From Wednesday 28th to Friday 30th May 2008 the Japan Foundation London Language Centre held a training course in continuing professional development for teachers of Japanese. The course aimed to extend participants' knowledge and skills of Japanese teaching, develop their Japanese language ability and deepen their understanding of Japanese culture. 19 teachers from around the UK attended on at least one of the three days, with 10 teachers coming on all three days. The courses were led by Japan Foundation Chief Japanese Language Advisor Yoko Udagawa, and Japanese Language Advisor Shoko Middleton.
Each day started with warm up activities, and on the first day this was followed by a training session on Japanese teaching resources developed by the Japan Foundation. First participants studied the complete CHIKARA resources including the new Reading section, and then the new DVD resource "Erin's Challenge". On Wednesday afternoon there were two further sessions on Japanese textbooks and resources published in Japan, Australia and the United States, introduced by Udagawa-sensei from her experience of Japanese language teaching with the Japan Foundation overseas (click here to read Udagawa-sensei's welcome message with more information on her past Japan Foundation placements). Participants expressed interest in these resources, which many of them were looking at in depth for the first time. The resources are available in the Japan Foundation library, which participants were given the option of touring on Wednesday afternoon.
Thursday started with a session linking museum studies with Japanese language and was followed by a visit to the British Museum, where participants joined a tour of the Japanese galleries and then attempted to design their own worksheets. In the afternoon participants worked at developing Japanese language activities following their museum visit, and then shared their worksheets and activities with each other.
On the final day, following a session concentrating on CHIKARA for Reading, participants wrote and presented their own haiku. In the afternoon there was a session on useful expressions and instructions for the Japanese language classroom, and the day closed with a discussion on the issues and challenges facing the Japanese language teacher.
Overall the course was a great success, with the British Museum visit being particularly popular, along with the haiku sessions and the final discussion. See below for some comments from participants:
I am taking my students to the British Museum next month, so it was great to have this preliminary visit. With the haiku writing, even Japanese people find this hard, so it was great to feel that I could make this a simple, fun and achievable activity for my secondary class. (Sachiko Yamaguchi, King Edward VII School and Language College, Sheffield)
I met many new people and was able to exchange information with them, so it was a valuable experience. I was very happy with the course content and I learnt a lot. I'm looking forward to the next course. (Tomomi Masumoto, Eton College, Windsor)