August 16, 2000
August 16, 2000
Teaching Children Through an International Approach
Since the Japanese Ministry of Education announced the inclusion of English and foreign cultures into the elementary school curriculum starting in the year 2002, there has been a great deal of discussion as to how to do this. We need to consider how to effectively incorporate the introduction of foreign cultures into the ELT curriculum.
Exposing Japanese elementary students to the lifestyles of children in other countries around the world, will give teachers an opportunity to show students the similarities and differences among the various cultures presented. As a result of studying other cultures, the students should reach a deeper understanding of their own culture. Of course, I do not mean that we should focus solely on English-speaking Western countries cultures.
Another important part of teaching English through an international approach, is to provide children with the opportunity to talk about their own culture, Japanese culture, and more global/environmental issues in English. Of course, the activities with these aims should be fun and motivating. However, we should not forget that our students also need to learn the importance of self-respect and co-operation in order for them to become internationally minded citizens of the world. What class activities can we use to do this? Here are some ideas:
The World Musical Chairs
Grade: All ages
1. Show 4 or 5 flag cards and introduce the names of the countries and their greetings.
Find Your Friends
Grade: Over grade 3
Divide the class into several animal groups which are endangered and which are not. For
example, 10 students can be divided 7 monkeys, 2 tigers, and 1 panda. Write the names of
each animal on a piece of paper.
It is impossible to cover international awareness purely through teaching English, but it is important to teach this awareness at an early age because younger children are likely to be free from any prejudice and can in turn learn more flexibly. The 21st century is now here. I hope we as teachers will be ready for the challenges that face us.
Reiko Tada is an experienced teacher trainer and runs her own school Global English House.
She is the coordinating director of GET, Group of English Teachers, and co-author of