A group of teachers from the UK are embarking on a trip this summer to try and link two cultures together around the topic of education. It is the brain-child of UK teacher, Rory Gallagher.
Back in 1997 Rory Gallagher (@EddieKayshun on Twitter) went to Japan on the JET programme to work as an assistant language teacher in a secondary school. He loved the country and the culture so much that when he left in 1999 he knew that he would return some day. He didn’t realise that it would take over 15 years…
Rory now works as a language teacher in Dorset, where he started a Japanese club at his school in 2012. In his first year of teaching he saw an opportunity to take some students to Japan on a science trip, and took this chance to get involved with Japan again. As part of this project, Rory worked with Japanese teachers exchanging ideas about pedagogy and teaching practice, and he realised the potential for a UK Japan teacher forum to bring together British and Japanese teachers to discuss education and to share ideas and resources.
In November 2014 Rory and Dr Toru Okano, of the Rikkyo Japanese School in England, put together the framework of the Think Global UK Japan Forum on International Perspectives in Education. The aims of the project are:
- To promote and facilitate an exchange of ideas between Japanese and British teachers.
- To encourage a global outlook in the classroom, for both students and teachers.
- To work towards embedding a global perspective in teacher professional development in Japan and the UK.
This is a not-for-profit endeavour, aiming to unite educators and their ideas through online forums for discussion and conferences and workshops in the UK and Japan. Our students will need to think global as they enter higher education and seek work. There is a need for schools to develop this global awareness among students, and many teachers around the world would like to discuss and develop ideas about how this may be achieved.
The first UK-Japan Forum on International Perspectives in Education will take place in Japan in August 2015. Teachers from the UK and Japan will meet in forums and seminars in Fukushima, Kyoto and Tokyo. We will exchange ideas and resources about how to encourage and develop a global ethos among teachers and students. We aim to develop a programme of conferences in the UK and in Japan, and to offer seminars and training for teachers.
After this year’s three events in Japan we will hold a conference in the UK, bringing teachers from Japan over to the UK, and offering a Japanese perspective on education and global issues to UK schools, as well as workshops on topics such as lesson study and Japanese problem solving in mathematics.
At the conferences in Japan this August, we will be holding workshops on the following areas: languages and communication, science, the role of women in education, technology, and global citizenship.
Who is involved?
The teachers involved are:
Toru Okano, Deputy Headmaster and Head of Science at the Rikkyo School in England.
Dr Okano has experience of working in both the UK and Japan. His links with Japanese and British schools give him a unique perspective on the two systems, and he will reflect on how the UK and Japan can learn from one another and work together to improve education in both countries.
Rory Gallagher, Deputy Initial Teacher Education Coordinator and Teacher of Modern Foreign Languages. The Thomas Hardye School, Dorchester.
Rory will be looking at the vital role of effective communication in education, both within our own languages and across languages. When we communicate in our own language we presume others will understand our meaning, but in fact communication difficulties in our own language can often be more challenging than we realise. In Rory’s session he will look at strategies he uses for effective communication in the classroom, and how this helps his students to learn languages and also to communicate more effectively.
Kevin Matthews. Kevin is a graduate of Bournemouth University where he studied archaeology. He is currently a teacher of Humanities and Head of Citizenship at the Thomas Hardye School, Dorchester.
Kevin will reflect upon using the study of Human Rights as a way to illustrate the importance of REI (Respect, Empathy and Inclusion) in the development of young people into critically thinking active global citizens. With the use of some key thoughts from Dr Janusz Korczak, he will illustrate his attempts to develop in each of his students the whole individual, including their sense of self, belief in the value of others diversity, building their mental resilience, their sense of service to others, of social responsibility and resistance to injustice.
Lizzy Murdock, Head of Biology, Seven Kings High School, London.
Lizzy is passionate about bridging the gap between high school and university level science, and encouraging more girls to study STEM subjects. She will be exploring how we can open student’s eyes to the global nature of science, and discussing the importance of working collaboratively and communicating scientific ideas globally. She will share ideas she has developed and trialled with students in the UK, seeking to improve students’ ability to approach high level material confidently and ask questions which help further their understanding.
Mark Anderson, now an education consultant; Mark was recently Assistant Headteacher and Director of E-Learning at Sir Bernard Lovell School, Bristol. He is a popular, influential and award-winning blogger with 20 years classroom experience and is an ADE (Apple Distinguished Educator), GCT (Google Certified Teacher), MCE (Microsoft Certified Educator) as well as being the author of the Amazon chart-topping ‘Perfect ICT Every Lesson’.
Given that a significant part of the project is to look at how education is global, rather than isolated within a country, Mark will be looking at how technology can break down barriers and not just those of the classroom walls. This is an element which is fundamental to the collaboration between the two countries and ties in well with the ideas behind the project.
Would you like to be involved?
Whilst there, the team will also be looking to build / pass on links with schools in the UK, so if you are a school looking to develop these kinds of connections then please do get in touch. The weblinks for this are at the end of this post.
Can you help?
As a not-for-profit endeavour we have had to source funding for the project. We have been successful in securing a number of different grants to facilitate the project for which we are extremely grateful. The funding so far has come from the Sasakawa Foundation and Japan Journeys. We are looking for further sponsorship at this point. If this is a project that you feel that you would like to support, there is a PayPal link (if this link does not work, the PayPal link is also on the top left hand side of our website). There is also a Kickstarter page here. Alternatively, if you would like to support us in other ways, please get in touch with Rory via here.