This article is taken from "kids com" Magazine - for more articles,
see the "advice" page!@
fun! - August 2002
@Food is fun!! If something is fun, it's easier to learn. And for kids nothing is more interesting than food!! Mind you it has to be fun food, learning how to say boring old "lettuce" or "aubergine" isn't as fun as "spaghetti" or "chocolate"!!
@Making food is also a cool way in which the ALT can help out. As long as you can figure out the ingredients beforehand, it's easy for the kids to copy the ALT and of course enjoy the tasting of food from another country! This can all be done even if the ALT speaks no word of Japanese at all! One really cool lesson I did was to make a French Apple desert. You simply fry some thinly sliced apples in butter, add some sugar, then serve with ice-cream and a fruit sauce! Gorgeous!! The kids loved it, it tasted unlike anything Japanese and it was easy! On the Genki English site, one of the most popular pages is Mr. Monkey's Cooking Corner, where you can learn how to make Cheese on Toast (i.e. put some cheese on a slice of bread and toast it!!). In England, not everyone can cook, but everyone knows how to make Cheese on Toast!! Other ALTs have tried things like Christmas cakes (Western ones, not the Japanese ones), BBQs, Easter Eggs and even pancakes!
@Then of course the kids begin to get curious about more foreign foods! Lots of ALTs, and also lots of the Embassies in Japan, have videos of kids at schools in their home country. The UK embassy put a really good one out in 1998, showing all sorts of different aspects of school life. We showed the video in class. Whilst the Japanese teacher was busy thinking about the amount of homework, or the fact that boys as well as girls have to do housework, the kids were interested in one thing -- lunch time!! They weren't so much interested in the fact that we don't eat in classrooms in the West (everyone eats in a large cafeteria), but in the fact that the kids were eating hamburgers, chips and drinking Coke!!!!! Whilst not all schools are like this, quite a lot of them are!! I think that this single video gave the kids more enthusiasm to go overseas than anything else!
@In Japan you also have the tradition of giving "omiyage". This is something that we don't have in the West, and a great deal of ALTs vacation time is actually taken up by having to think of what on earth we could bring back as presents. One great answer is "sweets". Western kids love sweets and seem to eat a lot more than in Japan. One of the most typical English shops is the Sweet Shop where kids go and buy more sweets than is good for them! But I taught several hundred kids in my town and as I couldn't bring back sweets for everyone, I brought a few different ones back and gave them out as prizes in games. The kids tried even harder at the games this time! But just to balance things out, as well as gorgeous toffees and fruit chewy sweets, I also brought back some more interesting sweets. For example, my favorite sweet is "liquorice". I would give the sweet as a prize to the kid. Whilst they were eating it, I would tell them what it is in Japanese -- "J]E". They would always find this amusing! It wasn't until later that I told them it was Ã and not Ì!!
@For most ALTs one of the best times of the day is when we get to eat with the kids. This is when we can chat, find out what sort of things they like, and find out who are the strict teachers!!!! And it seems that kids all over Japan are interested in two things, first of all if the ALT is married (or if they'd like to marry the classroom teacher!), and what food the ALTs like! Teaching gDo you like...?h to the kids can provide hours of conversation for a 7 year old!
@It's also sometimes fun to try some different things. For example at one of my schools I told my teachers about the special holiday in Australia called "Koala Day". I told them that this is the only day in the year when you are allowed to eat Koalas. They were so interested that when "Koala Day" came round, I told my teachers that an Australian ALT in town had brought back some Koala the day before. I cooked up the meat in a gorgeous white wine and cream sauce. The teachers loved it, and the Head Teacher was saying how it tasted just like he thought.
@Of course, it wasn't until later that they found out the truth, this "Koala Day" was on April 1st.....
@So enjoy your summer,
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