It’s been a while since I last wrote about the international education classes I do at some schools (I wrote about it here and here). Today I’d like to share some experiences and pictures. But not many pictures, as Japan is very protective of their children’s privacy and likeness.
I have talked to elementary, junior high and high school students, and the image they have about Spain and how the world or the people are outside Japan is quite limited and stereotyped (as one could expect). Also with all due respect, most teachers don’t have deep international knowledge or much experience. But this is not a problem and it’s what the Kokusai Hiroba program I work with is all about and I’m very happy to help with this.
Tenpai Middle High School
I spend a fair share of my time with the kids trying to break their preconceptions, maybe attacking directly the most common ones or giving them uncommon information to increase their field of view. For instance I usually stress the alphabet not being a character code strictly associated to the English language, but being shared by a number of languages (English and Spanish among them). So the fact that a word is written in Latin characters doesn’t always mean it is an English word. This is obvious to most English or Spanish speakers, but note that most Latin characters a Japanese person sees in her life are English words and also they have a thing for mixing the character set and language concepts (Chinese heritage, I would guess).
Sharing a stage with Mexican Manuel Medina
I also like sharing some music and dancing or playing with them some game where they can move their bodies. I’m not that confident about traditional music, but my rendition of España cañí played with a Game Boy is usually well received. Students often research or think questions for me, too. Sometimes they even have presents!
The kids at Tenpai Junior High School gave me this Maneki Neko.
And at Onga High School I got to taste some varieties of jam made by the students, with fruits they made themselves. I love this job!