When we entered Sanda Elementary School we were given the same overwhelmingly respectful welcome that we had experienced elsewhere. A special assembly was held in our honour, where the Australian national anthem was played beautifully on the piano and the students sang us the school song in incredible full-voiced unison. I’ve never heard singing like it!
Back home at Seacliff Primary School in South Australia, a wonderful associate of mine, Maiko Ikeuchi, works on a Japanese in Guided Reading / Japanese in Science program that Ryosuke Sugiyama and I initiated a few years ago.
Thanks to Maiko, I was able to deliver the science lesson at Sanda to a sixth grade class mostly in Japanese, (mostly read as I’m not a fluent speaker). The lesson involved working from an investigation question to set up an investigation exercising fair testing, using supplied equipment. I had been told beforehand, by a principal and advisor, that Japanese students in sixth grade would not have a knowledge of variables and wouldn’t have experience in setting up an investigation. As a result, I ensured that my introduction explained some of the basics, to provide a launching pad for students who were unfamiliar with such a process.
|Brian all set to deliver a science lesson to |
Year Six students at Sanda Elementary School
After about ten minutes, most groups appeared totally engaged in their task. I didn’t see much evidence of understanding of fair testing, but there was certainly active and enthusiastic investigation.
|Students participating in a science lesson|
|Students manipulating the materials in different ways|
Unfortunately, we didn’t have time for student discussion at the end. The timetable in Japanese schools is tight and I had to fit the entire lesson, including the gift-giving, into forty-five minutes. I certainly enjoyed the enthusiasm and respect demonstrated by the children during the session. It really was incredible to have the privilege to teach a lesson in a Japanese school.