2018 Japan School Trip

Japan Trip/Exchange 2018 日本の修学旅行

By Archie

On Friday 19th October, a group of 14 students, accompanied by Mrs Rajakumar and Ms Davids, departed from Hockerill and set out on a trip to Japan – a trip which would prove to be one of new experiences, education and immersion into the Japanese society.


After arriving in Japan, we travelled across the country to Nagano, a smaller, more rural city than Tokyo, which is home to the famous Zenkoji Temple. We stayed in a Buddhist Monastery for four nights, and over the course of our days in Nagano, took part in various activities, such as travelling to the Togakushi Ninja Museum and shrine, and visiting the stunning Matsumoto Castle, one of the last of its type still remaining in Japan.


We also visited our partner primary schools – Komaki and Wakatsuki – for three days, interacting with all of the students and participating in traditional Japanese activities such as Japanese-style drumming, origami and dancing, in addition to just generally experiencing this completely different schooling system.

Following our final day at the primary schools, we then travelled back to Keio School in Tokyo to meet with our extremely welcoming exchange partners, who had visited us at Hockerill in March, and their families. We spent 2 full days at school with our partners, again experiencing this completely different system and culture, taking part in a whole range of classes at school – ranging from music to studies of Japanese society.

The weekend was then spent in our host families, who were all incredibly generous, showing us around different parts of Tokyo and helping us understand new aspects of Japanese culture and society. Not only was our time with our exchange families fun and exciting, but we all felt that it helped us improve and experiment with our Japanese language much more, and despite being difficult at time, was a very beneficial experience.


Finally, after saying goodbye to our host families, we spent our final day in Tokyo participating in the Tokyo Challenge – an urban-orienteering activity in which travelled around the city by train in small groups, visiting the different districts in Tokyo and spending time in a huge range of areas – from Buddhist temples such as the beautiful Sensouji Temple, to Harajuku, the fashion district of Tokyo.

Overall, The entire trip was a truly fantastic experience, during which we learnt to understand the Japanese way of thinking, visit many of the country’s wonders, and of course, improve our language skills drastically.

The Japanese Classroom

I thought I would share some of the things we do in our Japanese classroom to establish a routine which encourages confident use of the target language, and allows the students to take collective responsibility for their learning. I have numerous aims in my classroom, one of which is to teach Japanese (!); but in addition I aim to produce students who are able to work independently and collaboratively and enjoy the learning process.



I just wanted to share with teachers the wonderful website I discovered on an excellent course entitled, ‘Flipping the Classroom’, which was led by Mark Anderson recently in London.

I am always pleased if I gain just one good usable idea from any professional development opportunity, as I never seem to put anything into practice if I am overwhelmed by excellent ideas. And this is what I discovered: Edpuzzle!


This amazing website is entirely free to register with, and allows teachers to take video tutorials that they have either created themselves or found on such sites as Youtube, and customise them by inserting questions, explanations and so on. The Edpuzzles can then be assigned to particular classes and the teacher can monitor the progress of each student as they complete the Edpuzzle. It allows teachers to see how many questions their students have answered correctly and when they accessed the Edpuzzle – and questions requiring a free answer can be marked by the teacher on-line. You can also put a link to an Edpuzzle in any resource you create, so thay anyone who has registered with the site can also gain access to the tutorials. It is very intuitive to use and if you contact the developers of the site, their help is timely and very useful. I have started turning all of my videos into Edpuzzles, which I then link through icons to my workbooks.

Here is an example of an Edpuzzle I have made recently using one of my own video tutorials which you can view by registering with the site (click on the icon):

edpuzzle icon

I hope you find this site as inspirational as I have!

An Introduction to Japanese Culture and Language Teaching in Primary Education

On Friday 22 May, 2015, the University of Edinburgh and the J-Clan Initiative will host  a workshop exploring ways of taking advantage of the new Scottish 1 + 2 languages policy, which hopes to introduce two additional languages at primary level, one from Primary 1, and the second by Primary 5, by 2020. This is a very exciting initiative, and I am very pleased to be delivering one of the keynote talks at the workshop.


j-clan banner      Powerpoint image




Hockerill Mindfulness

At Hockerill we have been introducing mindfulness to our students for a number of years, and we currently offer mindfulness sessions as an after school club for staff and students; as an activity in boarding; and to our sixth formers as part of our CAS (Creativity, Action and Service) programme. Read more about it here: Hockerill Mindfulness 2016


This is what our students think of Mindfulness:



Mind with Heart

Japan Webpage Contest for Schools Gold Prize!!

Congratulations to the students in Year 9 and 10 at Hockerill, who have won the top prize in the Japan Webpage Contest for schools.

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Click on the link to see their work:


To view all the entries, and other information about the contest, click on the link below:



Nihongo Cup Speech Contest 2019: 22nd June 2019

It’s time to start preparing for next year’s Nihongo Cup! The topic for Key Stage 3 is ‘My Ideal Town’, and Key Stage 4 & 5 students can choose their own topic.

Here are some templates which you can use to get started. Remember that a winning speech will use the template as a starting point, and then develop their speech using their own ideas and opinions.

Template-my ideal town Standard

Speech Competition Template-my ideal holiday- Standard Level

Template-Japan Trip-challenging


Template- favourite thing -standard

Template- my dream -standard

Template-future career-very challenging

To help with your pronunciation and intonation, click here. Simply cut and paste your speech into the box and listen to the correct way to say it.

Please click here for more information, including the rules.

Read about last year’s competition here.

Click here to see last year’s programme.

“Flipped Learning”

Here is what the students at Hockerill think of the ‘Flipped Learning’ approach in Japanese. To find out more about Flipped Learning at Hockerill, please look at the small research project and rationale, and the powerpoint from the Japan Foundation presentation:

Flipped Learning Case study Year 8 Hiragana April 2017

Flipped Learning Dartford Grammar School Conference Handout 7.1.16