During the summer every day and in every city I had the teachers being stressed out by the same problems and worries. Most of them are really easy to solve, but seeing as they are so widespread I’ve just uploaded several videos to the Japanese FAQ (yoku aru shitsumon) page. Adding in the video jokes really takes away the stress!
Here’s a quick summary for you in English:
Q: How can I teach English if I can’t speak it?
A: Ideally all English teachers would be fluent and have great teaching skills. But there aren’t enough of them, so you have to do it! But don’t worry. Instead of “teacher teaches the kids” simply flip it round and see it as “kids start from zero AND the teacher starts from zero and we all just learn together”.
Q: What should I teach?
A: Think like a kid. For my curriculum I just took all the English that kids ask me at lunchtime or in the corridors and made it into lesson plans. It’s free on the website so please feel free to use it. After all there’s no point re-inventing the wheel when you’re so busy!
Q: What about pronunciation?
A: Just as you wouldn’t want kids learning Japanese from my pronunciation, we don’t want them learning your katakana pronunciation either. But don’t worry. Just use the the talking picture cards on the software part of the GE CDs. Just hit a button and the computer does all the work, you just learn with the kids. Then in the game the kids will noticed your accent is wrong, but don’t worry, at that point it’s the trying that counts!
Q: I want more games and songs
A: Look on the Genki English site, there are loads. With the songs, traditional songs aren’t that useful for kids. So I simply made my own that only use the target English from each class. Use these and it’s really easy to review everyday i.e. the kids don’t forget everything by the next lesson!
Q: How can I structure a 45 minute lesson?
A: Here’s a simple example to start you off.
Q: What to do about letters?
A: Just like with a baby, speaking and listening are first. Then once the kids can converse in English you can introduce reading and writing. Personally I’d prefer to keep reading and writing for junior high, where it can be a new challenge. But in any case speaking and listening first.
Q: I want to learn English myself?
Great! Here’s a book I wrote with all the ideas I use myself to learn languages. It’s free online, so please enjoy!
Show the videos to your teachers and hopefully it will lead to a stress free year for you!
Or do you come across any other problems with your teachers? If so I’ve probably got a few more ideas that can help!