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Senseis’ Voices

Intensive Seminar for Teachers and Pre-Service Teachers, January 2018

Participant Reflections

The Japan Foundation, Sydney was pleased to host 26 participants at the Intensive Seminar for Teachers and Pre-Service Teachers (targeted at primary) from January 15-18, 2018.

We’d like to say a big otsukare-sama to all those who attended and we look forward to meeting more senseis at our future seminars. Our next seminar will be held July 9-12, 2018 (which will have a middle years focus).

We have included 感想 (kansou; impressions) of some of the January participants below.

The seminar provided me with the chance to step away from my usual responsibilities to focus on being immersed in the Japanese language and culture and be reinvigorated for the teaching year ahead.  I made new friends, shared resources, reacquired long forgotten words and grammar and also learnt practical skills like how to teach calligraphy and basic furoshiki wrapping. A highlight was having the opportunity to discuss a wide range of topics in Japanese with native speakers during a session focussed on improving our conversational skills. I also enjoyed learning about the recent panda craze caused by the birth of the panda Shan Shan at the Ueno Zoo and the ironic Japanese advertisements which are popular on the internet. There were many practical ideas presented that I’ll be implementing in my teaching program in the coming term.

I can’t speak highly enough of the Japan Foundation staff who patiently and generously interacted with us in Japanese that was at just the right level to build our confidence. I recommend all teachers apply to participate in this fantastic program.

The summer intensive seminar was a true immersion into the ‘Little Japan’ of the Sydney Japan Foundation. We engaged with a wide range of topics and materials in  an environment where we could use and brush up on our Japanese skills. I was a bit nervous about understanding, but the presenters all spoke clearly, and were aware of the needs of their audience. Everything we did was useful and could be taken back to our Japanese classrooms. Some modules such as the ‘Chikyuu ni yasashii’ module provided excellent materials, ideas and starting points for classes. I particularly valued the opportunity to be introduced to and to try out some different apps and websites. Lots of fun and lots of ideas shared by attendees.  The Tadoku experience on Tuesday night was just another way to enjoy reading in Japanese and then sharing and chatting with other Japanphiles in the JF Library.

One afternoon was passed with lots of laughter as we all had the opportunity to practise speaking with Japanese speakers. While this could have been a bit daunting one on one, we chatted in groups so no pressure and lots of great exchanges and real Japanese!

I am  constantly amazed by the generosity and kindness of the JF staff who provided and shared so many great teaching resources and I thoroughly recommend teachers go to the JF website to discover the available free resources including Hirogaru and Marugoto websites amongst many others. If you can make it to the next seminar, then even better!  Kanpeki!

I took 8 months off teaching last year to move to China and learn Mandarin. I was worried returning to the classroom my Japanese was rusty. And when I did return, I moved to primary teaching from secondary, a huge adjustment. The timing of the Japan Foundation Sydney Intensive Seminar could not have been more perfect for me.

I have been on quite a few intensive Japanese seminars in the past, and found that while rewarding, they have never been pitched correctly to my needs. This was the major strength of the JFS Intensive Seminar. Everyone we encountered spoke logical, easy to follow Japanese so that no English was required. All lessons were scaffolded and structured to not only allow us to understand everything, but to show us if done well there is no need for English in the classroom. Everything was framed by how we could actually use this in the classroom.

The Japan Foundation staff are incredibly kind, and know exactly who their target audience is. The Intensive Seminar is the perfect way to brush up on your Japanese speaking, network, share resources, and walk away with whole new units of work ready to roll out into the classroom. I can’t speak more highly of this professional development.

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