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Japanese for ALTs - Beginners’ Japanese class for JET participants

For the very first time, the Japan Foundation London has held an exclusive beginners’ Japanese class for participants of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme, in which graduates from English-speaking countries go to Japan to teach English and promote cultural exchange.

The course took place over July 20th and 21st, and twenty JET participants in total took part. Led by the Japan Foundation’s Chief Japanese Language Advisor, Dr Seiji Fukushima, the course was based on Japan Foundation’s brand new coursebook Marugoto: Japanese language and culture, in addition to material from the accompanying MARUGOTO+ website and Erin’s Challenge! I Can Speak Japanese. The Marugoto coursebook, which is based on JF Standard for Japanese Language Education  and emphasises learning Japanese for practical communication and cultural understanding, was very appropriate to the JET participants, who will soon find themselves in situations where they will need Japanese in order to accomplish basic tasks such as ordering food, meeting new people, and teaching Japanese school pupils. To keep the course effective and enjoyable, Fukushima-sensei incorporated many different activities into the lessons, including role-play, games and videos of Japanese life.

We were also very fortunate to be joined by fluent Japanese-speaking volunteers, who gave participants the opportunity to practice their newly-acquired Japanese and ask questions about Japanese language and culture.

 Some of the feedback from participants included:

 “Situation learning’ meant the Japanese study felt a more natural way to learn and my interest was held. The event was enjoyable!”

 “Really liked the course handbook & textbook. The sensei was excellent – very enthusiastic which helped keep me focussed. The additional help from the volunteers was very helpful.”

“I liked the contrast between group discussion and teaching and it was nice to get to know other JETs from the U.K. before going whilst learning some useful phrases.”

The participants will all be travelling out to Japan in August, and we wish them all the best of luck – ganbatte kudasai!

A big thank you to all the participants for coming, and an especially big thank you to the Japanese-speaking volunteers  - ARIGATOU GOZAIMASHITA!