ALS's Japanese Language Programme for UK State Schools
We strive to make Japanese language education available for every children in the UK who wish to learn it, whether they have learning difficulties or budget constraints.
Today, in the UK, Japanese language and culture are immensely popular amongst the young generation, especially because of manga, animation and the food. There are many large-scale Japan-themed events in London every year that are well-attended by young pupils. However, the reality is that Japanese language education is not widely available at state schools and colleges in the country, mainly due to their budget limits.
We have so far opened Japanese language courses at three state-run secondary schools in London: Whitefield School (2015-2017), Highbury Fields School for Girls (2015-) and Haverstock School (2016-), and all of these courses have been fully-funded by education grants.
The language courses have been run in collaboration with the Japan Foundation London, through their Japanese Language Local Project Support Programme grants. ALS have fully supported the schools by designing the entire syllabus and lesson plans, making an application for the grants, running the actual courses as well as claiming the matching grants at the end of each academic year.
We intend to continuously look for financial supports in and outside the UK so that more UK state schools will be able to introduce Japanese language courses.
One of the main purposes for running the UK school project is to connect the young pupils' personal interest to formal qualifications, such as GCSE, A-level and JLPT, which will prove to be useful for their both professional and academic paths in future. We initially started the language courses as extra-curricular courses at the above three schools, yet all the schools opted to open inter/co-curricular GCSE preparation courses afterwards. The courses have been attended by keen and serious learners.
We are also continuously running extra-curricular courses welcoming students of all levels and ages who are interested in learning Japanese, including those who have learning difficulties. We create a variety of learning materials that are specially designed for each class (or sometimes each learner) considering the students’ profiles and levels.
In addition, we organise culture-related workshops separately from the language courses so that students are able to learn the language through enjoyable activities that incorporate: cooking, calligraphy, origami, music, animation and illustration.
We will endeavour to spread our Basic Japanese Language Skills courses amongst primary and secondary schools, and sixth-form colleges in the UK so that young learners are able to obtain practical skills and deeper insight into the language of their interest.
We are also studying into dyslexia and other related reading difficulties, and have been designing materials that are intended to facilitate both young and adult learners with learning difficulties to study the language.
Visiting Japan Matsuri (September 2015)
Highbury Fields School for Girls (November 2015)