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Meet the Teachers  ”Hello! from Fukushima”

【Rainbow Class】 Ms. Reiko Kaneko (Da-te City, Fukushima Pref.)

1-fukushimaEng1-001.JPGHello! Please look at the first picture! 
Can you imagine what they are doing?
Yes, they are singing “The Hello Song.” I’m sure you can tell they love this song very much and are excited to be able to introduce themselves.
These are students from the Da-te Higashi Elementary School where I have been teaching English for 8 years, as a part-time English teacher. I’m in charge of the 3rd and 4th grade students this year.

I live in the city of Da-te, which is in the northern part of Fukushima Prefecture. This is fruit farm country which produces tasty cherries, peaches, apples and so on. When the flowers bloom in spring, it’s so beautiful! It’s just like a fairyland! Children are brought up in this wonderful environment by considerate people and enthusiastic teachers, so they are well-behaved and cheerful. Their smiles inspire me to put greater efforts into teaching English.

1-fukushimaEng2.JPG My lesson style is very simple.
First, the classroom teacher decides the theme of the lesson, and then I choose songs (or chants), activities, games and picture books to go with the day’s theme.

The instructional materials have been mainly the “Let’s Go ” series because they are based on sound theory, are effective and include nice music. Above all, the students love them!

I took part in the IIEEC-OUP Teacher Training Certificate Program in 2008, and I also participate in stimulating workshops in Tokyo and Sendai to find hints for my lessons. When I do, I am able to meet Ms. Ritsuko Nakata, whom I respect. She always encourages me to teach English and she has been particularly concerned about us since 3.11. I’ll never forget the day when she e-mailed me soon after the earthquake, even though she was very busy preparing for a workshop.

I have learned many things from her through the MAT METHOD. For example, the students repeat words or phrases many times rhythmically until the mouth muscles can memorize the words. Giving the students lots of oral production is more important than teacher talk.

I talk to students before the lesson with greetings and short routines such as” What time is it?” ” How’s the weather?” ” What’s the date, today?” “What day is it, today?” and sometimes practice proverbs. In addition I ask the classroom teacher to practice those sentences everyday as much as possible to promote natural speech.

1-fukushimaEng3.JPGIn this way, I’m happy to teach English with my lovely students. I’m proud of them. I appreciate their families and their teachers. Moreover, I thank Ms. Nakata who has helped me to develop as an English teacher.

I love the children’s smiles, which show they understand and enjoy learning English. I’ll keep my eye on their development here in Fukushima. I’ll continue to make efforts to help students have confidence through learning new language.