Voices of EIC Visitors & Kumon Instructors
Voices of EIC Visitors
Mariko Shimizu （Part-time Lecturer – Gifu Women’s University, Representative of エデュシーズ Company）
I have been visiting EIC since 2008 and observing the participants spending time with English every year from various perspectives. In this year’s EIC, there was a scene I have never seen before, and I was deeply moved by watching it. That was when I saw “the children think by themselves and express what they want to say to others”. It was a quite difficult activity to do in English, but the children were enjoying it with their eyes shining.
In this activity, I became a guest and visited a travel agency to consult about where I should travel to. I used English sentences like “I want to see famous places” and “I want to visit temples”. Then, the children in the travel agency booth replied saying “You should visit Kyoto. Kyoto has many temples. They are very famous.”
It was an activity in which children think about the feelings of others, gather the information they knew, and made a proposal that could best satisfy others’ wishes. I was surprised that they was able to convey their true feelings in English, rather than following a fixed English script.
The activities for children in EIC are created by Staff and Leaders, who are non-native English speaking foreign students. With different values and perspectives, every year they customizing the contents little by little while nurturing the children’s intellectual curiosity, ability to relentlessly exploring things, and the ability to live in the world, and the ability to express their feelings with English.
Now that English education at elementary schools is paid much attention to, the basic English skills and communication skills of the participating children are also improved greatly compared to before. Future EIC will have to consider further development of contents in response to the children’s intellectual needs. I am really looking forward to seeing what the next visit will be like.
Voices of Kumon Instructors
The synergy of daily learning and immersion activities that open the door to the world
Komi Ofuna (Kumon Instructor, Kumon Okamoto Center)
“For many children, English Immersion Camp (EIC) and English Immersion Day (EID) have become the motive for their afterwards activities.” … For example, a student who participated in EIC in 2008, due to family issue, had to give up on studying abroad, but now he enrolled in a Japanese university where he could fulfill his goal and travelled around the world on many international projects. In addition, there was also a student who challenged not only the English environment but studying abroad in Sweden.
Regarding daily learning, there was a student who said “The reason why I didn’t quit KUMON was because I always felt interested in the contents of KUMON worksheets”. Inspired by the world she read about in the worksheet, she is now studying at an American university. In KUMON worksheets, there are many contents about science and society, so I would like the students to broaden their worldview through them. Grammar is the foundation for a better understanding of the language, but it is a waste to learn English just for gaining grammar skills.
“Because you learn English, so I want you to look out to the world.”… When I talked to the children who participated in EID and EIC, many of them said that they were nervous at first, but it was very interesting in the end. For an elementary school student, suddenly going study abroad will be quite difficult, so I would like to introduce opportunities such as EIC and EID for them as a first step to take a look out at the world. In addition, children can understand to some extent topics such as environmental issues ad poverty issues which are included in EIC program, and I think they will be interested. I have heard that among the EIC participants in all around Japan, there are one who is now working as an interpreter guide in Hiroshima and one who is now building wells in Sri Lanka. I think that is so amazing. Like the environment provided by EID/EIC, English often becomes the common language for communicating with people in the multi-lingual world, and it is a powerful tool for communication even when your English skills is not so good.
With the synergy between what they read in daily learning in Kumon and the experiences they gained from immersion activities, I hope that the children can develop solid English skills, obtain a mindset to broaden their worldview, and in the future contribute to global society.