A group of Japanese students has given young Nelsonians a taste of their culture while learning a new language, thanks to a course at the region's polytechnic.
Six students from JF Oberlin University in Tokyo have spent the past 18 weeks at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology learning English and visiting schools in the region to share their culture.
English Language and Foundation Studies programme area leader Claire Keenan said the students visited St Joseph's School and Campus Corner Early Learning Centre, playing games and teaching the children.
"We try to draw out all the experiences that they have got: [they] do some problem-solving work, some strategising about how they can make the most of their placement, both for their language and for their general self-development."
Each student had their own goals, with Yohei Ohashi, 19, aiming to teach the children about his name, what it meant, and how to write it.
On the class' blog, he wrote that he liked playing with the children outside, and preferred not to draw with them because he was not that good.
Another student had taught the children origami, letting them choose designs based on their interests, and using special paper for the activity.
The programme was a type of vocational training that was in vogue in Japan at the moment, a contrast to the traditional rote learning approach, Ms Keenan said.
"It's experiential learning which is something that is really valuable to these students.
"They are really engaged in it, even though it is really challenging for them."
Campus Corner head teacher Amanda Stoddart said the programme had been great for the children, and she hoped it had been helpful for the students.
"The children like it because they don't need to be doing anything else and they're strictly there to play with the children and read them stories and do things with them.
"As soon as the students walk in the door our children go running up to them and start telling them what they want to do. They've been made to feel welcome."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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