Discover Japan

Workshops to help teachers bring Japan to their classroom

If you were a school teacher with an interest in Japan, how would you introduce Japan in your classroom? In geography lessons? You might perhaps organise a Japan week, or run a Japan club at lunch time, or after school. For teachers of many different subjects, there are aspects of Japanese culture which will be relevant. Haiku feature in the primary curriculum, but have you tried using the  soroban (abacus) and Japanese numerical concepts in mathematics lessons, or drawing manga-style self portraits?

There are surprisingly many areas of the curriculum which can be enhanced by the introduction of a ‘Japanese’ theme and students really enjoy learning something new.

The Japan Society has been running a series of Discover Japan workshops for teachers throughout the UK who are looking for new lesson ideas. Workshops are held 2-3 times a year, not only in London but across the country. These courses include sessions for primary as well as secondary school teachers and to meet the needs of subject specialists and others with less specific focus. The workshops provide resources for teaching about Japan within the Geography curriculum tailored to the relevant Key Stage, or for subjects such as secondary art and cross-curricular work at primary school. Haiku, soroban, kamishibai (story-boards), sumi-e (ink painting), hanga (wood-block print) and manga can all be applied successfully in teaching in the UK.

Since spring 2012, the Society has visited Leicester, Edinburgh and Rainham to run workshops with very positive feedback from the teachers who attended.

"(We were given) fantastic general information with enough depth to feel confident teaching the activities after the course."

"One of the best courses I have attended in many years. I will most definitely be using the things I have learnt with my GCSE pupils."

"(I enjoyed) the practical activities, especially the printing (and) the range of techniques and the way they can all be applied at different levels of the key stage." (Secondary Art sessions)

"Brilliant - so many things that are well targeted for my class."

"Materials I can actually use in a class tomorrow." (Primary sessions)

The course is also a great opportunity to meet colleagues from other schools to share and exchange ideas.

Two further Discover Japan workshops are planned in 2013, in Sheffield on 19 July and Bath on 13 September. For details, please contact education@japansociety.org.uk