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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Asian Beauty:Riona.Y | Tokyo to launch program to mentor teachers

Midcareer teachers in Tokyo will get a chance to polish their skills when the metropolitan government opens a training school next year allowing more experienced educators to impart their wisdom and expertise, Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education officials said Thursday.
Tokyo Kyoshi Dojo (Tokyo Teachers Dojo) will open its doors in April to teachers with five to 10 years of teaching experience.
In the program, 50 groups with eight members each will receive training from long-time educators.
While there are local boards of education elsewhere that have already implemented similar programs, the metropolitan board of education's is the largest of its kind, according to the board.
"We hope this program will serve a dual purpose--to improve the teaching skills of highly motivated young teachers and to have them pass on those skills," a board official said.
Four hundred of the 5,800 or so midcareer teachers from municipal primary and middle schools and metropolitan government-run high schools will be chosen for the two-year program based on recommendations by principals and other education officials.
The instructors will be 100 teachers ranging from their late 30s to 40s recommended by their wards' boards of education and other authorities.
The trainees will be put into groups organized by teaching specialty. In addition to basic subjects such as Japanese, mathematics and English, the groups will also cover music, arts and physical education.
The law for special regulations concerning educational public service personnel requires school teachers to undergo job training in their first and 10th years of employment.
In addition to the mandatory training, the metropolitan board started its own training program this academic year, which consists mainly of lectures open to the public and for teachers in the second to fourth years of their careers.
The training school will specialize in teaching skills to further brush up teachers' abilities after other training programs.
At the school, the trainees will watch their instructors teach a class once a month. The trainees also will observe each other in teaching situations.
The trainees will learn, for example, how to effectively use narration and how to make better use of the blackboard.
In addition, trainees will hold mock classroom lectures with other trainees acting as students. Group members will also use e-mail to share lecture plans and teaching advice.
The metropolitan board plans to designate those who finish the program with excellent results as mentors for newly employed teachers.
The metropolitan government will earmark about 80 million yen from next academic year's budget to cover transportation expenses for the trainees and to invite newcomers to the training school every year.

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