REaChing for the stars
Empowering English Language Learners
Happy New Year! We're all back from Christmas and New Years vacation here at KTC, and it's been a rough week getting back into the routine, but we're powered by new projects, activities and the knowledge that another school year will be finishing up in five weeks or so!
I had a wonderful vacation sharing Japan with my parents. They visited Japan for the first time. My husband and I picked them up in Osaka, where we spent a bit of time walking around Shinsaibashi and Dotonburi and having lunch with old Osaka friends before heading back to Kanazawa. We had a snowy Christmas Eve visit to Kenrokuen, Kanazawa's famous garden, and spent Christmas at our new apartment in Teraji. We left for beautiful Nozawa in the midst of a snow storm the next day. We enjoyed the slopes, local onsens, and also went for a walk to go see some hot spring monkeys! They were so cute. On our return to Kanazawa we saw the famous fish market, Omicho, and the tea house district, Higashi-chaya. We spent New Year's Eve at karaoke. On New Year's day we grilled up some nodoguro, a delicious buttery fish unique to our coast in Japan. To finish off my parents' visit, we stayed one night at a converted 100-year-old tea house in Kyoto. It was so peaceful. We also saw some temples, including the popular Kiyomizu-dera, with its breathtaking views of downtown Kyoto. My parents were adventurous, trying all sorts of new foods and onsens. We had a lovely time and miss them!
Getting back to school news, before the vacation...
CLE² Junior High School Visit
At the end of December, for the third year, KTC fourth year students of Advanced English visited a local junior high school to present hands-on engineering projects in English, after months of hard planning and practice. Teams of three KTC students taught groups of up to 16 first year junior high school students. There were three projects, a marshmallow tower, a computer animation, and a rubber band car, and four groups. The junior high school students were full of energy, much to the surprise of the KTC students. They found that speaking loud enough to get attention was one of the biggest challenges. But, all of the junior high school students enjoyed participating in the projects, and kosen students were able to put their hard work to good use teaching fundamental engineering concepts and English in an engaging way.
For our final project of the year, we will explore what it means to be a global engineer. This week, students came up with definitions individually and then combined their ideas to make a team definition. In addition, English teacher Omihito Matsushida, who spent a year studying Design Thinking at the Illinois Institute of Technology last year, came to class to talk about his experience and how it shaped his ideas about global engineering. He voiced that desire to communicate and spirit to change are essential in the collaborative process of designing innovative solutions to the problems we face today. In addition, he explained how design thinking aims to clearly define today's problems by examining how people interact with their environments to create products that aim to address these problems in dynamic ways, ways that move beyond products themselves, to the processes and lifestyles that drive the product. We look forward to expanding our own ideas of what it means to be a global engineer in the coming weeks.