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September 1995 - Issue No. #20 (p.15)


The 1995 JET Program(me) Renewers' Conference was held May 31 - June 3 at the Portopia Hotel in Kobe, Japan. The JET Program(me), whose official title is the "Japan Exchange and Teaching Program(me)", invites each year over 5,000 young native-speaker college graduates from overseas to work as ALTs (Assistant Language Teachers) and CIRs (Coordinators for International Relations) in Japanese schools and local governments. The Renewers' Conference, for those who have renewed their contracts for a further year, brings together over 2,500 people for sessions on language, education and international understanding.

Global Issues in the Classroom

A special workshop entitled Global Issues in the Classroom focussed on how to approach important world issues in the foreign language classroom. Special attention was given to considerations of student proficiency levels. Part of the workshop involved JET program participants sharing teaching activities that worked successfully in their classrooms. A summary of these is given here courtesy of KaraLynn Uchimura, an active JET high school teacher interested in global education.

Map Drawing

Groups of students draw maps of the world or of a certain region of the world. This can be used as a warm-up to a discussion on various parts of the world. It's interesting that the person who did this activity found that Japanese students had the hardest time drawing a map of Asia.

Share Travelling Experiences

Most AETs travel a lot. We can pick up travel brochures and use our photos to introduce students to other countries and cultures besides our own. We can supplement the classroom lesson with our own experiences.

Salad Bowl

Make a salad and use it as an analogy of how things can be uniquely different (each vegetable has its own taste), but when they are brought together, the whole is greater than each piece alone. Use this analogy to build student respect for individual peoples and cultures in our multicultural world.

Sensitivity Towards Others

Show students a Japanese TV program which is making fun of another culture (these are not hard to find). Then, do a skit or make a video of foreigners making fun of Japanese culture. Discuss how it makes people feel and why it is wrong. Teach students to be curious about differences and not to make fun of them.


Have all the students stand up. Tell them that if their father is a sumo wrestler or their mother is a geisha, they can sit down. Students realize the absurdity of these stereotypes. Tell them about some ridiculous stereotypes that Japanese have about Westerners. Discuss stereotypes, their roles and exceptions.

SPCA Stamps 'Save the Animals' Program

The Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is collecting used stamps to sell to stamp collectors. The money they receive is given to the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) which uses it to educate Japanese about animal rights and to build animal shelters. This is a good project for teachers to get their students involved in. Send stamps to the AJET. International Special Interest Group (INSIG). The mission is of this SIG to "encourage and discuss the goal of internationalization and an international community". The SIG addresses issues such as peace, human rights, gender, the environment and international politics and has a newsletter available to anyone in Japan.


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Kip A. Cates, Tottori University, Koyama, Tottori City, JAPAN 680-8551
E-mail: Work Tel/Fax: 0857-31-5650