Lena thanks so much for an interesting and enthusiastic presentation.
Thanks too to everyone who made it out to Gakuenmae and contributed through your participation and questions.
Nara JALT Publicity.
Nara: March—Everything You Need To Know About Teaching English at Elementary Schools by Lena Okada
With abundant energy, ideas, and experience, Okada led us through three hours of learning needs, classroom activities, and situational considerations. She began with a look at the pros and cons of teaching English in elementary school at respective ages. One concern she expressed was that the “rich Japanese culture” may be dying. She spent quite a bit of time talking about pronunciation and related activities. The role of ALTs in the classroom was another area she dealt with. Other things that she explained were the importance of visual aids, need for TPR-oriented activities, use of songs, and the role of games in the classroom. Okada then demonstrated a number of games, which reflected the priorities of her curriculum: numbers, colors, shapes, then fruits and vegetables. She stressed that purple should be the first color taught because it is the most difficult to pronounce. Right from the beginning, students should work on their pronunciation so they can train their muscles and ears for sounds that are not part of Japanese.
The relatively fast-paced session was peppered with interesting ideas and useful activities. In addition, Okada has written a book that she feels is an elementary school English education curriculum.
by Rodney Dunham