|Gone Seoul Searching is teaching at an all girls university in Tokyo Japan during the summer 2012.|
|A peek inside of my classroom on class day number 2 teaching ESL in Tokyo Japan.|
|My weekly teaching schedule from 9:10am-5:15pm.|
|On campus at the University.|
|More shots of the university.|
|Inside the cafeteria.|
There are many differences from my experience teaching in Korea in comparison to Japan. First off, the students are very different. Korean's seem to be more open than the Japanese as I have noticed many of my Japanese students are very shy and reluctant. This shyness is a direct correlation with Japan's formal culture. While Korea did have such formalities, Japan's formalities are on a much deeper level. There is a place, time, action, and word for every situation in Japan, and thus many students are hesitant when first adjusting to Western style teaching and conversation styles. My girls are all extremely polite and want to make sure that they are on their best behavior at all times. They are literally like little robots that will do anything that you tell them too. As an English teacher, this is good and bad. I love when my students are respectful and try their hardest in class, but I also like when my students ask questions and tell me if they can't understand something or are uncomfortable with something. My Korean students seemed naturally curious about Western culture and my own personal life, while my current Japaneses students seem to respect my privacy and allow me to take the lead in the classroom.
Keeping a student centered classroom with 50 Japanese women university students can be quite challenging. A majority of the girls are in their very first semester of college and have never been exposed to communicative learning or teaching. They enjoy when the professor speaks the entire class, and want you to provide them with a lot of assistance. Because of such strong differences in culture, my company actually recommends drilling and accuracy production as parts of the lesson plan. I was extremely hesitant when I first came across this as I have never drilled before and the companies teaching philosophy seemed grounded on behaviorism with very Skinnerian viewpoints. However, after the first lesson teaching high-Basic I understood why drilling was necessary. As the students get more confident and comfortable speaking English, I will try to drill less and less, but for now such rote methods seem to be a good strategy in the beginning of the class periods. Later in the lesson more free activities are allotted so that the students can practice fluency.
This is just a short glimpse of life in my Japanese university classroom. More about living in Japan, travel, and teaching will come throughout the summer. So far I have been here 14 days and everything has been more amazing than I ever could have pictured.
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