立教池袋中学校・高等学校

Native Speaker's Column

A Native speaker of English who teaches at our school writes this column about Japanese culture or their experiences in Japan and our school.
This is a good opportunity for you to read about their thoughts and experiences.

The goal of learning English is to be able to communicate confidently and effectively with others. While much importance has been placed on passing entrance exams and obtaining licenses or certificates in Japan, too much emphasis on achieving these goals will not necessarily equip students to maneuver confidently in English. Students want and need to learn language that is relevant to their lives and interests. They want to learn English as it is spoken today. Times are changing. Students are changing, and so should our philosophy and teaching methods in order to best serve and prepare them for the future.

Hi! My name is Dale Fuller, and I am originally from Chicago, U.S.A. When I recall my high school days, I remember how fascinated I was with foreign languages, especially Spanish. Studying a foreign language opened up a whole new world of possibilities and opportunities. I realized that by studying a foreign language, I also gained important information about a country as well as a better understanding of its culture and customs. During my junior year of high school, I was able to participate in a six-week study abroad program in Spain. This was my first experience abroad but not my last. After graduating from high school, I was invited to live with an Argentine family while attending university there. All of my hard work in Spanish class seemed to make sense now. Because I was prepared for this new experience, I could enjoy wonderful conversations at home and at school, and I was able to make many good friends during those 16 months in Argentina.

What impressed me most about my high school Spanish class was my teacher's enthusiasm for the subject and his desire to infuse us with the same passion he felt for the language. He did this by talking about his travel and study abroad experiences in Mexico, by showing us films about the country, (There were no videos or DVDs in those days.) and by displaying travel posters in the classroom. I always felt as though I was entering a world of new adventures when I stepped into the room every morning. Even with my limited ability of two years of high school Spanish, I was encouraged to speak, practicing what I had learned. Sometimes another Spanish teacher would suddenly visit us for a few minutes, and the two teachers would speak to each other in Spanish. I was amazed! Their example proved to me that learning a foreign language was possible.
Although I am relatively new to Rikkyo High School, I am not new to teaching in Japan. Most of my 24 years of experience in Japan has been spent serving vocational and university students. I particularly enjoy teaching high school students now. I see so much potential in each individual. Many Rikkyo students will end up in various positions of leadership someday: government, business, education, science, media and the arts. English will no doubt be important for their future.

Rikkyo High School has an extremely qualified and professional staff. Teachers have high standards as well as high expectations, and students usually rise to the challenge. One point that distinguishes Rikkyo from most other schools is its Christian mission statement and values. Rikkyo is not only interested in teaching basic subjects, but also in developing a Christ-like character in each student. To build a strong society requires people with key values such as honesty, integrity, responsibility, kindness and compassion. These qualities are fundamental to Christian beliefs, and I believe Rikkyo's teachers try to model these qualities and set good examples for students to follow. Teachers are genuinely concerned about the lives of students both in the classroom and outside the classroom.
I believe that our students desire to see our passion in what we do. They enjoy lively and meaningful lessons that allow them to put into practice the things that they have learned. Students desire opportunities to express their opinions, talk with classmates, and even their teachers about their everyday experiences. Meeting foreigners, being able to speak English with confidence, and knowing how to navigate through daily situations in a foreign country are a few of the reasons why our students study English. Many students want to travel abroad for fun, others want to go on a short homestay and experience a foreign culture, and some want to study abroad for a year or more. At Rikkyo, our goal is to help students achieve their dreams.

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立教池袋中学校・高等学校
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