Bridging the Gap: Kikokushijo Japan's Unique Approach to Transitioning Back to Japanese Schools
About the term "Native Kikokushijo"
In the following article, I use the term "Native Kikokushijo" and wanted to explain its creation. "Kikokushijo" refers to children who return to Japan after living abroad. However, I use "Native Kikokushijo" to represent a slightly different group. These are children who have spent their early years in international schools within Japan and then transitioned into the Japanese school system.
I chose to use the term "Native Kikokushijo" to reflect the unique experiences of these children. They may not have lived abroad, but they still had to navigate two different cultures, languages, and educational systems. This situation can be a challenging experience, but it can also be an enriching one.
I understand the inherent contradiction in the term "Native Kikokushijo," as it combines the idea of being native to a place with the concept of returning to it. However, this contradiction adds nuance to its meaning, highlighting the complex experiences of these children who navigate cultural and linguistic transitions within their own country.
As a mixed-race and mixed-culture educator, I believe it is crucial to raise awareness of these children's challenges and provide them with the support they need to succeed. I hope this term can be a reminder of the unique journey of cultural and linguistic navigation that can occur even within one's own country.
Navigating the Transition Back to Japanese Schools
There are many rewards of growing up bilingual, multiracial, or with multiple cultures. As a mixed-race Japanese American, I have experienced the unique challenges and benefits of navigating multiple cultures and languages. My journey from Okinawa to Hawaii to the mainland US, and now Tokyo, Japan, has given me a deep appreciation for the complexities of identity and belonging. While my experience is not that of a kikokushijo, my experience has led me to recognize similarities in our paths.
"Kikokushijo" is a term used in Japan to describe children who have spent a significant part of their childhood abroad, often due to their parents' work, and then returned to Japan. These returnees often face challenges in reintegrating into the Japanese school system due to differences in language proficiency and cultural experiences. As a longtime early childhood educator in Japan, I have also recognized another type of kikokushijo I call "Native Kikokushijo." These children attend international schools in Japan and then switch to Japanese schools. Starting their education in international schools and transitioning into the Japanese school system can create similar challenges.
Stay tuned for a more in-depth exploration of my experiences and the concept of "Native Kikokushijo" in a future article. For now, let me introduce an organization that has made it their mission to support these students – Kikokushijo Japan in Bunkyo-Ku, Tokyo.
About Kikokushijo Japan
Kikokushijo Japan helps students transition back to Japanese schools while preserving their English language skills and preparing them for future academic challenges.
The program provides guidance, instruction, and support to students, creating a stimulating environment surrounded by native-level English conversations. This environment allows students to maintain and improve their English proficiency while adapting to the Japanese school system.
Kikokushijo Japan's rigorous assessment process is a crucial aspect of its program. The assessment considers students' academic performance, language skills, and cultural awareness to tailor the program to each student's needs. It also ensures that students entering the program are at a level that benefits their peers and allows them to build solid friendships and feel accepted, creating a sense of belonging for its students. This process leverages educational experience from their partner school, Joy to the World.
The team at Kikokushijo Japan has over 20 years of experience working with young learners in Japan. They are committed to providing personalized support to every student, ensuring a successful transition back to the Japanese school system.
In essence, Kikokushijo Japan offers support for students navigating the complexities of transitioning between different educational systems and cultures. Their program helps students maintain and improve their English proficiency while adapting to the Japanese school system, proving the power of tailored education. Traditional programs and schools often overlook the importance of preserving multilingual skills and intercultural understanding for students with diverse educational backgrounds because they focus on integration instead.
Classes at Kikokushijo Japan
Kikokushijo Japan offers two types of classes to support students of all levels in retaining their English fluency and preparing for the academic challenges of junior high school.
Regular Kikokushijo Japan Classes are for students who want to maintain their English fluency. These classes focus on grammar, vocabulary, and conversation. They center their curriculum around nine fundamental tenets: collaboration, communication, curiosity, creativity, competence, commitment, connection, confidence, and craftsmanship. These tenets guide lesson planning when teaching subjects like history, geography, science, math, and writing. The goal is to help students thrive in their new environment while preserving and enhancing their English language skills.
KJ Prep Classes are for students who want to join Kikokushijo Japan but are either too young or did not qualify based on their initial assessment. These classes focus on academic subjects such as math, science, and English. The 15 lessons of the KJ Prep Class include theoretical parts like basic essay writing skills, grammar and vocabulary, advanced sentence building, and practical parts like essential debating skills, confident presentation skills, how to lead conversations, and basic role-play skills.
Kikokushijo Japan's teachers are passionate about helping students succeed.
The Regular Kikokushijo Japan Class and the KJ Prep Class utilize their unique teaching style, prioritizing language retention for students transitioning back to the Japanese school system. With experienced instructors and a unique curriculum, they strive to help every student successfully transition while preserving and enhancing their English language skills. They know that retaining natural English language fluency requires teaching targeted explicitly to that objective.
The importance of organizations like Kikokushijo Japan is clear in an increasingly globalized world. They play a crucial role in supporting students who navigate the complexities of transitioning between different educational systems and cultures. Kikokushijo Japan, in particular, offers a unique program that helps students transition back to Japanese schools while preserving their English language skills and preparing them for future academic challenges.
Their approach is rigorous and personalized, ensuring they meet each student's needs. This approach is essential for kikokushijo and "native kikokushijo," who often face unique challenges in maintaining their language skills and cultural understanding.
Organizations like Kikokushijo Japan provide practical support for these students and contribute to a broader understanding of the complexities and rewards of growing up bilingual, multiracial, or with multiple cultures.
I'll explore the idea of "native kikokushijo" in a future article about biculturalism. Stay tuned for that!
I'll also be interviewing Hamid, the head teacher of Kikokushijo Japan. I'll share more about their unique approach and dedication to supporting students transitioning to the Japanese school system. In the meantime, I encourage you to learn more about Kikokushijo Japan and its essential work.
- School Name: Kikokushijo Japan
- English Homepage: https://www.kikokushijojapan.com
- 日本語 Homepage: https://www.kikokushijojapan.com/ja/home
- Address: Koishikawa 5-3-2-2F, Bunkyo-Ku, Tokyo, Japan
- Phone: 03-5684-0257
- Email: email@example.com
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