)
We would like to thank all our participants for taking the time out of their half-term break to come on the course, and to everyone at Kuriya Keiko for their brilliant sushi workshop!
If you are interested in introducing Japanese at your primary school, you can find out more about the Primary Japanese Campaign here.