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This afternoon, I ran workshop with some 40 high school students from Saitama.  They are the participants of the program sponsored by Saitama  prefecture and will be going to Boston in November for 10 days.  This is the third  year since Saitama prefecture began this type of program.  It is one of the recent initiatives by many private & public sector organizations, targeting at high school students.

saitama6After I welcomed them (both in Japanese and in English), I asked them what they did in the morning.  The reason I began with this question (it was spontaneous as I had not planned to start this way) was that I am personally interested in the topic and I also think that it is an  important skill to explain events, people, etc. briefly to the people who have not encountered them.  It requires brief description of the facts of the event/people, but more importantly, it has to have some unique view. I found some of students remarks very interesting and insightful.

I had planned some exercises at the beginning of the workshop so that I could engage students early on.  I was going to do only a part of the workshop in English, but when I tried some remarks in English, it was obvious that the students wanted to continue in English.  So I ended up doing most of the sessions in English.

We did three different exercises.  I explained some hint about the discussion, using our own.  We then watched my favorite TED video of Black, world Yo Yo champion.  I was again very inspired by the video.  Black says, “If you make huge efforts with passion, there is nothing impossible.”  How true!

saitama4Then after the short break, I asked  students to prepare 2-minute sales pitch for xxx.  After about half an hour, each team presented their own story.  There were some overlaps, but some unique points, too.

I made some suggestions for presentation in general, so that they could try now.  After each group’s presentation, I showed the slides I had prepared and explained the status of the  world, what it means to us, and what we need to do.

The last part of the session was  the game I challenged the students.  I had brought 10 copies of the book “World class career” I wrote with Dr.Kiyoshi Kurokawa, and I would give ten people who would win the game of Janken with me.

After the first round of Janken, 12 people had won over me.  So I gave ten copies I had brought AND promised that I would sent two more for those who won the game, but did not get them.

I had a great time interacting with high school students and was very impressed by their enthusiasm and high energy level.  They seem to be willing to share their ideas and very interested in communication in English.  I ended my session saying that they will shape the future of the world, because that is what I believe in.  It was fun afternoon and I  appreciate the great opportunity to meet with those who will create the better future. I am counting on them.

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  • Comments (4)

    • kobatake
    • August 24th, 2013

    Dr.Heizo Takenaka also said that highschool students are generally eager to learn a lot and acquire what he teachs quickly. I wish i could have a same experience when in school.

    • misaki.nishimoto
    • August 24th, 2013

    Hello. I’m one of the students there and I really learned a lot from your workshop. I also was very impressed and encouraged by your words in the last part of the workshop (which you gave us with many pictures on the screen)

    I learned a reason why we make different conclusion. I try to know how people define things when I discuss. And when I explain something I try to remember who I explain to then. Those may be proper but I think I was not able to think about them.

    Thank you very much. I’m glad to have taken part in your workshop yesterday. I really wanted to win Janken and get your book!!

    I hope you understand my strange English but I do my best in this program without being afraid of mistakes!

    • Yoko Ishikura
    • August 24th, 2013

    Hi, Kobatake, this is Yoko Ishikura. Thank you for your comments. I have enjoyed interacting with high school students very much. The earlier you get exposed to the world, the broader your perspective tends to be and the more receptive you tend to become to differences.

    • Yoko Ishikura
    • August 24th, 2013

    Misaki san, this is Yoko Ishikura. Thank you very much for your kind words. I think you are doing great by making comments on my blog. Your English is fine. (few grammatical mistakes)

    I hope you use some of the things I showed yesterday. Enjoy the rest of the program and in particular, days in Boston! You can borrow my book from your friends who won after they finish!

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