M3 Empowerment Program

Good morning everyone,

Recently our junior high school grade three students participated in the “Empowerment Program”. This program brings university students from English-speaking countries to Japan, and allows Japanese students to learn not only English, but also self-confidence and communication skills. In the summer high school girls completed a five day program. Last week it was time for our junior high school girls to take the challenge.

After the program finished, I asked classes C and D to write about their experience. Here are three responses that I think were good. Click the pictures to make them bigger.


Being a nurse requires patience and careful communication skills. If someone from another country needs help, they will be happy if they can explain their health problems in their own language. These days, many people from other countries visit Japan, so nurses who can speak English will be important.

For some students, English is difficult because it is only studied in the classroom. Outside of school, it can be difficult to find a chance to use it. So, the Empowerment Program gives students a chance to use “real world” English, and can give them motivation in the future.

Also, the style of this writing, giving two reasons, is good practice for the Eiken writing test. “Because of all the reasons above…” is good to use.

Students often tell me “I don’t want to make a mistake!” when speaking English. In this program, however, expressing their ideas was more important than being mistake-free. The satisfaction with successful communication is what was important.

I hope the students can use the momentum from the program and continue learning in the new year. Making a small change to pracice English in their daily lives can help in the future. Good luck everyone, and have a great winter vacation!

Advent Season

Congratulations everyone!  Your tests are finished for the second term and the holidays are coming soon.  It is a time for family and friends.

This time of year is called “Advent”.  Advent is from the latin word that means “coming”.  What is coming?  Christmas!  The Advent season starts four Sundays before Christmas and it is a time for people to get ready.  My family did two things for Advent.

An Advent Wreath with all candles lit, on Christmas Eve.

First, in our church, we had an “Advent Wreath”.  The wreath had five candles.  On each of the four Sundays before Christmas, another candle was lit.  Then, on Christmas Eve, the fifth candle was lit.  I always enjoyed going to church on Christmas Eve, because it was at night.  The music and candles were beautiful, and I knew the next day would be Christmas.

An advent calendar, with the choclates and Christmas story.

Secondly, when I was a boy, I got an “Advent Calendar”.  This was a special calendar with paper doors for each day.  Behind each door was part of the Christmas story and… chocolate!  Everyday I got a piece of chocolate and saw Christmas getting closer and closer.  The last chocolate was also the biggest one.  I can never forget my excitement.

You have two more weeks before the holidays start.  Start your winter homework soon, so that you have some free time with your friends and family in the holiday.  Grade 3 students, this is your last push.  Do your best!