Friday, March 18, 2005

3rd Meeting: English in Elementary Schools

ETJ-Miyazaki Group
3rd Meeting, February 20, 2005



A total of 16 participants attended the meeting, listed as follows:

1. Sayed Mohammed


2. Bradley Yaxley


3. Mr. Masanobu Uemura

Japan/Guest Presentor

4. Fumiko Honda


5. Gina Takimoto


6. Akiko Miyazawa


7. Alexandre Scalzitti


8. Reginaldino Fabro


9. Mary Ann Tanaka


10. Makoto Kobiyama


11. Simon Bath


12. Shoko Yanagiya


13. Kiriko


14. Teresa Kodama


15. Ahhmed Abdulatef


16. Marley Tallada



The meeting started at 10:05 am with a brief introduction about ETJ.

It was followed by MR. Masanobu UEMURA’s presentation about the topic “English in Elementary Schools.” His presentation was immediately followed by an open forum. Highlights are summarized as follows:

· The Introduction of English Education in Elementary Schools thru the hiring of ALTs is an initiative of the Miyazaki City Government for about 10 years now. About 80% of the schools are now benefiting from the program.

· There are 35 beneficiary-schools in the City, with a total of 26 ALTs. Reports from each school about the performance of the program had been very promising.

· For the coming school year, there are 26 applicants vying for 5 open ALT positions.

· The long term plan of the City Government is to make English as part of the regular curriculum of the Elementary Schools; same with High Schools where they have a regular ALTs assigned to each school.


· The group discussion was facilitated by Sayed and Bradley. It started with individual introduction of each participant. Topics discussed were on Miyazaki’s current Elementary Schools’ curriculum and team-teaching- its pros and cons. Highlights are summarized as follows:

· Bradly shared some Do’s and Don’ts in teaching English in Elementary schools, taken from Some tips includes: Don’t think English is difficult, don’t use katakana, don’t translate everything the ALT says, don’t worry about your pronunciation, do review everyday, do lesson plan, do have confidence etc.

· Warm up song must be relevant to the topic and to the grade level of the students, as noted by Simon and seconded by other participants. Sayed suggested if it is possible to have prior coordination between the Music Teacher and English Coordinator so that the “song for the month” is related to the topics of the English classes for that particular month;

· One Japanese teacher (Kiriko Kawano) requested if someone could teach them more songs or if they can be provided with CD of English Songs for the students;

· Bradley and Uemura Sensei suggested using familiar songs and changing its lyrics to suit the topic;

· ALTs emphasized the need to observe the 15-minute meeting in preparation for the following week’s class. It was noted that some schools just hand over the lesson to the ALT just right before the class, hence giving no ample time for the ALT to prepare for the lesson.

· It was also noted that some schools do not even have plan lesson plans. Hence it was suggested (by Sayed) that the 1st meeting for the school year be devoted to a meeting with the English Coordinator to discuss the whole year’s lesson plan, preferably compiled per grade year level.

· Some HRTs tend to rely solely on the ALT in conducting the classes. Sayed noted that it does not matter who is the main teacher and who is the assistant, as long as there is teamwork between the two (HRT and ALT) in the classroom.

· HRTs need to have more access to teaching materials e.g. the Internet. If they can be provided with list of web site offering teaching materials, preferably those that are offered for free.

· The negative mind-set of most Japanese English teachers that “English is difficult” was also tackled lengthily during the meeting. Some teachers do not even like English, some do have enough confidence. Hence, the need for teacher-training on the part of the HRT was also emphasized.

· Mr Uemura announced that to respond to the need for a teacher-training, their office will soon be conducting three (3) Seminars for Japanese Teaching English and also the Summer Seminars for HRTs on their respective schools, which was initially conducted last Summer and due to its promising result, they plan to continue the project.


· There is no tentative date yet for the next ETJ meeting; but it will be held before or just right after the Golden Week. Notice will be given to the members.

· Participants to the meeting were encouraged to give their topic-suggestions for the succeeding meetings and other ETJ activities, preferably those topics that would benefit all the members. Suggestions can be emailed to any of the coordinators (Sayed or Bradly)

· Preparation of an ETJ Identification Card.

· Announcement of important Email Address to remember


· Having no matters to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 12:15pm.

Prepared by:

Ma. Marley Tallada
ETJ Miyazaki Secretary


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