Japan, Life, Living in Japan, Random Thoughts, Teaching English, Working

Random Thoughts #1 – Learning/Teaching Moments

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Even though I have been here for two years, I still stumble upon moments of cultural differences that surprise me. This was the case on Friday in my 6th-grade class.

Since we are nearing the end of the school year, I thought it would be a good idea for us to make skits using the English we have been learning up to this point. The theme of the skit was to make friends since the English in the textbook is perfect for that purpose.

Long story short, they were having trouble because the concept of making friends is little different here. We had a group discussion with the teacher and it turns out that here they don’t really “make” friends, they just “become” friends. They don’t ask the person any questions about themselves, they just somehow naturally start getting along and become friends. This was an odd concept to me. I asked, “Don’t you have anything you want to know about the other person? For example, maybe what food they like or something?”. My students replied no. The teacher agreed that it isn’t really common to ask anything.

I was surprised because I feel like the process of asking questions and getting to know each other helps you find similarities, which allows you for bonding. It made me reflect on the relationship (or lack of) that I have with one of my schools, which is always a good thing.

I’ll miss these random learning moments when I go home.

By the way, instead of asking questions, my student’s way of making friends was to say “Hey you! You’re my friend. Come on!”

If only life were always so simple.


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