Nov 23, 2010

What is Mid-Year Seminar all about?

Just back from my weekend trip at Nikko, after the Mid-Year Seminar for all ALTs and JTEs in my prefecture. :) The autumn colours in Nikko was superb! That warrants another blog post though, so stay tuned. :P

Here's a brief FAQ in the annual Mid-Year Seminar:

Q: What is the Mid-Year Seminar about?
A: It is an annual 2-day 1-night (typically) seminar for all ALTs and JTEs in the prefecture. For every school, they will send a JTE and ALT to attend the seminar. Some schools send 2 JTEs instead of 1 though, 1 JTE for each day.

At the seminar, there will be workshops for all to attend, to share and learn new teaching strategies, engaging students or simply how to cross the cultural barriers and communicate better.

It is quite similar to the Tokyo Orientation, where all newbies will attend right after they reach Japan.

Q: Workshops? What are the workshops like?
A: All seniors (from 2nd year onwards) will have to either participate in the lesson plan bazaar or workshops. These are elective workshops, and based a variety of topics ranging from work related to surviving in japan related. Very much like the Tokyo Orientation. But in my personal opinion, I think this Mid-Year Seminar (MYS) has better workshops than the Tokyo Orientation.

Some time before the seminar, the PA will send out descriptions of the MYS workshops, and both ALTs and JTEs will have to choose which they will be attending. Once we reach MYS, a schedule will be drawn up for all attendees, on which workshops, which rooms we will be heading for every time slot.

Q: Lesson Plan Bazaar? What's that?
A: This is something new for this year's MYS. It is basically like a flea market of lesson plans, where seniors and their JTEs showcase some of their favourite lesson plans (which worked like magic). This is shopping time for newbies like me. We will shop around and pick up ideas, worksheets, lesson plans, etc. The seniors and the JTEs are around to explain the lessons as well.

Q: Any other highlights for MYS?
A: Yup, MYS is like a big reunion party for ALTs, since most of us would not have been able to meet up since the last prefecture orientation. We do have the options of whether to stay over at the seminar location. PA had prepared lots of night activities for us to take part as well, so don't worry, you will not be bored. Some activities include yoga session, JLPT study session, movie session, etc.

We had an impromptu gathering at one of the rooms too after dinner. I heard from the seniors, that this is typical every year.