Mr. Sakamoto メッセージ1 （～Welcome to Assumption Kokusai Junior and Senior High School～）
Hello! I am Mr. Sakamoto, a high school grade 12 Homeroom Teacher. This year I teach Grade 10 English Communication, English Expression and Grade 12 English Communication classes. I am also the Vice Head of the English Immersion Department. It is my great pleasure to teach English in this school with our wonderful teachers and staff.
Let me tell you a little bit about myself. Before I started teaching here, I have taught Japanese as a second language in a public high school in California, USA for two years. Therefore, I am aware of the school system in America and also its culture. Since I started teaching here, I have been trying to have my students experience American culture or American ways at school to widen their perspective. The classroom is decorated and students can feel like they are studying in a foreign country even while being in Japan.
Communication between the teacher and the students is in English. When a student wants to talk to me in Japanese, I show the student “We speak English!” card and have the student speak in English. In this way, even though they were struggling at the beginning of the school year, students’ speaking skill greatly improves. Of course, morning homeroom time, school announcements, tutoring and teacher-student conferences are conducted in English. When a student needs to reflect on their behavior, he/she is given a detention slip and is asked to write a reflection paper in English.
In the field of education, my recent interest is the use of technology in the classroom, which is also one of the three core educational interventions in our school : ICT . I am a Google Certified Educator (Level 2) and I love to motivate students’ learning and engage students using technologies in a creative way. I am expecting students to use the technological skills they acquire, in the future.
Last year, I taught grade 11 English Communication class. One of the units I taught was the “Work and Life Balance” Unit. The objectives of the unit were to be able to discuss about matters related to work, problems in the workplace, understand the basic Labor Standards Law for Japanese citizens as well as for foreigners working in Japan, and to know the importance of balance between work and play/leisure. The final project was to present an ideal school or company where workers have work-life balance by solving work-related matters and also to design an effective workplace by themselves. After having students critically analyze the work-related problems in Japan and brainstorming possible solutions for them, I had students work on their final project in a group. Students used an “app” called “Planner 5D” which is an online service for creating a detailed home plan in 3D. Using the “app”, students presented their ideal school or company.
The students that I taught in Grade 11 English Communication are now taking Grade 12 English Communication class. Because of the state of emergency declaration, the school was closed from March to May for three months. To guarantee the students’ opportunities to receive education, our school started distance-learning from April and students took lessons by watching YouTube videos. Using a wonderful educational tool: Google Classroom, where students were able to see the messages from their teacher, assignments and classroom materials, submit assignments, take quizzes and get real-time feedback and grades. This is one of the stron gest points of our school.
Using Google Classroom enabled students to improve their English skills, by writing essays (writing skill), listening to videos (listening skill), reading articles (reading skill), and making a video presentation (speaking skill).
In the first trimester, I taught a “Media” unit and the students acquired basic knowledge of journalism and film making technics. With their acquired the knowledge and technics, students made a news-broadcast video. They used “chroma key” which is a technique used in film, video and photography to replace a portion of an image with a new image. This is most commonly used to replace a colored background with a different setting. In this way, students reported news as they were on the spot.
It has been already four years since Assumption Kokusai started 21 century education with three core educational strategies: ICT (Information Communication Technology), English Immersion and PBL (Project Based Learning). I am happy to see students’ great progress in their learning and acquiring important skills needed to succeed in modern society .
To conclude, I would like to share one song, “We Are Warriors” by Avril Lavigne. She decided to re-write this song by watching the coronavirus pandemic sweep across the world. On CNN interview, she said:
“It’s been insane to realize the people on the frontlines, the doctors, the nurses, the hospital workers, the essential workers, even the mail delivery and the grocery store workers they are holding the world together right now. I was just like, what can I do to show my gratitude and appreciation. These guys are the true heroes right now, they are the true warriors … we are all in this together and we have to stand united even while we are apart.”
As a teacher, I would like to do my best to contribute to “holding the world together” and fight against this situation.
August 26, 2020（Wed）