Saturday, May 2, 2009

ALT Lesson plans with Eigo note

During Interac training we were briefly introduced to Eigo Note. Eigo Note (literal translation "English Notebook") is basically a curriculum in the form of a text book aimed at elementary pupils (grade-5th and 6th graders only) and produced by the Ministry of Education in Japan (MEXT).
There are 2 Eigo Note text books, one for grade 5 and another for grade 6. They made a positive first impression, nice and colourful, a range of exercises and games included. They come with a guide for ALT's and homeroom teachers (known to us Brits as form room teacher) which is unfortunately in Japanese. Useful! It also comes with 2 audio CD's with English clips to play (only if an ALT isn't present) and a very flash interactive DVD.

Interac managed to get us a translated version of the guide which does include lesson plans. On closer inspection there are some flaws (in my humble opinion) I think generally due to the fact it hs been translated by a Japanese native which has created some cultural misunderstandings. For example, Eigo note grade 5 has a section on name cards and introductions but the names (and listening exercise) are put into the Japanese name format of family name first "Hi, my name is Suzuki Ken, nice to meet you!" (instead of Ken Suzuki) Ah..

The lessons in Eigo Note are also split into 4 parts (or hours) per lesson so you end up teaching ABC or "How are yous?" for 4 lessons each on the trot which can get a bit dull for the kids unless you really work hard to spice it up and introduce new vocab. I mean do you really need 4 hours to teach I'm happy, I'm hungry, I'm sleepy, I'm fine?

I'm no expert but the different lessons don't really seem to flow naturally into each other, in fact they're totally sporadic. In the middle of the "How many?" lessons they suddenly introduce the "Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" song. Uh? Where's the logic?

So my approach is to follow the overall Eigo Note curriculum guidelines (i.e the target language and topics) but to add my own games and ideas to spice it up. I do agree with Richard's comments from Genki English on Eigo Note and love his ideas for games so have used some of these ideas in my lesson plans as well as incorporating Eigo Note where I can (to keep the homeroom teachers happy)

I will start posting my lesson plans on the blog. Feel free to download and use. They're a bit detailed but as a newbie ALT I'm not quite at that comfort level of playing ad libbing in my lessons!

1 comment:

  1. This is a little late, but until several years ago, the textbooks for English in Japanese schools had names in the Western order. The Mombusho, after looking at how Chinese and Korean names are presented in the West, decided it would be better to have J-names in the Japanese order in order to show the cultural difference. I don't know if this is a good idea, after having it the other way for so long, but that's how it is. Junior High and High school texts are also in the Japanese order. Isn't Japan fun!