British Hills on Sunday 1st July
Last Sunday I went with 18 other people on our annual school trip to British Hills. Our group left Aizu in four cars and I thought the drive through the Fukushima countryside south of Aizu was very pleasant. It only took just over an hour to reach our destination.
There were three main activities on our schedule that day which were a lecture/introduction to British Hills, a cooking lesson and a tour of the Manor House. The guides and instructors for these activities were all native speakers of English and they spoke only in English so it was good language practise for our students outside the classroom. Apart from these activities we enjoyed a buffet-style lunch upstairs in the British Hills pub while listening to a piper playing the bagpipes and explaining some aspects of Scottish culture.
One of the most interesting moments for me was during the lecture/introduction to British Hills. Towards the end of the presentation, the speaker asked three junior high school second year girls standing near him some very simple questions in English. Questions such as “What’s your name?” “How old are you?”
One of the girls, N san, has been studying at our school, mostly on a one hour a week basis, for about 4 years. I was pleased to note that she quickly gave appropriate answers to his simple questions. On the other hand, the other two girls, R san and R san, could not answer any of the simple questions and did not speak any English. They just giggled nervously and looked away.
Needless to say, R san and R san do not study English at our school. They came along with N san because all three girls are good friends at the same junior high school.
At that moment I felt very proud of our teachers and especially Maeko Kato who has spent the most time teaching N san. It was such a clear demonstration of the effectiveness of the English education our students receive. WEC students practise all four skills in meaningful ways on a regular basis and as a result, our better and brighter young students can produce English in both spoken and written forms and have the confidence to do so. Well done N san! Well done WEC teachers!