Observation of Team Teaching Class & English Teachers’ Exchange Program
-Focusing on Sakibe junior high school’s Model and Korea-Japan Joint Workshop
Hyoung-Sook Cho, PETG member ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
1. Introduction to Exchange Program
As a member of the Pusan English Teachers’ Group (PETG), I was involved in an exchange program to Japan from 2 February to 5 February 2006. The major purpose was to pursue educational development by means of (1) observing the English class through Team Teaching and (2) participating in a Joint Workshop. Shin-eiken, the Japanese nation-wide teachers’ association, has established a longitudinal fellowship with PETG, sharing useful information in terms of education and English teaching.
In line with ‘Teaching Grammar through Grammaring’, a 2005 project, PETG decided to explore English education and English Grammar Teaching in Japan. The visit to Japan was very busy and well-organized as seen in the table.
1) Arrival at Japan
2) Final Check-up of the Materials and Presentations
3) Preliminary PETG conference
Tour to Sakibe Junior High School
1) Observation of English Class through Team Teaching
2) Discussion Session on Team Teaching Class
3) Observation of Students’ Activities Home Stay
Participation in Korea-Japan Joint Workshop
1) Sharing Information of Educational Settings and EFL Education
2) Presentation of Visual Materials on Korean Schools
3) Group Discussion about EFL education focusing on Grammar
Departure to Korea
2. Preparation for Visit to Japan
On November 2006, Shin-eiken informed the PETG that they would set up the entire schedule including the observation and joint workshop and, at the same time, be willing to provide home stays. In addition, Ms. Ogata, the Japanese coordinator of the Nagasaki Teachers’ Group, advised PETG members to readily prepare in advance by sending a questionnaire via email. Based on questions related to Korean educational environment and EFL situations, PETG members had built up with the exchange through December 2005 to January 2006 in the following 4 aspects.
1) to prepare a PowerPoint file and oral presentation about general Korean educational environments such as school system, curriculum, club activities, working conditions, and so forth
2) to prepare visual materials and pictures about Korean schools, students, and activities
3) to prepare a presentation about ‘English Grammar through Grammaring’
4) to prepare materials to show Korean EFL education (e.g. English textbooks, Worksheet Collections, Outcome Booklets of 2005 PETG project, etc.)
3. Tour to Sakibe Junior High School
PETG members and their Japanese counterparts went together to Sakibe Junior High School located in Sasebo, Nagasaki ken, to observe an English class by method of Team Teaching. School buildings were large and its campus spacious with a gym and sports facilities. Despite my original expectation that the school might have many students, the total enrolled students was, to my surprise, in the neighborhood 350. The impressions through the tour and class observation were as follows:
1) Old Appliance and Clean Facilities
What we faced on entering the school’s porch were umbrella stands and shoe shelves. Compared with Korea, the principal’s room was filled with not so luxurious as somewhat old and clean appliances and chairs. The overall impression was that this typical Japanese school pursued the harmonious pairing of austerity and major economic power on this planet.
2) Team Teaching
In the prior briefing, we were informed that Team Teaching would be conducted in an English class of 8th graders. In terms of terminology, ‘Co-Teaching’ tends to be utilized to indicate the classes by a Korean EFL teacher and an English native speaker in Korean educational setting whereas ‘Team Teaching’ for those by Japanese EFL teachers in Japan. In classes through Team Teaching, the two teachers are expected (1) to work together on performance of dialogs, (2) to help out students’ group works, and (3) to be collaboratively responsible for classes.
The strength of the method is, accordingly, that 2 (and 3 in rare cases) teachers collectively and respectively can teach, assist students’ group-work, and help individualized instruction. The model of Team Teaching in Sakibe Junior High School was that the EFL teacher (Naomi) presented sentence structures and tasks, followed by joint teaching to groups with a Japanese teacher (Tomoko), and lastly by assigning Korean observers into each group. Team Teaching is likely to be effective in that 2-3 teachers can manage a class collaboratively. Therefore, Sakibe’s model paves a way to (1) an applicable initiative for individualized instruction and (2) positive pursuit to content-based instruction or interdisciplinary study by means of involving other content subject teachers.
