Akita Orientation 2014

From Akita Wiki

2014 Akita Orientation is a two day conference for new JETs that will be held on Aug 18 & 19 at the Prefectural Education Center in Tenno, slightly north of Akita City.


  • Check in time: 12:00 noon
  • Where: The Prefectural Education Center, just outside of Akita City.
  • When: August 18 & 19

All presentations will be given by the PAs or block leaders.

What to expect

Akita Orientation is designed to give new JETs all the information they need to thrive in Akita. There will be almost no instruction on culture shock or other topics that were covered at Tokyo Orientation. If there is overlap with Tokyo Orientation, it is because we believe our presentations will be of more use. New JETs should leave the conference with a solid idea of what to expect throughout the upcoming year and the particulars of their specific area of Akita.

What to bring

Akita Orientation is considered part of your normal work activities and you are expected to dress professionally throughout the conference. Because the August heat in Akita is rather harsh, short sleeved collared shirts without suit coats or ties are appropriate for men (know in Japan as Cool Biz). Dress for women is business casual.

With the exception of a very few people, new JETs will be staying overnight at the Education Center during orientation. Assume you will be staying over unless you have been told otherwise directly from your CO. Showers and public baths for males and females are available. See Onsen Etiquette for using the public bath. Soap is provided but that is about all in the way of amenities. You should bring everything else that you need.

  • A bath towel & small vanity towel to cover up in the bath
  • Shower amenities other than soap and shampoo
  • Cash. There is no ATM at the center
  • Athletic shoes, should you need them
    Dodge-ball and basketball are annual favorites

There is a cafeteria at the center where you can buy breakfast and lunch, although you should buy meal tickets as early as possible as they have a tendency to run out.

Keep in mind that the Prefectural Education center is not a hotel, but rather a training center for government employees. As such, please treat the building, staff, and others staying there with respect.

Dinner Party

Every year AAJ hosts a welcome dinner in the Education Center.

Menu: Sushi dinner
Price: 1500 Yen

First Day

  • Akita Information
  • Workshop 1
  • Workshop 2
  • Block presentations/Getting to know your block

Second Day

  • The Akitan/Akita JET Wiki information
  • Laws and safety
  • Workshop 3
  • Workshop 4
  • Workshop 5
  • The health talk


Lesson planning

  • Taylor Fustin

Lesson Planning is for ALTs who are not confident creating a lesson. At some point during your amazing, fulfilling career as an ALT a teacher will probably ask you to plan and lead a lesson. We will explain the basics of planning by looking at two real lessons. Then we will have an opportunity to look at what goes into making a successful lesson. Lastly, everyone will have a chance to practice making a lesson.

Education 101

  • Josh Drewry

There are no shortcuts to becoming a better teacher: no secret formula, no magic words. It takes hours of planning and preparation, then a dozen changes to those plans from the moment you reach the classroom. It is difficult work, but we stand on the shoulders of giants. Pedagogy, or the study of teaching, is a well-established field of research with many resources to offer aspiring young educators. This workshop will introduce several key pedagogical theories employed by teachers today and visit how they apply to our unique role in English education. Ideas for new lessons are not the focus of our discussion, but you might discover a way to improve the activities you already use. Whether you are new to teaching or want to revisit your formal studies from a fresh angle, this workshop will provide you with tools for critically analyzing your lessons in order to make the most of your time in the classroom.

Japanese Study

  • Randy Umetsu & Sean Corrigan

Believe it or not, Japanese language proficiency can be one of your greatest tools as an ALT as it helps build report with your teachers and generally makes life easier. This workshop is a practical crash course about the Japanese language and study methods to help you learn as much Japanese as possible while you are here. If you can’t read this 私は日本語がわかりません then you will definitely get something out of this workshop!

Teaching at multiple schools

  • Connie Look, Colin Flinn, Alex Childs

This workshop will cover all the difficulties that you will encounter if you teach at many schools. Some of the topics will be curriculum planning, a no-English work situation, administrative issues(using nenkyu, travel forms, when to use daikyu, etc.), staying informed, office etiquette, and much more. If any of these things concern you then come to this workshop!

Getting into your children's shoes

  • Keith Ikoma

Being native speakers of English for the majority of our lives, it is easy to forget the trials and tribulations of language acquisition. As teachers of something second nature to us, it is also easy to lose our patience and empathy for our young students in the learning process. In this presentation, the tables have turned. Come remind yourself of the daily struggles and triumphs your students endure by immersing yourself in a language you don't understand, and participate in a discussion emphasizing empathy, linguistics, cultural context, and the importance of comprehensible input.

Travel and Transportation

  • David Ranzini & Jeffrey Lowther

Your time in Japan will most likely present many opportunities to do some traveling. This presentation covers the basics of traveling from Akita and within Japan and includes transportation options, accommodation options, and other tips and tricks for domestic travel. We will provide realistic figures you can use to help you budget your trips and hopefully save you some money!

Communication in your School & Community

  • Randy Umetsu and Stephanie Hupp

Communication in your school and local community can be quite daunting with limited knowledge of the Japanese language. However, with a little knowledge of communication practices in Japan and awareness of how we use our own native language of English can go a long way when communicating with others. Come to learn some practical communication tips and tricks that will surely help you out navigating the language and culture barriers you may face.

TESL Certification/Continued Education

  • Joshua Drewry

Teaching is a profession that requires learning, not only from the students, but from teachers as well. Professional development and continued education are a required part of most positions and can help you not only improve as an ALT, but provide you with tools for seeking post-JET careers. In this workshop, we will focus the process of becoming a certified instructor for English as a Foreign Language, or TEFL, but will also discuss some of the wide array of continued education available to ALTs. Whether you want to improve your teaching strategies in your Japanese classroom or are already considering your options for returning home, this workshop will provide you with an analysis of the costs and benefits of your different options and help you decide what is right for your future.

See also

Akita Orientation
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2020 2021