I AM SO LUCKY!!
I have just been to work with schools IN JAPAN… a long held dream of mine come TRUE. It is everything people said it would be – the most amazing, fast flowing, shiny, safe, sweetly-smiling, respectfully-bowing, glorious artist’s palette board of old and new. I could go on and on but there such are great books and DVDs about Japan that I can’t possibly do it justice.
The schools I worked with in Tokyo were absolutely fascinating. Their sets of problems and issues interestingly dissimilar and similar to ours. All the children I met from 4 schools had an innocent immediate childlike (in the best sense) responsivity and openness to my circle-time exercises, scripts, debates, puppets and games… even the secondary pupils… their joy and fun and laughter gave me lots of energy and I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard in my life on rooftop playgrounds and open classrooms!! There was no streetwise dismissal of my ideas that often emotionally hurt children hiding behind the ‘I don’t care’ banner can hold up… these children were full of animation, laughter and engagement… a real joy.
Of course I understand there’s an underbelly of the usual poverty, overwork and fear of failure that every country experiences, I’m currently reading an amazing book ‘For The Time Being’ by Ruth Ozeki which captures brilliantly the frightening experience of poverty and school bullying in some poorer Japanese schools but she balances it too by including wisdom and teaching of the elders that can still be accessed at the heart of the culture.
I was excited by all the staff and the children I met in all the schools I worked in – but I was particularly fascinated by the New International school’s commitment to dual language, where ALL the classes worked in mixed aged groups all the time… in their context it really works and it was an absolute eye opener in terms of how confident the children were. I’m a great pioneer of Family Circles – the very young and the older children really respond to supporting and learning from each other. So it was great to see it happening every day!
On a Saturday I also did a big conference The Association of International Pre-schools… as always early year’s staff are full of enthusiasm and appreciation… the day before I had worked with nursery children and puppets so it was great to talk to them about what I experienced.
I’m including a few photos – I took a bullet train to Kyoto and I was fascinated by how many young women and men pay quite a lot of money to do glamour shoots where they are dressed up in traditional Japanese costumes (as are their boyfriends!!) and they spend the day teetering on those huge shoes really experiencing the past as keenly as they .
There is one of me eating very superior street food – lobster!!! Me sitting outside the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. There are so many places that the public are not allowed to step into – it really made me appreciate our own wonderful historical buildings and how the public is encouraged to tramp through the glorious galleries and chandeliered rooms. Still the temples were nearly always accessible and
they are just stunning. So ‘thank you’ to everyone in my office for helping me get there and everyone in Japan who I met who was so positive and open to new ideas.
- Read some of Jenny’s other International blogs here.
Jenny delivers keynote speeches, seminars and workshops at conferences and training events including headteachers’ conferences in the UK. Jenny is also an International School Conference Presenter and International Trainer and has worked in many different countries. For further information about Jenny’s work and availability please phone 01225 767157, email firstname.lastname@example.org or see our training section and international training section on the website.
- Read more about Jenny’s international training.
For all enquiries about INSET Training Days and Working in School Days for positive behaviour, social and emotional skills development, staff well-being, circle time and lunchtimes and playtimes in mainstream, special schools and early years settings click here or phone 01225 767157. Jenny Mosley’s training, consultancy and conferences are for teachers, teaching assistants, headteachers, midday supervisors and everyone who works with children in schools and settings to promote positive lunchtimes and playtimes, SEAL, SMSC, PSHE, citizenship and British Values. Read more about Jenny Mosley’s Wellbeing Training In Primary Schools.
- ‘How to Create Calm Dining Halls’ has quickly become one of Jenny’s best selling books ever. This book has many initiatives, audits, photographs and ideas for the dining hall such as those mentioned in the article. If you are interested in school dining hall improvement, you may like to see our dining hall articles in Headteacher Update and the TES.