Experiencing teaching in Japanese schools through Outreach Program organized by the Intercultural Communication Center (ICC)
Edhil Jon Dizon Ordonio, exchange student at the School of International Liberal Studies
“When I decided to study in Japan, one of my goals is to experience teaching and learn about the education system in Japan as much as possible. The reason for doing so is to broaden my mind and expand my horizon as I want to be an educator in future. During my studies here in Waseda University, I was so exhilarated to know about the ICC Outreach Program and decided to apply for it. It was the exact kind of program I was looking for. Even though I have had experience visiting Japanese elementary schools and talking to the students in English before, I did not have the opportunity to actually teach in these schools,” said Ordonio with a big smile on his face.
The Outreach Program organized by the Intercultural Communication Center (ICC) of Waseda University is a program that serves to encourage cultural exchange between international students and Japanese students of Waseda University, as well as students from the affiliated schools (elementary, junior high and high schools) of the University. An international student and a Japanese student will form a pair, design and implement a lesson plan they would carried out at one of Waseda University’s affiliated schools. This time, the program took place on June 8 and 22, 2017 at Waseda University Junior High School, targeting second and third year junior high school students.
Ordonio was amazed by the amount of time each student was given to teach when he attended the orientation for the Outreach Program. Each pair, which consists of an international student and a Japanese student, teaches two classes that last for 50 minutes with a ten minute break in each class. It was at the orientation where Ordonio first met his Japanese partner, exchanged contacts and made preparation for the incoming exciting day to come.
In a pair, participating students will discuss about the content of their classes and activities they wish to carry out, as well as the ways they will like to go about implementing them. Ordonio and his Japanese partner decided to include an icebreaking session followed by quizzes in their classes. During the ice breaker, Ordonio decided to introduce a game popular in his home university – Iowa State University. A ball is needed to play the game. The student who has the ball in hand has to do a self-introduction. After which, he or she will pass the ball to the next person who will then do a self-introduction, repeating the process. In order to make the whole experience more fun, Ordonio’s partner did a rap version of Ordonio’s self-introduction in Japanese, based on the self-introduction Ordonio came up with beforehand. Sticking to the guidelines provided by ICC, the pair worked closely together and even made presentation slides for the students in Japanese.
“When we were on our way to Waseda University Junior High School, my partner and I started to get really nervous. We were worried if our slides were okay given that we completed them in a very short time. When we entered the classroom, the students greeted us with energy and we were very delighted to know that they were looking forward to our class. There were some parts where our presentation slides did work out as planned, but we were able to exercise flexibility. We initially allocated 15 minutes for the game called Simon Says but it turned out unexpectedly positive and ended up taking 30 minutes instead. The part that students and both of us enjoyed the most was a game in which we had to draw pictures of things and belongings students possessed on the black board,” said Ordonio as he recalled the day he went to Waseda University Junior High School.
Through his participation in the ICC Outreach Program, Ordonio felt that in Japan, students develop a very strong bond with their teachers. He felt that it was as if the students trusted their teachers like they would trust a family member. Ordonio also mentioned that if teachers can achieve the trusts of the students just like the teachers in Waseda University Junior High School, they have succeeded as an educator. He hopes that the experience he gained through the program would be put into good use when he becomes an educator himself in future.