8 May 2019 at 9:00 am

Tokyo teachers learn from New Zealand

Some 40 teachers from across Tokyo took part in a New Zealand education workshop last month, learning about the key values and learning areas in the New Zealand Curriculum.

Tokyo workshop
L-R: ENZ’s Senior Market Development Manager – Japan, Misa Kitaoka, AUT’s Director, School of Education Dr Howard Youngs and Director of International Relations and Development, Lester Khoo.

The workshop was hosted by ENZ in collaboration with the Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education, and facilitated by Dr Howard Youngs, Director of Auckland University of Technology (AUT) School of Education.

Misa Kitaoka, ENZ’s Senior Market Development Manager – Japan, said the interactive workshop on key values, social competencies and learning areas based on the New Zealand Curriculum, was a valuable experience for participating teachers.

“The most popular exercise among the teachers was the pepeha, where they introduced themselves by speaking in te reo Māori for the first time. The experience helped the teachers relate to and better understand their students who may not be native Japanese speakers.”  

The workshop was particularly relevant to today’s Tokyo schools which are becoming increasingly diverse in terms of ethnicity and language, Misa said. This was particularly the case with the launch of the Tokyo Board of Education’s ‘Diverse Link Tokyo Edu’, a new learning initiative to promote inquiry-based learning with overseas institutions and organisations.

“I look forward to working with New Zealand providers to showcase the Kiwi classroom experience, and the way it highlights the uniqueness of the New Zealand curriculum, to complement our student recruitment work.”

Held in the last week of April, the workshop was also a way to acknowledge Japan’s new Reiwa era, which began on 1 May after Emperor Naruhito ascended the Chrysanthemum throne.

“Hosting an event around a new imperial era is of enormous significance in Japan, and Reiwa (which means beautiful harmony in Japanese) is said to reset the national mood,” Misa said.

Dr Youngs’ innovative workshop was featured in Japanese media, including Yomiuri Shimbun, one of Japan’s largest national newspapers.  

Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education’s Director of International Education, Ms Akiko Mori, said the workshop was a wonderful opportunity for Tokyo teachers to get a taste of the latest pedagogy from a New Zealand university through the board’s partnership with Education New Zealand.

“I have received great feedback from the participants and look forward to promoting more opportunities like this as part of the Diverse Link Tokyo Edu initiative,” she said.

Ms Mori will be speaking at the upcoming NZIEC to introduce new initiatives by the Tokyo Government to promote international education, global talent and leadership in Japan. 

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