Jurong Primary School

Collaboration with The Singapore Japanese School

JPS students learning the fundamentals of the Japanese language

Jurong Primary School has been collaborating with The Singapore Japanese School (Clementi Campus) (TSJS) since 2008. The impetus for this collaboration was the Twinning Programme with our partner schools in Miyazaki, Japan. Prior to the collaboration, pupils who went for the immersion programme in Miyazaki gave the feedback that they were not fully engaged during the trip due to the language barriers. Our school decided to start Japanese lessons for primary three to five pupils who are proficient in both English and Mother Tongue so as to better prepare them for the immersion programme and also pave the way for these pupils to take up a third language when they go to the secondary schools.

Our search for teachers who could teach Japanese was not successful. We eventually found two native Japanese speakers, Mdm Kazue and Mrs Yumi, to oversee the programme. Since its implementation, our students have been taught the essential skills of reading and writing the Japanese characters (Hiragana). They also learnt proper Japanese sentence patterns and basic verbs and nouns. The TSJS Principal and teachers were so impressed by our move to teach our pupils Japanese that they came over to assist us in judging the Show and Tell sessions. In 2010, our students also went for a Learning Journey to TSJS during their annual Korroko Festival. In return, the Primary 6 students in TSJS visited JPS for an exchange programme.

JPS pupils and TSJS pupils bonding through ice-breaker games during an exchange programme at JPS.

In addition to teaching the Japanese language, Mdm Kazue and Mdm Yumi also planned many interesting activities for the pupils. These included arranging for a dialogue session with other Japanese volunteers, introducing Japanese nursery rhymes to the pupils and setting up a booth during our Racial Harmony Day to teach them Origami. The collaboration has brought about a host of benefits for both JPS and TSJS. For us, our students are now able to converse in basic Japanese confidently and have a deeper understanding of the Japanese culture. The Japanese pupils from TSJS also have exposure to the English Language which is mandatory for them to learn.

The programme has also recruited a Japanese teacher on leave, Mrs Akemi Tanaka, whose husband is a staff of TSJS, Changi Campus. The three teachers enjoy interacting with the pupils and have learnt many aspects of the Singapore culture which they have shared with their colleagues and students.

Looking forward, we plan to offer the programme to the Primary Twos as well. In addition, we will also work more closely with the Japanese teachers on differentiating the curriculum for different leaner abilities. We believe such a change will bring about closer collaboration with TSJS and help our students learn Japanese at a pace that matches their ability.