Shinmachi Elementary School’s English Day!
This past Saturday morning was Shinmachi Elementary School’s English Day, an annual event which brings 12 foreign teachers to the school to take part in a variety of English activities with the students. As the ALT at Shinmachi Elementary since April 2004, this is the second time I have been involved in the planning and coordinating of guest English teachers visiting the school for the event. However, my first experience was as a volunteer in my first year in Japan. Shinmachi Elementary is a unique public school, in terms of English education. English became a part of the formal curriculum at the school in 1996, when the government selected it as an elmentary test school in Tokushima. The national program which was intended to determine the benefits of elementary school English education ran for three years and ended with great success. After which, the school decided to make English a permanent part of their curriculum. Unlike most elmentary schools in Japan, Shinmachi has had an ALT visiting their school weekly for nearly 10-years.In previous years, Shinmachi Elementary School’s English Day was shortly after the summer, however, the past two years its been a December event and a Christmas theme has been added. The action packed day includes, guest introductions to students, teachers and parents in the gym. Followed by lessons by foreign teachers in pairs to each grade in the school. Next, everyone gathers back in the gym for more English games and student cultural performances. Each year, I’ve been trying to add a few new twists to keep things fresh. Last year, we introduced a guest appearance by Santa, followed by Christmas songs by Santa and the guest teachers. This year, I convinced the school to borrow a spotlight. The spotlight was used when the guest teachers first entered the gym for introductions and Santa’s entrance. Adding to our grand entrance, I replaced last year’s children’s song, Hello, how are you? with Beyonce and Jay-Z’s Crazy in Love, which had the house rocking at 9:00 in the morning!