Saturday, November 19, 2005
Let's compare Canada and Japan!
(aka Tim Hortons vs. Mr Donuts)
That was the theme of the demonstration lesson I taught with my JTE's (Japanese Teachers of English) this Friday. We have been working on this lesson for almost a month now, and it's nice to finally be done with it. I think it was a pretty good lesson, and for the amount of time we spent planning it, it had better have been!
The demonstration lesson was actually for teachers who are interested in "International Understanding", so the majority of the teachers who came weren't English teachers, but administrators and elementary school teachers. We had more than a dozen onlookers (including a video camera) packed into the already crowded Grade 8 classroom (currently 39 students), plus other teachers from our school watching from the hallway.
I was a little bit nervous, because part of my job here is to internationalize, and to act as an ambassador for my country and other non-Japanese people. So our lesson was communicative, student-centred, and promoted international understanding. All of the things that we are supposed to strive for as JET ALTs, but don't always get to do because we have to teach to university and high school entrance exams.
We had the students ask each other about different things in Canada and Japan, and practice using comparative adjectives. The students did really well, and weren't too nuts. The grade 8 class is probably my favorite class to teach, because they are super genki (energetic) and very vocal. They are the opposite of what I was told to expect from Japanese students. Both I and the JTE were relieved that they were well behaved -- questions about how many transvestites there are in Canada as compared with Japan were kept to their worksheets. And no, I'm not making that up.
After the lesson, I went to an extremely Japanese style meeting to discuss our lesson and how best to promote international understanding in the classroom. It was educational for me from a cultural perspective, but extremely boring, and being all in Japanese, I couldn't follow much of it. Luckily, I was able to escape after the first 45 minutes of the meeting or so.
After school, we celebrated by going out for dinner at a local restaurant. It was fun going out with my teachers -- we'll have to do it again.