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Q & A: Hokkaido students talk about their experiences

April 02,2015

Listen to five of the Hokkaido students—Takuya Hirose, Chihiro, Hama, Mizuki Ueki, Tomahiro Nonoda, and Sumiko Okada — chat about some of the things they’d seen and learned during their visit

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Two quick questions and answers with Etsuko Dempo,  Asuka Homma, Kazuki Fuku, Kana Murakami, and Misaki Nagayama, five of the visiting students from Hokkaido.

Two quick questions and answers with Etsuko Dempo,  Asuka Homma, Kazuki Fuku, Kana Murakami, and Misaki Nagayama, five of the visiting students from Hokkaido.

Can you talk a little about your classroom experiences here at UCalgary?

Etsuko: I studied about listening, reading, speaking, how to pronounce and about the education system in the University of Calgary.  In the reading, listening, and speaking classes, we learned about folk takes such as Ta-Na-E-Ka or Momotaro.  We discussed and inferred the story.  In the pronouncing class, we learned about how to pronounce “th”, “r”, “l” and “o”.  It was difficult to pronounce exactly, but Murray (Peglar) taught us very simply.  The other class, we learned about AWL and songs.  I could know that some AWL words are already known.  All the lessons were valuable for me.

Asuka:  I joined the ESL class.  I could have a conversation with many international students.  I took some classes in education.  It is very difficult for me, but I wanted to understand more.  So I think that I have to study English and education when I go back to Japan.

Kazuki: In my case, I learned about different cultures.  In Japan, almost all of the teachers speak Japanese in English class, but I feel teachers need to speak English in English class.  And I talked about different cultures with my classmates, so I knew about other countries and Japan.

Kana:  I usually take an IFP class which studies about English reading, listening, and speaking.  It’s a great opportunity for me to improve my English. I also take some education classes.  It’s very interesting for me because education systems and teaching style are different from japan.  Also, I take a pronunciation class, and it’s really helpful for me.  I can learn English from great teachers.  All of the teachers are dedicated so I appreciate all of them.

Misaki: Sometimes it’s hard for me to keep up with some classes because I am a first year student, so I haven’t learned about education too much. However, some group members have often helped me.    When I asked a teacher to give me data for class, she sent it to me, so I was very happy.

What are some of the things you’ve learned about classrooms in Canada that you will take back to Japan to share?

Etsuko: Almost all of the classes have had discussion of some activity to talk with other students, so I’d like to take that back to share.  Students were very positive to take a class, and it was more friendly between teachers and students.    I was surprised at that.  Moreover, there were less students than in Japan, so teachers can make a lesson more easily.  Also, Canadian schools had more various options and activities.  I’d like to share that system in Japan.

Asuka:  I took a class in drama.  It was very interesting to think scenes from a picture.  In Japan, we have school festivals of acting, playing instruments and dancing but we don’t have classes in drama.  So I want to know how to teach acting and I want many people to think about teaching acting or drama.

Kazuki:    I think we need to learn more about other countries and the world.  So, I will explain about Canadian schools, cultures of people, and how to teach English. It’s important for us to understand the cultures of other countries. I think it will lead to understanding about Japan.

Kana:  In Canada, there are a lot of hands-on activities and group work.  One of my teachers told us some communicative activities for English.  “Rod city” is one of those activities: students make pairs and one student makes something by using a rod.  After that the student explains his work to the other student.  I think it’s a very interesting activity because it’s good practice for students to speak English with fun.  There are few activities in the class in japan, so I’d like to take this activity back and share.   

Misaki: I think school visits were a good experience for me.  I’d like to adopt how to teach, how to approach children and school when I become a teacher in the future.