At School

Can I take Japanese language classes and regular classes that are taught at IC?

Interns may be able to take some regular classes in Japanese with IC students if their Japanese ability is high enough (i.e., JPLT N2 or N3). If interns already have a level N3 or higher on the Japanese Language Proficiency Exam, they may be able to audit language classes on campus with exchange students. Interns have also audited English classes in the past. If the faculty member in charge approves it, the intern can audit the class for free.

Interns are also able to take Japanese conversation classes through the Center for International Understanding at no cost approximately twice a week. These classes are taught by IC students who are learning how to teach Japanese as a foreign language. The lessons are aimed at giving interns Japanese conversation practice and helping them adjust to living in Japan.

Student volunteers are also available for additional lessons and conversation practice. Please consult with us for more information. Lastly, for those who want to study more in depth, we can suggest some community classes. These classes are often free or require a nominal fee. Past interns have found these classes extremely helpful.

What will my responsibilities be as an intern?

Although adjustments are possible, our vision is that interns will have five major areas of responsibility. They will assist university English teachers in classroom activities, hold tutoring sessions for English majors, offer times for conversation or fun activities using English, plan special events such as parties, group games, and activities and eat lunch with interested students. The five areas and what they entail are described below. Please note that promotion of these events and activities to students is also part of the intern responsibilities.

A. Assisting university English teachers in classroom activities 

Some university English teachers will ask you to visit their classes. Possible requests could include the following: teaching a specific topic relevant to the class that the teacher will ask about in advance; introducing yourself and your school; assisting the teacher with communication activities that will not require advance preparation on your part; visiting a class with other interns to provide small group practice for the students in the class; or teaching whatever you would like. Be prepared with a number of teaching plans that you can implement on such occasions.

B. Holding tutoring sessions for English majors, individual students or small groups by appointment

You may be asked to answer specific requests from students to assist them with assignments or classwork that they find challenging as well as organizing study sessions for groups of students studying for the TOEIC, TOEFL or STEP tests. The STEP test is a Japanese test that evaluates English ability.

C. Offering times for conversation or fun activities using English

We offer what we call Chat Hours, where interested students come to chat for 90 minutes. Chats can be opportunities for free talk or based on a worksheet or activity that you have planned. Planning is essential for Chat Hours.

D. Planning special events and activities such as parties, group games or activities

Every month we have a special event for the students. Such school events in the past have included Capture the Flag, Halloween, Mexico Night, parties, barbecues and sports. Almost any activity can be implemented but it is best to check with the intern coordinators regarding your ideas to ensure that all logistical aspects can be covered.

E. Eating lunch with interested students

Room 5100, our common room for English majors, is one of the places where DCE students meet. Many students eat lunch here and enjoy practicing English in a casual setting. We would like you to be present here for lunch approximately four days a week. Generally, interns sit at different tables to communicate with a greater variety of students. Interns should be prepared with a variety of topics and questions for light conversation.

What does a typical day look like? 

Here is an example of a typical day for interns. Depending on demand and availability, the schedule will be adjusted.
Time Task Description
8:30 Arrival Arrive at school and check in at the office
8:40 – 10:10 Preparation time Prepare for Chat Hours, visiting classes and more
10:20 – 11:50 Teaching Assistant Help a teacher with their class
11:50 – 12:40 Chat Lunch Initiate conversation with students and chat as you eat
12:40 – 2:10 Chat Hour Converse with students on topics you have prepared
2:20 – 3:50 Chat Hour Converse with students on topics you have prepared
4:00 – 5:30 TOEIC tutoring Help student to prepare to take the TOEIC
5:40 Leave Intern duties have finished and you can go home or to a club

 

What will my week as an intern encompass? 

