Wednesday, June 28, 2006

What do you need in order to work at Japanese’s junior high school

Last Thursday, a guest speaker was invited to the class to give us some practical suggestions on how to be a good Intel or alt in a Japanese junior high school. The speaker was an experienced English teacher from a junior high school. And the lecture was very well prepared. However the lecture was delivered in Japanese only. Although I tried so hard, still I could not help myself felling into sleep from time to time. One thing I hate about the language of Japanese is that it spoken in a monotonous tone, consequently the speaker’s face looks just like a surface of a calm lake. The monotonous toned utterances does not give a language learner like myself any clues about what is going on here so does the facial expressions.
The very little information I got from the speech was that there are rules concerning the proper use of the titles when speaking to your senior teachers in the school. Rules are important anywhere in our human societies, as they regulate persons and keep things in good orders. However Japanese people have placed extra emphases on the rules more than any other communities does.
The two questions asked by the speaker were quite thoughtful as well as helpful. The speaker asked us to divide into groups and discussed first of all the differences between elementary school and junior high school. Secondly what kind of attitudes should you have as a junior high school English teacher. After brief discussion then every group put the results of their discussion on the board. The speaker then gave his comments on the ideas of the students.
I hope you realizing several things about what you need to work at a Japanese junior high school as a foreigner, from my experience above.
1. Master the language of Japanese; make sure you enjoy the language, because enjoying the language is the sign that you are going to enjoy the culture at later stage of your staying in Japan. Do not be discouraged by my personal opinion about the language of Japanese, believe it or not I enjoy Japanese, and I am going to learn more about the culture of the country.

2. be willing to learn all kinds of rules, learn to lead your life under very detailed rules of nearly everything. Adopted yourself to the system as quick as possible, once you get familiar with the rules you will find that rules can make your life easier. Quite contradictory to what you think isn’t it?


Blogger aNne said...

i LOVE your blog! it is very well-written! nice job! im an ALT in Iwate now and I can relate to everything you said about the many 'cultural and linguistic' rules in japan. these 'rules' can make communication in english class very difficult for students.

you said "Mr. M's" speech was a little boring, because of how 'monotonous' it was. remember that when you are teaching: make english FUN and EXCITING and your students will be successful (and stay awake!)

9:57 PM  
Blogger 13 Weeks said...

Hi, I enjoyed reading your blog too. I`m an ALT who teaches in elementary schools and junior high schools and I am always surprised at the difference between the students attitudes to learning English. My elementary students are very eager and keen to learn English and try speaking it, but some of my junior high school students dont enjoy it at all. I think this is because English becomes a "subject" at junior high that must be studied and examined, rather than enjoyed and used in real life situations. Also where I live in the many of my students are going to need to speak English in their future occupations? Should English be an option at junior high school?

8:41 PM  
Blogger Steve Jang said...

Hello. I'm an ALT in Iwate prefecture. I read your post and found it enjoyable. I laughed at the part where you were listening to a guest speaker who spoke Japanese only, and though you tried so hard, you could not help but fall asleep from time to time.

It reminds me of going to church on Sunday mornings when I was younger. I would try to listen to the priest as best as I could, but try as I might, I'd inevitably fall asleep right there in the pew!

Do your best in your teacher training and learning the Japanese language! And don't fall asleep in class!

5:11 PM  

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