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Thursday, 8 March 2012

EFL in Japan volume 2

There are some days in a class that I can’t help but laugh. Some of the activities we have to use with our students can seem rather interesting considering the content we have to work with. For instance, many Japanese junior high schools use the Sunshine English course. For the second graders there is a reading section. Program 10 is entitled Her Dream Came True.
Dear Kind Person,
I’m a junior high school student in Japan. My father died of cancer this year. He wanted to travel abroad, but he couldn’t. He was a doctor and was always very busy.
I would like to send this teddy bear, Mack around the world in his place. Would you please take him with you? Then, please pass him on to another person.
Thank you,
Megumi Kasuga.
This is a beautiful story about how a teenager was able to realize her father’s dream of world travel by passing along a stuffed toy bear. Her ALT took it to his home in the states, then passed it along to other travelers. Mack made it to Sweden, Spain, The UK and Italy.
Now in class with a bunch of unmotivated 14 year olds, presenting this can get dry. The message can be lost when the teacher has to following the boring teaching method which is required by the Japanese education ministry.
The following vocabulary to be introduced was dear/person/die of/cancer/abroad/teddy bear/Mack/in his place/Would you/pass/ pass on to.
Ok, nice terms. A bit dark, so after a few classes, the teacher is drilling the students with the vocab.
I then began to crack up, when the teacher began to mix up the words.
Dear/person/would you/ die of/cancer/in his place.
Mack/pass/abroad/person/pass on to/cancer.
By this time, I’m doubled over with laughter. When the teacher looks at me and the students are laughing, I then explained to the teacher what words she had just used. She turned purple when she realized how strange it sounded. We both had a laugh, explained to the students what had happened. They then laughed.
I’m sure Dr. Kasuga would have enjoyed having some laughter as would Megumi.

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