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.

Warning: Division by zero in /var/sites/j/ on line 29


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 2018: 16th June 2018

It’s time to start preparing for next year’s Nihongo Cup! The topic for Key Stage 3 is ‘My Ideal Day’, 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.

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