1) Korean EFL Teacher +
2) Native EFL Teacher1
Korean: responsible for entire class+
Native: to assist Korean teacher
Term: Team Teaching
1) Japanese EFL teacher +
2) Another Japanese teacher
Both teachers: joint teaching over whole class
3) Scanty ICT Applications
In Korea, a requisite for providing exemplary class model is to employ ICT (Information & Communication Technology) over most subjects. It aims at motivating and enhancing efficiency through tuning into learning strategies of Korean learners who are familiar with ICT media including Internet.
During a semester of 2003 spring, I had an opportunity to sign up for teachers’ training course at Clark Central High School and Pinewood After-School program in Athens, Georgia, U.S.A. ESL teachers in the U.S rarely relied on ICT media. Similarly, Japanese English teachers in Team Teaching put some paper slips on the board instead of depending on instructional technology such as PowerPoint projection, Internet resources, and multimedia materials. My point is that Korean educators frequently resort to ICT applications, compared with American and Japanese counterparts.
4) Students’ Activities
After the evaluation session of the observation, PETG members observed club activities on the spot. Wearing short pants despite cold weather, Japanese pupils were working on their own activities. Emphasis on students’ activities is rooted from Japanese. Thus, schoolteachers are directed to put significant emphasis on students’ activity. Based on interviews, Japanese teachers are reportedly worrying about low academic achievement, and in the similar vein, quite a few teachers feel burden due to ethic class and club activity.
In addition, introduction of Yutori education in Japan results in a variety of students’ activities and sports such as swimming and baseball. It contributes to shift in the educational goal from transmission of knowledge to creativity-orientated education to foster human pools for the future. Although negative aspects have been raised in the realm of academic competence, students’ activities based on Bu-katudo and Yutori education are amazingly galvanized. I was impressed with the Japanese Ministry’s implementation of Yutori education under the principle that creativity should be a must for future world, which is on the same line with a serial of Korean current plans to cultivate creative and gifted education. (I hear, however, the Ministry is switching to academic competence again after the unsatisfactory results of the OECD’s evaluation. It’s quite controversial these days. )
Goal & Current Focus
Tracking within school
Gifted education beyond school
On the Process of 5-Day Work
Excellence in Education
Reduction in Curriculum
Focus on Students’ Activity
4. Participation in Korea-Japan Joint Workshop
On February 4, PETG visitors took part in Joint Workshop with Japanese teachers and students under Nagasaki chapter. It was held over 5 hours in Community Plaza in Sasebo.
1) Exchange of Information on English Educational Environment
In quiz and presentation, participants shared valuable information between Japan and Korea such as educational issues, compulsory education, English education, working conditions, etc. From the Korean’s perspective, some remarkable things are shown in the following table:
＊During Vacation:Usually staying at home, Working at school-optional
＊Students’ Activity:Perfunctory, Less emphasis
＊English Education:Learning from 1st grade of elementary school
＊During Vacation:Expected to work at school
＊Students’ Activity:Spending weekends and vacations on it, Much emphasis
＊English Education:Learning from 7th grade of junior high school
2) Presentation on English Grammar & Group Discussion
Study on English Grammar, the 2005 project by PETG was presented and briefed, focusing on concept of ‘grammaring’ and worksheets. In succession, participants were split up into (1) junior high school teachers and (2) high school teachers to discuss the similarities and differences in EFL education and grammar education between Korea and Japan.
5. Educational Implications from Exchange Program in Japan
This reflection contains my experience and impression from observation and the 1st Joint workshop of the winter exchange. In sum, as a Korean EFL teacher who fortunately joined this program, I firmly believe that the bilateral ties will certainly be improved and thrive through the cultural and educational interchange efforts. From Korean educator’s point of view, I am, hereby, willing to write up 4 educational implications for future development in EFL education as follows:
1) Team Teaching, a Japanese model, deserves to be explored for interdisciplinary and individualized instruction in Korea’s future reference.
2) Japanese pursuit of ‘Creativity’, which aims at fostering future human sources, needs to be examined for excellence in education including gifted and talented education in Korea.
3) In terms of utilization of instructional technology in authentic classroom, Korea is the very leading entity in the world, providing exemplary models.
4) Many Japanese show friendly attitudes towards Korean visitors: sometimes they greeted in the Korean language and mentioned Korean soap operas on air. Reciprocal respects would be a good basis to expand future prospects for mutual understanding between Korea and Japan.