While Day 1 of the training sessions focused on introductions and providing the participants with an overview of the English Camp, Day 2 provided more in-depth explanations and a chance for us to ask questions, strategize, and learn from the advisors and each other.
We were given a tentative schedule for both days, which also informed us of what classes we would be teaching, what times we would be teaching, and who our teaching partners/groups were. Seeing as how most of the students didn’t know each other, we did the next best thing to try and match names to faces; we called out names and looked around to see who answered. Yep, that’s sure fire way to find your partners.
Half way through the session, we separated into our topic groups and each advisor reviewed their lesson plans. For my group, we went through each activity, from introducing the Olympic Games to giving feedback at the end of the class period. Our advisor, Jeff Hulihan, walked us through each worksheet as if he were teaching the high school students himself. He gave examples of how he would model or demonstrate things for the students and encouraged us to do the same in order to make the lesson more understandable and to get the students to participate more. This was a new lesson plan created by Jeff, so what I really appreciated was the fact that he gave us room to adjust the lesson plan if we needed to, as long as we didn’t veer off topic (since we only have an hour for each class). The lesson plan is made for us, but it feels nice to have some wiggle room in the delivery.
Finally, it was time to learn about the Halloween and Picture Drawing lesson plans for the second day. AEP instructor Danica Young reviewed the Halloween lesson plan, which consisted of yes/no questions, crosswords, conversations, etc. For parts that seemed to lack excitement (like The Story of Halloween, which we are to read to the students), she told us to make it fun and dramatic. By doing so, we will create a fun atmosphere in which the students are more likely to enjoy the lesson rather than feel like they’re sitting through a lecture. When it came to the picture drawing lesson plan, Ashley and Carly, two students who participated during previous years, told us about their experiences, including which activities worked and which ones didn’t, how they adjusted their lesson plans, etc. From this, both participants and advisors learned something new. For instance, the pairing method stated in the lesson didn’t work for their classes last year, so Ashley and Carly adjusted it to instead make groups of four and found that worked better. It’s always beneficial to hear from those who have gone through the process before and have a clearer idea of what we can expect as new participants.
Today concluded the teacher training session for the Yamato Nishi High School English Camp. All that’s left is the actual camp on the 26th and 27th, where we will finally put our teachings into practice. I’m hoping to apply for the JET program after I graduate and this is a great opportunity to gain some first-hand experience on what it’s like to teach English in Japan. Although this is only two-day event, it will give me a glimpse into what I can expect in the long-run.