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Senseis’ Voices

Intensive Seminar for Primary and Teachers and Pre-Service Teachers, September 2017

Participant Reflections

The Japan Foundation, Sydney was pleased to host 24 participants at the Intensive Seminar for Teachers and Pre-Service Teachers from 25-28 September 2017.

We’d like to say a big otsukare-sama to all those who attended and we look forward to meeting more senseis at our future seminars. Our next seminar will be held 15-18 January 2018 (which will also have a primary focus).

We have included 感想 (kansou; impressions) of some of the September participants below.



It has been a great privilege to take part in the Intensive Seminar for Primary Year Teachers held this September at the Japan Foundation Sydney. The group of participants, which ranged from young university students aspiring to become teachers of Japanese to experienced teachers, was brimming with interest and enthusiasm for the Japanese language and Japanese culture. The Japan Foundation Language Consultants carefully guided us with model lessons, a session about the particular characteristics of Japanese pronunciation, an introduction to the latest ICT resources and the use of these resources, ideas for classroom activities and sessions that focused on aspects of Japanese culture and current topics and issues in Japan. By skillfully utilizing the Interactive White Board the Instructors were able to conduct the sessions in easy to follow Japanese. This use of Japanese to teach content has inspired me to make greater use of Japanese in my own classes. The session where each participant introduced a resource or classroom activity to the group was particularly useful. The calligraphy and furoshiki sessions were both instructive and fun. I myself found the session practicing the use of natural, authentic Japanese particularly interesting and enjoyable. The session where we took an online practice test for the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test made me acutely aware of the importance of maintaining one’s own Japanese ability. Mixing with teachers from different states and belonging to different generations made me realize that despite the various backgrounds of the participants they all shared a common desire to strive to make the learning of Japanese effective and enjoyable for their students. Finally, thank you to all the staff at the Japan Foundation for giving us this opportunity and providing such fantastic instruction and hospitality.

Thank you so much for inviting me to participate in the September 2017 Japan Foundation Intensive Seminar for Primary teachers.  I still can’t believe how much was compacted in to just three and a half days.

I have returned to school this term with increased confidence in increasing Japanese language in the classroom.  Sessions on increasing the use of Japanese instructional language, the “teacher talk” were particularly valuable in this regard.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Japanese immersive environment, and the opportunity to be in the classroom environment as a learner.  There was a wonderful balance across the seminar between language studies, curriculum focus and cultural activities.  The sessions in each area all had nice links made, though.  For example the focus on sustainability in the Australian Curriculum and the use of furoshiki in the cultural focus session.

The Japan Foundation (and sponsors) were incredibly generous both with catering and networking events throughout the seminar and also with their time and resources.

Thank you for a wonderful professional development opportunity.

My name is Celine, and I am a pre-service teacher in my final year of university. I plan on being a high-school teacher of Maths and Japanese. The Japan Foundation’s Intensive Seminar was suggested to me by one of my Japanese teachers at university, and although the IS was aimed at primary-school teachers I was honoured to be selected to attend.

I went into the seminar with no expectations – all I knew is that I could share resources and experiences with other teachers. However, the IS was much more than just this.

I was able to engage in Japanese language use, as we were all encouraged to interact with each other using our Japanese skills. Being a student, I am used to this as classes are run purely in Japanese. But I have never interacted with colleagues about teaching and learning in Japanese, so this was a practical and exciting experience.

Besides this, the IS offered 14 classes over a 3.5 day  period, in which we were exposed to Japanese culture, in Calligraphy and learning how to wrap Furoshiki, resource sharing, and language skills. The language skills classes had very specific content: from being environmentally friendly, to helpful classroom phrases, to helper dogs, and use of natural Japanese. These classes were definitely my favourite of the IS because their topics were things out of the ordinary, and there was a clear link to how teachers could use this in classes, and how these topics fit into the Australian Curriculum.

Japan Foundation prepared a lot of resources for us to share and use in our classes. These included showing us a range of applications and websites that teachers could utilise to enhance their students’ learning. We were also shown in detail how we could use the Marugoto textbooks in our classes, and were even had the opportunity to purchase resources from Intext. I absolutely loved having this opportunity, because I’m a young teacher looking to expand my resource collection.

Being late in my Education degree, it is not uncommon for me to find fellow students who have lost their drive for teaching, and this upsets me greatly. While I have never been in their shoes, being part of this Intensive Seminar has set my desire to be a language teacher in stone; I have never felt more determined that teaching is what I want to do with my life. This Intensive Seminar was a fantastic opportunity to share knowledge, but the greatest thing that I have taken from it was being able to see and become part of the Australian Japanese teachers’ community. I cannot wait for further professional development like this Intensive Seminar.

As a pre-service teacher, this intensive seminar was an invaluable experience, modelling immersive and content-driven language classes and discussing the latest in ICT integration in the Japanese classroom. We also took part in cultural activities such as a calligraphy and a furoshiki workshop, which allowed me to consider how I might be able to integrate lessons about cultural activities as incursions into my future practice. The networking opportunities were excellent, with many chances to discuss ideas and resources with other teachers from all across Australia. The course was well planned and enjoyable, and I would highly recommend it.

Thanks so much!

My name is Nancy and I am a pre-service teacher from South Australia.

I have participated in numerous PD workshops and seminars however there are not many opportunities where you can converse with Japanese teachers from all around Australia AND New Zealand. The Japan Foundation Intensive Seminar became a platform where it was possible to share ideas and resources; stimulate conversation over possible unit topics and concepts; network with teachers from every state; and encourage new and inventive approaches to teaching Japanese. Each teacher varied in experience; shared different point of views; and approached teaching in different and interesting ways so there would always be something new to learn and incorporate into your own classroom. If you ever get the opportunity to attend one of these seminars, really consider doing it – it can only benefit you and your professional development!

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