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Kids World

Topics of interest to teachers of English as a second or foreign language to young learners.

December 15, 2001

Power, Purpose, Promise

KidsWe at Little America have just returned from the JALT Convention in Kitakyushu, and I was really impressed with the stimulating presentations and the motivation of the attendees. The biggest impact made on me was from a lecture I attended about the progress and determination of educators in Korea and Taiwan concerning English education on the elementary school level.

In Korea, elementary school teachers receive about 120 hours of English teacher training, and in Taiwan they receive twice that amount. In Japan, roughly 10,000 elementary school are interested in incorporating English lessons in their international studies program next year. But there is no teacher training available for most of these schools. Why are we so far behind here? Why can no one find funding for English education?

Those of us who have experience and know-how are valuable, and I encourage all of you to approach the boards of education and schools in your area to let them know you have the skills to help them move in the right direction. Push for funding and push for progress.

I believe the government has the POWER. We the teachers have PURPOSE in our English expertise. And the children are filled with PROMISE for the future.

The government, meaning the Ministry of Education and Boards of Education, who have the POWER cannot foster change themselves because they do not have the know-how. And we, the teachers, who have the know-how and PURPOSE cannot foster change because we do not have the power. And the children who are filled with PROMISE cannot move forward without funding from the government and good English classes. But all three of us (the government, the teachers and the students) can move forward if we can work together with a balance of our strengths.

I would like to encourage you in your own way to try to make things happen in your area.

Power plus purpose plus promise equals progress.

Helene Jarmol Uchida

Helene Jarmol Uchida is a veteran teacher with teaching, curriculum development and teacher training experience in the U.S., Greece and Japan. She is the director of the Fukuoka-based Little America English Schools and lectures at Fukuoka Kyoiku Daigaku. She holds the LATEM seminars every year in cities throughout Japan and is also the author of 'The Challenge Book', an interactive English book and CD especially created for Japanese elementary school students.

See also our Interview with Helene Jarmol Uchida.

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