School: The American School in Japan
Current Position: High School Japanese Teacher
One word that describes your teaching style: Connected
What mobile devices and computers are you currently using?
MacBook Pro, iPad, iPhone
What apps for education can’t you stop talking about lately?
There are so many great apps that I love for different purposes. Stop Motion is very popular when my students create a book trailer. Explain Everything is great for any subjects. I cannot live without YouTube videos. However, what I use the most by far is Google Drive, in particular, Google Docs and Google Slides for collaborative work, and Google Forms for survey.
What’s your teacher table like?
There is nothing on the desk at the end of the day. I share a classroom with another teacher every other day. So, I want to keep it clean. But I do have a nice big plant near the desk. My co-teacher suggested to keep one as it gives a nice aura whenever I have students or visitors to entertain.
Do you have a unique house rule in the classroom? What is it?
This might be more of a tradition rather than a rule: Every other Friday, the class chooses to play quick three-minute “radio exercises” at the beginning of the class. It is warm-up exercise to stretch their muscles before physical activities. It has been broadcasted through radio and television in Japan for nearly one hundred years. I always see smiles at the end of it, and it also stimulates their minds.
What job would you have if you weren’t a teacher?
If I can do anything I want, I would like to be a photographer or a camera man. Through my experience being a cameraman’s assistant during the Olympics, I was very fortunate to meet people who work on the field. I believe images and videos can be extremely powerful. As a teacher, I feel that they are great teaching tools. You can use them to scaffold the lesson, inspire them, and have them work out the creator’s intention behind and more.
Japanese students are known for their high regard for their teachers, is that still true today?
Probably so. I only have very little experience teaching at a Japanese university, but the rest of my career is teaching in institutions in Australia and in international schools. Therefore, [I am a little hesitant to say this] but I would say so.
What do you think school be like in the year 2020?
I have a feeling that school still exists. However, perhaps simple information can be taught online. They can be quizzed. Then, they are asked to use the knowledge they gained to tackle assignment that there is no one right answer. It could involve creativity, require collaboration, and the final task can be shared publicly.
You are currently a Google Educator Group member in your area. Can you tell us something more about GEG West Tokyo?
Sure. I still remember when teachers (Michael David John Abello and Steven Sutantro) made presentations at GTA, I was very excited to learn about GEG. Shortly after I came back, we had our first meeting at my school. It was November 2014, but I feel as if it was yesterday. We are probably one of the youngest GEG groups. Yet, there are amazing educators sharing what they do. Some of us presented at GAFE Summit in Tokyo and Kyoto. We have our regular meetings at a pub. It takes about one hour from my school but at the end of the night I feel that it was worth going. We had a dual pub night with GEG Kyoto (with the leader, Erin Noxon, GTASEA 14’). It went very well.
Currently, our group is expanding. We take turns to give a series of Google Apps for Education sessions for the Japan Association of Language Teachers.
Our group is expanding. It is so excited to see the growth. I would also like more educators from non-native speakers of English come and participate in the meeting. I am very thrilled to know that so far a few Japanese-speaking educators made inquiries from the Google for Education Directory. I am still learning a lot through making mistakes but I can certainly feel the change happening. I really hope to get to know them and start sharing ideas with them. I am so lucky to be part of this process at this time.
Fostering Flight is about how teachers can guide their students in following their dreams. As an educator, how do you prepare your students for the future?
I always make sure that my unit tasks are built around a good end in mind. I design my activities in such a way that my students will not find the answers by only searching for key words.
I guide my students to work collaboratively with their peers. Sometimes, it means that they create something together. Other times, it might mean that they work by themselves but they get feedback from their peers to further improve their tasks.
As a language teacher, I prepare my students to use Japanese to learn something new, and to organize their ideas and communicate in Japanese.