Ishinomaki High School, Miyagi Prefecture Makoto Takeda Sensei
As students experienced the joys of being able to communicate and understand each other, they began to enjoy learning the language even more.
This is the third year for us at Ishinomaki High School to participate in Global Classmates. My students get the opportunity to use the English they know and Japanese to have fun communicating with their partner classmates in an environment where they don’t have to worry about making mistakes. As my students experience the joys of being able to communicate and understand each other, they begin to enjoy learning the language even more.
When a student from our partner school came to Ishinomaki on an exchange program the other day, my students were able to meet him in person. Although it was their first time meeting in person, they felt comfortable with each other right away and really acted like they were “classmates.” Through this project, the students will engage with real classmates, despite the physical distance between the U.S. and Japan. I hope many others will participate in Global Classmates and enjoy the fun exchange program!
Watch Takeda-sensei’s Global Classmates students tell their stories about their experience with the 3.11 earthquake and tsunami in English here.
Ocean Lakes High school, Virginia Mayumi Hino Sensei
When students encountered phrases they hadn’t learned in a textbook, the students asked each other and studied on their own.
After many years of looking for ways to have my students use what they learned in class outside of the classroom and learn real-life Japanese from their Japanese peers, I found Global Classmates. The students learned to enjoy communicating in Japanese and had fun engaging with Japanese high school students through Global Classmates that when they encountered phrases they hadn’t learned in a textbook, the students asked each other and studied on their own.
We have developed a deep friendship with our partner school, Ishinomaki High School through Global Classmates as well. Last year, we were able to take on some fun projects, such as talking in real-time and both classes singing one song in English and Japanese together via Skype. Furthermore, I personally have had a valuable experience through Global Classmates. I visited Ishinomaki High School last year and met people who have introduced me to various opportunities to deepen our relationship with Ishinomaki. Global Classmates is not only enjoyable for the students but for me too as well.
Matsue Shogyo High School, Shimane Prefecture Hideki Okina Sensei
The students found the differences and similarities as human beings with their partner classmates.
My students were able to engage with their partner classmates not only through messages, but also through video and feel close to them. They also realized that even with their limited English, they could successfully communicate. My expectations of the program were for my students to not fear making mistakes in English and actively try to communicate, as well as find out the differences and similarities as human beings with their partner classmates. I believe this program accomplishes that.
I learned a lot from the other students and it was a very neat experience. I feel that it has improved my Japanese skill level in a fun way, instead of the traditional classroom style, which can get boring at times. （Dublin Coffman High School, Ohio）
Shota Naganuma ( Ishinomaki High School, Miyagi)
I got to like English little by little. I used to hate English, but when I could talk to students in the US and participate in an exchange with them, I didn’t hate English anymore. I realized I could understand what they were saying and that surprised me. Without talking to them I would have never known I felt that way about English, and that’s not something I can do studying from just a textbook.
I enjoyed this new experience very much because it gave me the opportunity to speak and communicate with students from across the globe. I was very excited to learn so much about student life and the students’ daily activities in Japan, as well as learn about their hobbies and personalities. (Richardson High School, Texas)
Chisato Inagaki (Nichinan Shintoku High School, Miyazaki)
Participating in Global Classmates changed my perspective on English. I had been a passive student in English class because I was not very good at it. But, in order to talk to students in the U.S., I looked up grammar in “Otasuke Help Book” and took notes on useful phrases that I learned in the English class. I think it’s very wonderful to have friends in other countries. It was a great experience that changed my perspectives. I had a lot of fun and time flew so quickly.
It was such an interesting experience to communicate with other people who are learning my first language and who speak what I am learning. (Sycamore High School, Ohio)
There aren’t many opportunities to engage with high school students from other countries, so being able to participate in online discussions and Omiyage Exchange was a valuable experience. Also, projects like Video Koshien made English feel more approachable and I feel that my English improved as a result. (Kanazawa Fuzoku High School, Ishikawa Prefecture)
The program has given me the opportunity to interact with students in Japan and has greatly helped me improve my reading and writing skills in Japanese. It is also very interesting to see different perspectives of the students’ lives in Japan. (Thomas Jefferson High School, Virginia)
I learned a lot about events and activities abroad, more than I have ever known, and I also learned about U.S. high school students. It was exciting to receive unique items from the U.S. through Omiyage Exchange and I was also happy that they liked our gifts from Japan. Posting comments in English not only was a good practice in learning to write in English, but it was also a great opportunity to learn about my own Japanese culture. (Fukushima Minami High School, Fukushima Prefecture)
It was interesting to see the development of our partner class in Japan with their English, as well as our Japanese along the way. I personally like having this pen pal type of situation. I think it is very exciting and interesting. (Virginia Beach City Public Schools, Virginia)
I don’t normally have opportunities to interact with students from another country so it was a wonderful experience to learn about each other’s cultural differences and qualities. I want to participate again next year. (Nichinan Shintoku High School, Miyazaki Prefecture)
It was really cool talking to Japanese students living in Japan! Amazing how we can talk to people across the world. It helped expand my vocabulary, too. (Deerfield High School, Illinois)
I feel that I can speak more English than before. By learning “real-life” English that we don’t learn through our textbook or our teacher, I can now express my thoughts in English in many different ways. It was so exciting to receive items from the U.S., a country I have never been to, through Omiyage Exchange and it made me want to learn about the U.S. I also learned a lot from watching the videos made by the U.S. schools in Video Koshien and it made me feel closer to the U.S. (Matsue Shogyo High School, Shimane Prefecture)
It was interesting to communicate with students from another country. As a result of communicating with the Japanese students, I was able to improve my Japanese writing skills and translation skills. (Davis Senior High School, California)
I never had an opportunity to express my feelings in English before, but this program gave me many opportunities to express myself. It was so fun to talk to so many students from another country and it was so great to discover so many new things. (Matsue Shogyo High School, Shimane Prefecture)
It was a very fun and interesting way to learn about life in Japan. I feel like it reinforced the culture that we were learning in class and it helped me to communicate directly to Japanese teens. (Center for Global Studies, Connecticut)
It was a great experience to interact with people from another country who are my age. I also became confident seeing that I can communicate even with my limited English. (Ishinomaki High School, Miyagi Prefecture)
The program was a great opportunity to practice the English I had learned in class and it was also educational to see real-life English. Also, trying to figure out how to phrase things in Japanese so that they will understand allowed me to think independently. (Fukushima Minami High School, Fukushima Prefecture）
I was never really all that interested in other countries and never had an opportunity to interact or speak with people living abroad, so engaging with them through Global Classmates increased my interest in learning about other cultures and people. （Daito High School, Iwate prefecture）