The MAT 2-day Seminar was held again in Fukuoka after a lapse of four years in mid-June. The enthusiastic teachers came from as far away as Aomori to Okinawa. Among the twenty-two teachers, there were several repeaters who had taken the course previously. All the teachers were interested in increasing their knowledge of teaching English with the MAT METHOD.
DAY 1 started off with introductions about themselves. The teachers seemed a bit nervous at first, but with Mrs. Nakata’s friendly and warm approach, they were soon engrossed in the principles of how to teach.
After lunch, the afternoon session got further into the details of the MAT METHOD and one by one important points of a lesson were learned and practiced by the teachers in small groups. Each group had a teacher who taught as the rest of the “students” helped the teacher master the steps.
The morning session included a skills practice with picture cards. The management and shuffling of these cards are crucial to conducting a smooth lesson. At first, most of the teachers were struggling with their cards, but soon they were able to show their cards smoothly with a good rhythm and tempo.
Everyone found it was easier to tell the others how to do it, but hard to do when it was his or her turn. But, since the teachers were all “pros”, they soon were able to proceed on their own. They can master all the unique and fun techniques after using it with their own students.
Although the teachers were a bit nervous when it came to their turn to be the “teacher”, everyone was having fun and laughing and helping each other.
The best thing about the MAT METHOD is that when teachers are having fun, so will the students.
DAY 2 found the teachers learning about how to teach MAT PHONICS with gestures and sound subtractions, fun activities and reading and writing techniques that help students master these skills easily. Making simple books that students write and doing simple writing skills showed how they could be expanded into prose and diary writing.
Teaching the verb tenses, infinitives, adverbs, etc., were experienced by all the teachers in step by step sequences with fun activities to teach the pronouns, etc. along the way. Lesson Planning was also introduced and teachers learned that doing a lesson with seven or eight topics to be covered in one lesson was possible and very practical, as students learn MANY things in one lesson, not just one thing.
Exhausted after two full days, everyone smiled as they received their handsome and well-earned certificates from Mrs. Nakata.
By Makoto Sakamoto
Fukuoka IIEEC Leader