How to Bring Japan to Your Classroom
The CEO Team is at Your Service!
- A Unique Opportunity
If you don’t know about the CEO program, you may be missing out on the chance to bring Japanese culture to your classroom. The Consulate sends its Cultural Education Outreach (CEO) team to meet with local students and inform them about Japan. This school visit is an entertaining, educational experience that can be tailored to the students’ interests or the teacher’s objectives.
On these visits, which usually last about one hour, CEO members may play games, teach language lessons, demonstrate origami, or introduce the students to unfamiliar Japanese customs. If your classroom is equipped for it, our presenters are also able to show videos and Powerpoint slides. It is a truly one-of-a-kind opportunity.
- Activities for Every Age
The CEO team is equipped to customize its visit for any age group, from preschool through college. Young children may enjoy guessing which animal says “nyan nyan” in Japanese (do you know?*), or listening to kamishibai, traditional Japanese storytelling with pictures.
Older students, especially those studying about Japan or planning trips there, may be more interested in a discussion-based experience. The CEO presenters can introduce students to Japanese customs and etiquette, such as when and how it is appropriate to bow in different contexts. Students are encouraged to ask any questions they may have about Japan and hear each team member’s individual perspective.
- Lasting Memories
Midori, a longtime CEO member, remembers a particularly moving experience during a visit to a school for the hearing-impaired. In addition to their very distinct spoken languages, Japan and America have different sign language systems as well. Midori knew a few Japanese signs, such as "Thank you," and "Morning," which she shared with the students. Both Midori and the students were excited to learn that the Japanese sign for "Morning" was very similar to the American sign, sparking an immediate sense of connection. When the team left, the students raised their hands in unison with the Japanese sign for "Thank you," a touching gesture that has always stuck with Midori.
Jesse, an American who has been with the Consulate for twenty years, was once on a school visit to a group of second or third graders. The CEO team was reading aloud from a kamishibai about an old man who shared his rice balls with some mice, and Jesse was assigned the role of the mice. Though he is more suited to the role of a samurai than a mouse, Jesse nevertheless threw himself into the character. Pinching his nose with one hand, Jesse affected a squeaky voice and sang about rice balls rolling down a hill. The children were so thrilled by Jesse’s animated impression that the CEO team was inundated by thank you letters and pictures the children had composed recounting every detail of the presentation. The teacher also told Jesse that the children had spent the whole next day singing the song with their noses pinched.
For everyone on the CEO team, it is always gratifying to find out when their visit has had such a strong impact on the students.
- Get in Touch
To learn more about how you can bring Japan to your classroom, contact Jesse Taylor (link to http://www.ny.us.emb-japan.go.jp/en/g/01.html). We encourage you to give us advance notice and suggest a few possible dates, so we can do our best to accommodate you. Please keep in mind that September and October are the busiest season for the CEO team, while we have the most availability in the summer months. If you are a parent, please ask your child’s teacher to contact us, so that we can make arrangements with the school directly. And let us know if there is something in particular you would like us to focus on, so you can get the most out of the experience.
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