Conference to introduce results from the 100-School Networking Project (Phase
An International Classroom and KIDLINK
Isamu Shimazaki, Rinkan Elementary School
- In 1995, we started the WWFAX project with a teacher named *Patty* from
Delmar Elementary School in the US. In this project, we corresponded with
each other using drawings. Spanish-speaking children in our school began participating
in the project in 1997. The children have corresponded with many children
from different countries on KIDLINK, the global network.
Our school has an international class for foreign students who aren't fluent
in Japanese. They have to study Japanese very hard in order to follow what's
happening in the regular lessons, so we teach them Japanese in this class.
We decided to introduce how students study Japanese in the international class
to other children on KIDLINK, using drawings. We also decided to research
how students understand each other when they speak different languages: English,
Japanese, and Spanish.
We would like to report on our correspondence with other schools, conducted
by drawings, to illustrate how children who speak different languages can
2. Teaching Japanese in the international class
- We set up a Macintosh computer in the international classroom and gave students
their own IDs and passwords, allowing them to use the computer whenever they
wished. We also planned to use it for teaching Japanese. Last year, we taught
Japanese to beginning students by the direct method, i.e. using only Japanese.
This year, we decided to use the Internet and chose Spanish, their mother
tongue, to teach Japanese.
- Teaching Japanese in the international class ®
material for learning Japanese as a foreign language
- 1) Draw a picture using KIDPIX, write what they want, and then record the
(hiragana, studying kanji (Chinese characters), composition, and picture diary)
2) Children accustomed to this process first write their messages in Spanish,
draw a picture, and save it using KIDPIX. They then translate it into Japanese,
then finally draw a picture to explain the content. (KIDPIX is very convenient
for us because we can use English, Japanese, and Spanish.)
3. Communication with children on KIDLINK
- We send drawings mainly as e-mail attachments. *Patty*, a teacher in the
US, put up on her home page various letters and drawings sent by children
from various countries. She also printed them, posting them on a bulletin
board in her school. We also made a bulletin board in the corridor in front
of the International classroom. The bulletin board is prominent, since children
pass by it in the corridor when they go to the music room. We've even heard
students read some of the posted messages out loud.
Children's art works were introduced on *Patty's* home page as follows:
- Self introduction from Delmar Elementary School
- "My cat is lost"
- Drawings from Peru
- Christmas drawings from Brazil
- What do I like best about school?
- Our sixth-grade students sent a drawing of a cat to show our support of
- The goals of our project were:
- Communicating through drawings to overcome language barriers
- Taking advantage of the children's skills in Spanish, in order to teach
them Japanese in the international class
- We learned that the drawings helped children understand what others wrote.
Little by little, as the project progressed, children became interested in
the native languages of other children, even if they couldn't understand them
well. On her home page, *Patty* published a list of words in English, Spanish,
Portuguese, and Japanese words. We are now thinking of creating a simple dictionary,
illustrated with our drawings.
Recently I've been using an English-Spanish and Spanish-English dictionary
when I teach Japanese. Some students think I understand Spanish, so they speak
to me freely in Spanish. When I canUt make out the meaning, other children
interpret for me. Letting children use their native language when studying
Japanese makes them more relaxed and eager to study.
As children learn Japanese, they often start to forget Spanish. We wanted
to teach Japanese while avoiding this and continuing to create opportunities
for the children to use Spanish in the classroom. The Internet provided a
perfect place to communicate and study with other children.
The teaching of Japanese in our international class will be helpful for children
all over the world who participate in KIDLINK. Children from Peru were able
to communicate with children in their home country via the Internet. By introducing
this activity on the school bulletin board, other children became involved
in promoting internationalization. We plan to continue using the Internet
to help remove barriers between children who speak different languages.
Conference to introduce results from the 100-School Networking Project (Phase II)