Morioka has a program where they send a few High School students to their sister city, Victoria, Canada. In the beginning of August I volunteered to help with the orientation meeting. That meeting was today. It was only about 3 hours and I and another ALT, Alicia (This is her 6th year as an ALT and 3rd year working under Earlham's program) taught them how to place an order at a restaurant, tipping, how to shop for souvenirs, and how to introduce yourself to the host family. The students seemed to understand a great deal and it was fun working with them. Showing the students how to use English in a practical setting however made me a little sad about my classes at Shitakouji.
This past week the 7th grade students were to memorize this skit:
Mike: Two hamburgers and two colas please. (In Japan, they say Cola instead of Coke or soda, or pop)
Waitress: Large or small?
Mike: Large please.
Waitress: For here or to go?
Mike: To go.
Waitress: Here you are. That's five hundred and fourty yen, please...Thank you.
The skit is fine, but when I mean memorize, I do mean memorize. Each student was to remember the entire script. The sad part was, only a few of them understood what was going on. To me, it seems that students are only learning the sounds at my school and only a few will realize that some of the phrases can and are used in real life dialog.