Starting this year, the first-year students in the international track have an extra English class each week. When I first heard about this, I thought it just meant that we would be having extra English game time. However, the teachers have decided that it will be used as a Commercial English class. This means that there are three teachers in the classroom: myself, the Japanese English teacher, and the class’s Commercial teacher. In theory, this means that I have two teachers that will be run the lesson with me. In practice, however, I have an extra student (the JTC) and my normal translation support (the JTE). The cool part, though, is that this is a brand-new class which means there is no syllabus or restrictions of any way.
I was given the goal of preparing the students for speaking in their future jobs. Right off the bat I decided two things. One, it was going to be speaking-heavy, and two, there would be no tests and no homework. As the students had the next three years of English class ahead of them, I wanted this to be like a sampler course of all the different ways that English could benefit them. I wanted to use this class as a chance to prove to them that regardless of what job they ended up with, they could benefit from knowing some English.
During the first class, we talked about business card etiquettes and how Japanese and American etiquette differed. They filled in business cards I had made for them and practiced a simple dialogue while exchanging the cards. I also briefly went over how to give a proper handshake. After that activity, I did a survey. I asked them each to write down what job they wanted in the future. The results were interesting. They wanted to be government workers, pro-surfers, and everything in between. I then grouped the jobs into different categories. Emergency workers, Travel, and Service. This trimester we are going to focus on the travel careers. Next trimester they’ll do the other two categories. I hope for the third trimester they’ll do some sort of encompassing project (maybe produce an instructional video for one of the jobs).
I have gone a little overboard making materials for the class. This includes designing business cards and making passports for the “Customs and Immigration” lesson coming up.
We are currently working on “Restaurant” lesson that is stretched over two class periods. Up next will be a lesson about surfing. I am having trouble coming up with ideas for how to make surfing vocabulary last a whole period, so I am combining it with a lesson on slang and the grammar point, “What does that mean?” Hopefully that will go well.
The other day one of my JTEs (the one who hates English) came up to me and informed me that next year the second and third graders in the international business track might also have an extra English period each week. He told me, “You should think about that.” And my first thought was, “Or I could not because it is officially not my responsibility after July 28th.” Either way, I am having fun with the current class and it is nice to have a more concrete goal in mind than just “teach English,” which is what my goal is with the other classes.
Fingers crossed the remainder of my classes go well.