Monday, December 1, 2014

Community English Classes

     In addition to English camps at KEEP and English classes for the KEEP staff, I have also played Charlotte Sensei for classes for young students in the Hokuto City community. My coworker in the international relations department, Murata-san, wants to create a place that kids can come and have fun while learning to prove that English isn't scary. Totally a great concept for me because I am not a trained teacher, just a lover of the English language. The kids range anywhere from seven to eleven years old, depending on who comes that day. We have class once a week for an hour in two different towns and play a lot of games and draw and color to supplement the English lessons. Carla and Gelo, the other English speakers from the Philippines, and I have found that traditional lessons don't go over well when the kids have spent all day at school and have been given the chance to unwind a little before they are unleashed on us. A lot of the students have been part of the English camps at KEEP as well, so I have gotten to know them and their personalities. Have you ever tried to tell a room of children to settle down and they have no idea what you're saying and because they are familiar with you they just laugh and keep running and kicking their slippers at each other? Well I have. Not for the faint-hearted.
Signing in at the beginning of class--they get to practice writing their names in romaji (English letters).
Carla and Gelo going over parts of the face for a lesson.
     This past week was our final week of class. It just so happened to coincide with Thanksgiving so I thought it would be fun to have a lesson about what we were thankful for. They learned the concept of being thankful, new words for the things they like and a little bit of American culture. I of course had to incorporate the hand turkey into the lesson. They always love the chance to color and be creative.We brainstormed ideas of what everyone was thankful for and wrote them on the board and then got to work.
Lots of new words we learned tonight--share was definitely the most important one.
My example turkeys.
When I told her she could only put boyfriend once and needed to be thankful for more things I was told that she in fact had three boyfriends she was thankful for and that's why boyfriend was on three fingers.
Coloring our turkeys!
An attempt at silly faces with our hand turkeys!
     Next year we are going to continue our classes in the two towns and even add an adult class! The class in Sutama is going to be for our very beginners--think preschool type activities, while classes in Oizumi will be for the more advanced kids followed by the adult class right after. Teaching is by far my favorite part of my job here and when I feel like I am contributing the most, but I like when I can teach them all a new way to say goodbye or good night (you don't know cuteness until you teach a class of kids "See ya later alligator. After awhile crocodile.) and then give them back to their parents. 

       Until next time,
         Charlotte

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