Interns are asked to be on campus at least four days a week, arriving at school before 8:40 classes and staying until sometime between 4:30 and 5:40. During this time, interns are not always on duty as they can take breaks, take Japanese lessons, participate in classes as students and do other personal things. Interns are asked to help approximately one evening a month in planning and running an event. The four-day week normally runs from Monday to Thursday or Tuesday to Friday, so interns can have three-day weekends to travel or do other personal things. Some interns come five days a week and you are welcome do so if you would like to. Overall, we estimate that interns will be on campus a minimum of 30 to 35 hours per week with 25 of these hours designated for intern duties. At the end of your internship, these hours will be totaled and can be used towards receiving credit at your college or institution.

Who will help with planning and publicizing my teaching and activities? 

Teachers, intern coordinators and students are all here to help you. We will be happy to introduce you to students who would like to help. Students are usually the most helpful in letting you know what they think will work best and to help you publicize your activities by telling friends and making posters.

What is the most important thing that I can do as an intern? 

Motivate students, show them the joys of speaking English and help them try to reach their goals.

How much English have students studied before arriving at university? 

Most students have studied English for at least six years prior to university. Most of their studies have focused on grammar, writing and reading so their conversation skills are lacking. This intern program has been designed to help students enhance their speaking abilities. Even if they appear reluctant to speak and have limited comprehension skills, they have much English knowledge that can be accessed.

Will students know who I am?

All the students in our department, the Department of Contemporary English, will know who you are. We will ask you to introduce yourself to them in classes. Your introduction should be short and simple in slow, easy-to-understand English. You should tell them about you, where they can find you and encourage them to come to see you to do activities together, for help with their English or just to talk. Bringing visual aids to show the students is an effective way to communicate.

How important is planning? 

Planning is essential. Planning will help you to excel when your lack of experience with a particular group of students makes things difficult. In particular, planning is an important part of Chat Hour. Planning and making an activity, executing it and refurbishing it for the next time are skills that will help you in all of your future endeavors, especially if you are interested in teaching English as a second or foreign language.

What other advice can you offer? 

After planning, our next piece of advice is to smile and speak slowly. Our students are interested in speaking English with someone who is friendly and happy to help. When speaking, native English interns and teachers often have a tendency to race ahead. If you are talking too quickly and at a higher level than the students can understand, they may ask you to slow down, repeat or simplify, or they may just disengage and give up. It is best to speak slowly, use simple English words and confirm that they understand you. Students often indicate they understand when they do not, so restating or summarizing what you say is very important even when people seem to get it. If you notice that you are doing all the talking, and the students are not speaking, it probably means that it is time to re-examine what you are doing and think of ways to engage the students in conversation.

How will I be evaluated?

Evaluation will be an ongoing process of establishing goals and working together to help you meet those goals. We envisage the following process:

  1. Before your entrance interview-discussion, which will be in the first few days or week after you arrive, we would like you to prepare a list of goals that you have for yourself during this internship in terms of teaching, learning and living in Japan. Please email a copy to the intern coordinator in advance and bring two printed copies of the list to the entrance interview-discussion, one for us and one for you. We will discuss your goals and place a copy of the list in your portfolio along with our notes.
  2. Before your exit interview-discussion we would again like to ask you to prepare for the exit interview-discussion. This time, we would like to know if you feel you reached your goals, what you learned from the entire experience and what you plan to do after the internship and whether it has helped you. Again, please email a copy to the intern coordinator in advance and bring two printed copies, one for us and one for you, to the entrance interview-discussion.

 

If I come across an unusual situation or am asked something that I am not sure about, what should I do? 

Please state that you need to speak with one of the intern coordinators before making any decisions. In the west, we are often expected to decide and reply quickly. In Japan, it is more common to take time to consider an appropriate answer. Do not let yourself get pressured into a hasty reply. Ask one of the intern coordinators first.

School Clubs

When you arrive at IC, you will be given a booklet with information about the clubs on campus. Interns have participated in language, culture and sports clubs with students. If you would like to participate, you can ask the internship coordinators how you can do so.

 

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