Wednesday, 19 August 2015

ASTA welcomes Japanese teachers

From 10–15 August 2015, the Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA) was honoured to host a delegation of science teachers from Japan, who travelled to Australia as part of the joint Exchange program run by ASTA and the Sony Science Teachers Association (SSTA).

The three teachers, Mr Muira Sinichi, Ms Sanae Kawamata and Mr Kazuhiro Fujiki, were accompanied by Ms Toshiko Yamashita from the SSTA and translator Ms Keiko Toneqawa. Toshiko and Keiko have been involved in past Exchanges, accompanying Japanese delegations and hosting Australian delegations in Japan. ASTA President Robyn Aitken and CEO Vic Dobos were thrilled to see them again, and very pleased to meet the three passionate Japanese science teachers who were eager to share their teaching experience with their Australian counterparts.

From left: Ms Toshiko Yamashita, Mr Muira Sinichi, Ms Keiko Toneqawa, Ms Sanae Kawamata and Mr Kazuhiro Fujiki

One of the primary goals of the Exchange is to promote the sharing of knowledge and ideas between Japanese and Australian science educators. Just as the Australian delegates who visit Japan are able to observe Japanese science lessons and take part in discussions with school teachers and staff, the visiting Japanese delegates also visit schools and meet with teachers in Australia. At each of the schools they visited—St Clare's College in Griffith, ACT, Maribyrnong Primary School in Kaleen, ACT and Redlands in Cremorne, NSW—the visitors observed a teacher providing a science lesson and were given the opportunity to present a guest lesson themselves.



Kazuhiro's guest lesson on rockets was a hit at St Clare's.

Sincere thanks go to the staff at these schools, particularly Janet Worontschak, Leslie Carr and Anne Disney, as well as the science teachers association of ACT (SEA*ACT) for the warm welcome they provided the Japanese Exchange delegates.

At Maribyrnong Primary School, Sanae provided some interactive physics demonstrations.
Muira led a chemistry prac at Redlands.

Interspersed through the school visits were trips to some of ACT's and NSW's stand-out science, cultural and tourism locations including Tidbinbilla Nature Park, Geoscience Australia, CSIRO Discovery Centre, the Power House Museum, the National Maritime Museum and Taronga Zoo.

The delegates got up close to some of our native animals at Taronga Zoo.
A trip through Australian naval history at the National Maritime Museum.

ASTA values its strong, ongoing relationship with the Sony Science Teachers Association. The opportunity for teachers from Australia and Japan to visit one another's countries provides much more than a great tourism experience: it provides valuable insight into different methods of teaching science subjects and provides a stronger foundation for teachers to use when educating students about international understanding and cooperation.

ASTA hopes the SSTA delegates enjoyed and benefited from their time in Australia, and looks forward to sending our Australian teachers to Japan in a few month's time.