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Japanese Taster for Schools (JTS) Programme Volunteer Training Day February 2014

On February 21st 2014, twenty 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 reports by two volunteers who had held recent Japanese language tasters. The first presenter talked about her experience teaching with three other volunteers at Harwell Primary School in Oxfordshire, while the other presented her report on her taster at a languages club at Westminster Kingsway College, a further education college in London. It was a good opportunity to hear about two quite different JTS 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. These included teaching body parts through the song “Atama, kata, hiza, ashi” (Heads, shoulders,  knees and toes), introducing Japanese colours and directions using both paper-based games and games using an Interactive Whiteboard, and a wonderful way to teach animal-related vocabulary using a simple PowerPoint-based kamishibai (picture story) of Ookii Kabu (“The Enormous Turnip”), which is part of the JFL Japanese Scheme of Work for Key Stage 2.

All the volunteers enjoyed the training day and said that they found it useful. Takako Higgs, a new JTS volunteer, commented:


(“It was good to see so many different ideas.”)

Kinue Snookes, another newcomer to the JTS Training Day, said:


(“The visit reports by JTS volunteers were extremely useful. Additionally, I really felt that visiting a school myself is something I can really do now.”)

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

Our next JTS Training Day is scheduled for June 2014, and bookings will be open in due course.

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