TOKYO TIME

In 1980, while on summer holiday with my family in Tokyo, I was offered a Kindergarten position at the International School of the Sacred Heart. To my surprise, the actual bilingual instruction and methodology that I had studied and and passionately taught for six years in San Francisco Unified School District Japanese Bilingual Bicultural classrooms was unheard of in Japanese schools! And, due to their to multi-national student bodies, international schools prioritized English language instruction. As a Bilingual Specialist, I felt an urgency to use my bilingual experience and expertise to benefit kids in Japanese public schools. Frustrated with the inadequate state of EFL and ESL in Japan, I left ISSH to create educationally sound bilingual materials. I approached television stations with proposals for bilingual programs. Surprisingly, educators and producers believed that exposure to two languages at once would overload learning circuits!

Finally, Britannica Japan accepted my action-based plan that incorporated Japanese traditional children's songs (Doyo). Named the "I CAN Series", this bilingual multi-media edutainment program consisted of 3 illustrated storybooks, one bilingual song album, 4 audio cassettes and
4 videos.
Program content included fine and gross motor skill activities, action verbs, art, Doyo
and action songs that reinforced useful key English phrases.
As Bilingual Education was virtually
unknown, and because my action-based ESL and bilingual methods were effective, I was invited
as a guest speaker for AETC (Association of English Teachers of Children) to present my English
in Action
methodology to English teachers from all over Japan. My presentation was met with enthusiasm because it inspired and encouraged educators to actively use the method of connecting words and phrases with actual physical movements and expressions. For most teachers this kind of active, not passive teaching was completely new.

 
Britannica Japan's
"I CAN" Series book covers portraying
Japanese Doyo characters.
Song Album cover design