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JET Programme and UK teaching watch

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    I'm considering applying for the JET programme (http://www.jet-uk.org ) and am just wondering whether the experience gained on a program like that will be benificial if I decided to go for a teaching qualification upon returning to the UK.

    Any comments, or experiences of people who may have done JET before?
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    I went on the JET programme for 3 years, so I can answer this! The JET programme won't give you a teaching qualification, although some people pick up a TEFL while they're on the course. It is also teaching English as a foreign language which is different of course from teaching to native students. However the experience of teaching and living in an international setting will help you; it depends on the school or the PGCE provider but I think that having done the JET programme for a year or two would definitely be an asset on your teaching CV. It won't get you a pay rise or faster qualification into the profession though.

    Go for the JET programme if you think you'd enjoy it - it's great life experience, you can travel a lot, and pay off student debts (most people can save 6,000 pounds a year easily...)
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    Which prefecture were you teaching in? Did you speak any Japanese prior to going over there?
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    I was in a prefecture near Kansai (this is the region that includes Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto). JETs are sent all over the country except central Tokyo, I think. You can specify an area if you have strong reasons for wanting to go there.

    I didn't speak any Japanese prior to going over there (maybe I knew arigatou gozaimasu and a couple of other phrases). I did give the impression at interview that I was keen to learn, which is probably important.

    Any other questions about JET, fire away.
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    What age range did you teach? From what I've heard the bulk of ALTs are placed in Jr highs, working with ichinensei, ninensei, and sanensei, but a few people have said palcements with older and younger students are both becoming more common.
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    ALTs are divided fairly evenly between junior and senior high schools, although it is common for ALTs, especially in more rural areas, to teach at more than one school. In the last few years they have been expanding the programme in elementary schools so you could be teaching kids at anything from 5 - 18 years old. I'm not sure how they determine who goes where; mostly it is decided by the local board of education in whatever prefecture you get placed, although you might be able to express a preference when you apply (esp. if you have previous experience teaching a particular age group). You will probably be working with all years inside your schools as most schools have only one or at the most two ALTs.
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    So would it be correct to assume you learnt the language while you were over there? Did you actively attempt to learn japanese by attending lessons etc.? If so, what sort of time scale did it take?

    I ask because I am very interested in doing a course like this and am wondering what level of fluency I could achieve over the space of one year, or longer depending on how much I enjoy it.
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    I learned a bit of Japanese (up to level 2 on the Proficiency Test) over the three years. There are plenty of ways to study when you get to Japan - the JET programme runs an official language course from October to about May, and you can find Japanese teachers or people prepared to do language exchange easily. The job also usually gives you a lot of free time during the working day that you can use to study.

    As for what you could achieve over one year - it varies a lot depending on your own aptitude for learning languages, and your interest! If you can maintain the enthusiasm... learning from scratch, after one year I would say you could have a good basic level of Japanese that would get you through most everyday situations (asking the way, small talk and introductions, ordering in restaurants etc). As far as reading goes you could expect to know the first few hundred basic characters, as well as hiragana and katakana. Some people probably learn more than this in a year, and a lot of people learn much less... It's possible to have fun in Japan and get by without ever trying to learn the language, like British expats in most of the world do!
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    Yeah, the whole concept sounds absoultely fantastic to me anyway. I'm sure i'd have a great time as you so. Developing some knowledge of another language while i was doing it would just be a big bonus! =)
 
 
 
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