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Japanese Taster for Schools (JTS) Programme Training Day September 2013

On September 6th 2013, 16 volunteers attended the third training day of 2013 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 reports by two volunteers who had held recent Japanese language tasters. One presenter was a native Japanese speaker who had visited Wayfield Primary School in Medway, Kent, while the other was a non-native speaker who held a taster at Sandgate Primary School in Folkestone (also in Kent). It was a good opportunity to hear about two quite different JTS experiences.

Next, the Japan Foundation’s Japanese Language Advisor, Hiroko Tanaka, held workshops on how to introduce Japanese language effectively in a Japanese taster, focussing on the teaching of Japanese numbers. Tanaka-sensei demonstrated that numbers can be made easier to remember through the use of pictures and gestures. She also introduced methods of practicing Japanese numbers, including the use of fun games (including Bingo and a boardgame), and cultural activities like “tama-ire,” in which teams have to throw balls into a basket held by another member. Several of the materials used came from Japan Foundation’s own resources, including Ready Steady NihonGO.

Finally, as many volunteers who attended past Training Days had said that they would like to see a real-life Japanese language class, all participants had the opportunity to watch videos of Japanese teachers and beginner-level students.

Thanks to the enthusiasm of all volunteers, the training day was filled with energy and a lot of fun for all involved. Aki Adams, a veteran member, commented:


(“It was really useful because there were so many teaching ideas. The games and other activities were particularly good.”)

Isabelle Demaude, another veteran JTS member, said, ““Good fun, some great ideas for new games to play with students.”

We would like to thank all participants for coming, especially our two fantastic guest speakers!

Our next JTS Training Day is scheduled for November, when we hope to have some very special guests coming.... pupils from the Academy of Home Educators who have been learning Japanese for several months from a veteran JTS volunteer. Applications for this training day will open soon, so look out!

If you are interested in taking part in the JTS programme as a volunteer, please click here for more information.