Teaching Young Learners: English for Elementary School Education

Sunday, June 23, 2019

This event will provide participants with practical teaching ideas for Foreign Language Activities for 3rdand 4thgraders, and English as an Official Subject for 5thand 6thgraders, officially starting from 2020 academic year. With the speakers who are teaching English at elementary schools, we would like to discuss and better ways to teach English effectively in elementary school education. We hope this event will help to gain a deeper insight into professional development for teachers teaching English in elementary schools.


Presentation 1. Julie Rhodes (Kawai Town Board of Education) & Masayuki Takano (Nara Prefectural Tomigaoka High School) 

Presentation 2: Wakana Chihara (Kori Nevers Elementary School, Osaka)

Date: Sunday, June 23, 2019

Time: 10:00-12:00

Venue: Nara Women’s University



Fee: Free for JALT members. ¥1,000 for non-members.


English has become the lingua franca of many aspects of modern life. From the macro—international diplomacy, scientific literature, technology, business—to the micro—international friendships, and personal travel. Children now live in a more internationally connected world, and English is an increasingly important subject in Japanese schools at all levels.  However, since the introduction of English as a main subject for elementary schools, there have been many questions about how to approach teaching it. Many home room teachers (HRT) are English language learners themselves, with little to no English teaching training. Understandably, many HRTs have anxieties about how to teach a challenging subject they are generally inexperienced with.  Through this presentation, we will address some of these concerns and give teachers of all levels practical strategies for teaching English actively and communicatively, as well as ways to give students more learning autonomy. Ultimately, we hope to illustrate how giving students more agency can lead to increased engagement, and a more effective English classroom that meets the needs of a globalized generation.


Phonics has been taught to children who are learning how to read and write in English. Learning phonics helps children to connect a letter or letters to a specific sound which leads to individual reading and writing. In phonics, there is a synthetic approach that teaches the isolated phonemes (sounds) first, and the phonemes are blended together (synthesized) allowing children to read on their own.

Jolly Phonics is a synthetic phonics approach which has a multi-sensory method which is fun for the children and for the teachers themselves. In this presentation, participants will be able to experience the Jolly Phonics method.


During her years as an English teacher to both America immigrants and Japanese primary and secondary school students, Julie Rhodes has developed a passion for student-centered teaching methods.  She is perusing study in communicative language teaching for ESL and EFL learners, as well as literacy intervention for native English speakers. She currently lives in Nara prefecture, where she teaches at the preschool, elementary school, and junior high school levels. 

After finishing his Master’s in TESOL, Masayuki Takano is currently teaching English to high school students in Nara Prefecture. His academic interests includes  teaching pedagogical grammar for communicative competence and professional development of language educators.  He also taught Japanese for a year in University of Guanajuato in central Mexico. 


Having grown up in Puerto Rico and the US, Wakana Chihara has always had an interest in bilingualism. After working in public elementary schools in Hirakata City as a JTE, she is currently teaching English to elementary school students in a private school in Neyagawa City.

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