Wednesday, August 27, 2008

How about an English Club?

Now that you've finished your introduction at school, what are you going to do next? If you are teaching at JHS, how about starting up an English club that introduces your members to world culture as well as learning English that is not taught in the class room. You have basically the freedom to teach whatever you want instead of being the human tape recorder... "Repeat after me...zzz... I used English club to teach about American Holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day. I planned many activies as well as lessons for each holiday. Kids love it! ( I did too!) If you plan this well, you can approach your Principal and request for funding. Many schools have a club fund and more than likely you can get some funding if not all of it funded. It is also normal for kids to pay for extra-curricular activities. I never charged my students more that 500 yen. Most of the time, I was lucky to have donors, volunteers and even the PTA help out. You may even hold an "International Day" in your class. There is an organization called JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) here on Okinawa that may be able to assist you in planning an "International Day". Kids can research and prepare questions, teach about Okinawan culture, song and dance to foreign visitors that JICA can send to your school. You can even join the school broadcasting club and teach a couple of kids to be DJs by playing foreign music, saying the school lunch menu, school functions, or even the weather report in English. Whatever you decide, English club could be refreshing and a great chance to actually get to spend some one-to-one time with your students. Have a great year!

Here is the contact info for JICA on Okinawa:

Okinawa International Center
1143-1, Aza Maeda, Urasoe City, Okinawa Prefecture 901-2552
Tel: 098-876-6000 Fax: 098-876-6014

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Your First English Lesson

Welcome to Okinawa and especially the "Yambaru" -northern part of the island. It's your first day at shougakkou (elementary school), what might you encounter? Well for starters, you will be shown the way to the teachers' room. There you will be introduced to the staff. It would be great to have an short introduction in Japanese handy. Information to share would be your name, where you are from, and some interesting tid-bit about yourself (I like diving...). Short and sweet. If you need help preparing an introduction(Shoukai) in Japanese, I would be happy to help you. You will soon be escorted to the classroom or gym depending on whether they want the whole school to meet you at one time. You can also use the same introduction with the students.

Once introductions are over you will attend your first class. Classes are suppose to be team-taught. That means the homeroom teacher is suppose to take the lead and you are the assistant. If you are lucky, you don't have much to worry about on your first day but more than likely you will have to conduct the class as the lead because the homeroom teacher is limited or does not have any English speaking skills. Regardless, you must be ready for the unexpected and always try to keep a positive relationship. That relationship will be the key for your connection with the students.

In the classroom, you can elaborate on your introduction. Asking the students if they can locate the place you are from on the map is popular. Over sized, color pictures of your family, friends, pets and hometown are also interesting for children to see and spark-up a conversation. Also something simple as introducing yourself and saying "Nice to meet you" while shaking the hands of students goes a long way. You can spice it up by saying it in another language or in your local area slang or even giving them a high five (known in Japan as a "high touch"). You could ask them questions like what does the Japanese flag look like? What does the Okinawa Flag look like? What does the city flag look like? You will be surprised to find out that many students including teachers don't know the answer.

Teaching a local song or finger play or even your area language is also great to do with the students. There are many songs and games to try as well that you can play like, rock-scissors-paper, greetings train, mingle, name card game.

Well if you need further assistance please contact me at or post a reply. Once again, welcome and enjoy your time here!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Moar Engrish

Here are some more Engrrrish Pics. Can you find the errors?

This menu just hurts me just to read it!

Gotta have some of this!!!

What does this sign really mean? What is "flashing?" Have you ever "flashed?"

Is "sencer" British English?

Engrrrish In Okinawa

This is dedicated to all English mistakes: words, grammar, images. Can you find the errors? Send me your pics!