Friday 03 July 2009

Made in Japan English Systems Go into Every School in Thailand

The British Council, the UK’s public organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations, jointly with provides elementary English learning systems to every school in Thailand. 

The British Council is working on a regional project called Access English, a three year programme designed to provide partnership and support in agenda setting, institutional change and capacity building for English language teaching in East Asia including Japan and Thailand. 

In many countries English has been a compulsory subject for many years but teachers have often found the traditional textbook approach focused more on reading and writing than speaking and listening. Hence, the Thailand Government asked the British Council to recommend a new method to revitalise and re-energise the English teaching in their schools.    

The materials the British Council decided to introduce were from Ehime based, a provider of teaching materials and training based on the Japanese concept of "Genki" - getting children engaged and excited about learning and communication.   

The introduction to 30,000 schools was so successful that from this academic year the made in Japan "Genki English" is now part of the official teaching materials for all primary schools in Thailand.   

Genki English is in fact now used in over 180 countries as well as schools in Japan from Hokkaido to Okinawa. In all countries it is called "Genki" English.  

Founder Richard Graham developed the materials whilst teaching in Ehime prefecture, basing them on the MEXT guidelines of confidence, speaking first and getting students to love expressing themselves in English. 

Genki English and the British Council in Tokyo are also planning to work together to help Japanese teachers feel more confident about teaching English, and help Japanese children communicate with friends all over the world.  The British Council and Genki English are planning to hold several elementary teacher training workshops in the near future, as well as collaborating on new online materials for students and teachers. 


Additional Information 

About Genki English
Richard Graham founded, a provider of teaching materials and training based on the Japanese concept of "Genki". He is now working with the University of Newcastle in the UK to bring this "Genkiness" to schools for low income families in India, China and Africa as well as working with the British Council in Japan. 

The Genki approach to learning English works by engaging all of the learners senses and appealing to a wide range of learning styles. Children are engaged visually through the simple but striking graphics, aurally/orally through the simple chants and songs and limited amounts of graded vocabulary input and kinaesthetically through the actions and games. Because all of the learning tasks are organised as game-like activities, children are immediately motivated to take part. Tasks are achievable and learners receive positive feedback throughout the learning process. It is important that teachers realise that just using the materials is not enough, the way the materials are used are just as important to fully engage learners and maximise learning.  


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