U.S. Air Force photos by Staff Sgt. Daniel E. Fernandez - 18th Wing Public Affairs
ALEXANDRIA, VA — February 7, 2020 — Through a partnership with DoDEA, the U.S. State Department, and the Okinawa Liaison Office of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, DoDEA hosted an English language training — also known as the English Language Initiative — for Japanese elementary school teachers Jan. 30-31 at Kadena Elementary School
Japanese educators from around Okinawa are preparing for a mandatory curriculum change in 2020 throughout Japan.
“This training program has been carried out with great cooperation from the U.S. side, in order to help Japanese teachers who face a new challenge in teaching English as English education will become compulsory in all Japanese elementary schools from April 2020,” states a Feb. 3 press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.
This training is the third of its kind with previous sessions held November 2018 and May 2019. In total, 83 Japanese elementary school teachers have participated.
“The training is focused on interactive cooperative learning and team building challenges that enhance English language acquisition skills,” said Dr. Tracy Rice, the regional English language coordinator for DoDEA Pacific and the English Speakers of Other Languages teacher at Kadena Elementary School.
Rice, who received her doctorate in educational curriculum and instruction facilitated the training. She created and aligned the activities to the standards and curriculum used by Japanese teachers in a way that can be easily implemented in the classroom.
Kadena students also played a part during the workshop, leading some of the English language activities and stations for the Japanese educators.
The English language program is an innovative avenue to build relationships through education thus further strengthening the already robust alliance between the U.S. and Japan.