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2015 Refresher Course for Teachers of Japanese

From July 28th to July 30th, 15 intermediate and advanced speakers of Japanese came to the annual Japanese Refresher Course for Teachers to refresh their Japanese to get ready for the new school year. This year’s attendees were non-native Japanese language teachers from a wide range of teaching backgrounds, including private tutors as well and primary and secondary school teachers.

The theme for this course was 「日本の最新事情」- "The Latest from Japan." This was a chance for participants to update their knowledge about Japanese society and culture, while brushing up their Japanese language ability.  Lead by the Japan Foundation’s Japanese Language Advisors, Mr Makoto Netsu, Ms Hiroko Tanaka and Ms Mio Tsunematsu, the course gave participants the opportunity to explore various classroom activities and ideas for teaching Japanese.

The course began with a look at some Japanese TV adverts, showing how these can be used to teach Japanese and spark interest in students. This was followed with a video from the Japan Foundation’s Marugoto Plus website and collaborative reading (appropriate for various levels) about the changing roles of Japanese families. Next there was an introduction to some recent Japanese apps that provide an insight into Japanese culture. These included “Henshin camera” app that allows people to take interesting photos of themselves, an “amazing choir” app that makes your singing voice sound like a whole choir, “naki pita” app which is designed to play sounds to help stop babies from crying and a “sumimasen” app that will call out sumimasen in various different ways when someone is too shy to call out themselves. Finally, participants presented their own lesson plans for teaching Japanese using ideas related to one of these topics.

All participants enjoyed learning about new trends in Japan and exploring teaching methods. Several teachers also mentioned that it was great to have the opportunity to network and practice their Japanese with fellow Japanese teachers. Some of the comments we received from participants included:

-        “The Refresher is always a much needed “injection” of new ideas for the Japanese classroom! ありがとうございます!(Thank you!) ” Kornelia Mund
-        “I really enjoyed the CM and technology sessions. Mainly, it was great to meet other non-Japanese Japanese teachers.”
-        “It was very good for networking and lesson planning ideas.” Jordan Cascoe

You can see photos of this event on the Japan Foundation’s facebook page. We would like to thank all participants for coming to the Refresher Course, and really hope to see them again at future events. お疲れ様でした!