Malaysia - Yuka Igarashi (January 2009-November 2009)

Country of dispatch: Malaysia
Dispatch period: January 2009(-November 2009)
Name: Yuka Igarashi

Photo of Yuka Igarashi with students at Sekolah Tun Fatimah

    Sekolah Tun Fatimah, the institution where I was sent, is a girls boarding school with an integrated lower and upper secondary education system. Here, with two local Japanese teachers, I teach students taking Japanese to meet the requirement for a second foreign language.

    Team teaching is used in all the classes I am involved with. I discuss lesson flow, activity details and necessary teaching materials with other teachers prior to class. During classes themselves, we capitalize on each other's strengths, such as me taking the lead in certain activities or at other times assisting other teachers. I often take the lead when introducing new vocabulary and paying special attention to pronunciation as well as in advanced exercises focusing on conversation and introduction of Japanese culture. In the fifth grade class where Japanese culture is often discussed, we used Erin's Challenge! I Can Speak Japanese. to compare high school students' lifestyle and fashion in Japan and Malaysia; as a “living resource,” I was asked a number of questions, and this made a strong impression on me.

    Aside from teaching regular classes, I am also involved in events and activities that touch on Japanese culture and language. For the “Senior High School Students Japanese-language Speech Contest,” which is held for senior high school students in Malaysia in April, I led instruction of participating students, from preparation of their speeches through practice of delivery. In coming months, together with the school and other teachers, I will be preparing for and participating in “Japanese Culture Day” for students taking Japanese at schools all over Malaysia with an integrated lower and upper secondary education system as well as getting ready for the bon-odori contest that takes place in Johor Bahru. In addition, to raise the level of knowledge of Japan not only among students who take Japanese classes but also among other students and teachers, I post materials on the introduction of simple Japanese in school and wear a yukata when I participate in school events.

    Every day is very new because I learn the Malay language and culture through school life. From the standpoints of both teaching and learning, I am striving to make my remaining time here with students more productive and fulfilling.

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