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A teacher from Japan has been congratulated by a department of Cambridge University for her creative approach to teaching English to high-school students in Tokyo.
Chiho Nakagawa prepares students for a range of Cambridge English Qualifications at the Junior and Senior High School of Kogakuin University. She won this year’s Cambridge English Schools’ competition – an annual competition organised by Cambridge Assessment English and Cambridge University Press designed to recognise English teachers that go the extra mile.
Chiho encouraged her students to research and present information about their hometowns to the rest of the class in English. The judges in Cambridge were struck by Chiho’s approach, which involved using the Cambridge Assessment English’s Penfriends scheme to help her students learn more about how their hometowns compared to different cultures and perspectives around the world.
Mel Mewa from Cambridge Assessment English who was on the judging panel said:
‘We’re really impressed by Chiho’s enthusiasm and creative approach to teaching English and it’s a pleasure to welcome her to Cambridge. Although the task she set was based on people’s hometowns in and around Tokyo, Chiho took a very global approach to the task by encouraging children to look at other cultures from around the world. This is a great example of how creative teaching methods can encourage high levels of motivation for people preparing for Cambridge English Qualifications.’
Chiho’s school is the first in Japan to join the Cambridge English Schools programme – an initiative run by Cambridge Assessment English and Cambridge University Press which aims to help schools raise standards of English language learning for all pupils. She teaches a range of Cambridge English Qualifications from Pre A1 Starters to C1 Advanced. As part of her prize, she won a professional development trip to Cambridge.
Speaking during her time in Cambridge, she said:
‘I couldn’t believe I won the competition. I was so happy and it motivates me to be an even better teacher in the future. My students were also happy and I was proud of the work they did. I divided them into groups according to their hometown and encouraged them to design a poster in English. It was a great way to encourage discussion and to help them realise the varieties of culture that there are in the world. My students are good at speaking and listening but they find reading and writing a challenge. That’s why it’s important to look at new ways of bringing creativity into the classroom. Another initiative I recently carried out was to encourage students to do lots of online reading using laptops and IPads - so now there is no excuse for not being able to visit the library!’
During her trip to Cambridge, she took part in a residential course at the Bell School, Cambridge along with visiting the offices of Cambridge Assessment English and Cambridge University Press.