I just finished doing a job that's worth doing.
It's a model lesson for teachers from a number of different national institutes of technology in central Japan.
For the next five months they are learning how to teach their technical subjects in English.
The program consists of three components.
The first component is learning the essence of effective teaching, including how to manage group activities, which is a major component of active learning.
The second component is practice. Teachers make a 20-minute mini lesson, and have them video recorded.
The first two components are essential for the teachers to get CTT+.
CTT+ is a certificate that proves your skills in technical education.
Although getting this certificate is not a must, participants are highly encouraged to get it to prove that they can put into practice what they have learned.
Then comes the third component.
It is English training.
Based on the presentation that the participants prepared for CTT+,
they practice teaching the same content in English.
The English training last for two days.
Day 1 is practice. Participants practice basic classroom English. They do oral practice of useful phrases first. And then they practice teaching, using them.
Day 2 is presentation. Each participant demo the first ten minutes of their originally 20-minute presentations. And they do it all in English.
They work in small groups of four or five in the morning. And then in the afternoon, a few teachers are nominated from each group, and they demo their lessons to the rest of the participants. A brief feedback session follows, so that good skills of the presenters are shared among all of the participants.
It's a long program, and must be tremendously stressful, both mentally and physically. But benefits are huge. Participants can grow a lot more confident about their teaching skills. And what's more, their students will benefit enormously from their improved teaching skills. And that IS the whole purpose.
The program was introduced because future engineers will be more and more required to communicate with engineers from outside Japan, and a common language is necessary, and at the moment English is the best tool of communication.
The program plays an important role in helping young engineers in Japan to learn and work globally. I am proud of being a part of this exciting endeavor.
You never know. Someday a Nobel prize winner may be a graduate from one of the national institutes of technology taught by teachers who took this program.
Should that happen, I would be very, very delighted.