End of Year Project
For the end of the year the 7th grade students are doing a mini-research project in English class. In groups they need to choose a country other than Japan and then compare that country with Japan in relation to a topic. One group decided to research festivals in Japan and Brazil and found some interesting similarities. Another group decided to think about daily life in Italy and Japan. They were shocked to learn that in Italy you need to pay to use the public restroom.
The students research these countries and topics on the internet in Japanese and then make notes in English. Finally, they write a script and prepare to make a presentation in English in front of the class. I think this is a good example of how a mother tongue can aid learning of a second language. The students can more quickly find and process information in Japanese and by understanding it at a deeper level they can work together to put it into English, using their own level of English. I think too often students try to directly translate into English or they get stuck because they don’t know a word in English. In our 7th grade English class we want to guide the students to realizing that they can use the English they have to say even complicated things. Communication is not only about the vocabulary and grammar you know it’s about using other skills to express yourself.