One of my favourite lessons in the Smith’s curriculum is Let’s Talk Lesson 17 “Current Affairs“, which allows students to bring up current topics from the news and discuss them. Recently students have been bringing up the same 4 topics: The World Cup in South Africa, the G20 & G8 Summits in Toronto, the Sumo gambling scandal, and the recent resignation of both the Japanese and Australian prime ministers.
So in class we’ve been talking about politics, and a question from Lesson 17 asks which prime minister or politician students feel was the best in Japanese history. Most students give similar answers, either Junichi Koizumi (3 terms, 2001-2006) or Shigeru Yoshida (5 terms, 1946-1947 & 1948-1954). However, one students gave the following answer: “I especially like Ichikawa Fusae, because she was a powerful woman and a fair politician, and she worked hard until she was in her 90’s”.
I had never heard of Ichikawa Fusae, so after class I looked her up on wikipedia and was thoroughly impressed. She is truly a hero of the 20th century and a major figure in the making of the post-war constitution, as well as a leader in the political change which shaped Japan’s current social reform. Japan is a truly great nation and Ichikawa Fusae is a major reason for that. But don’t take my word for it. Read all about her life HERE, and see if you agree with my student and me!
Edward, SSE Ohtsu
Al Bartle says
Edward, So you learned something too! That is what makes teaching English in Japan so much fun. Often students can teach us some great things about Japan while enjoying the chance to explain it in English. Keep up the great work!