ENGLISH LESSONS

By Team Digit | Updated 1 Jul 2008
ENGLISH LESSONS

Fun With Nintendo

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Now your parents won’t crib any more when they see you glued to the addictive hand-held gaming console: Nitendo DS or popularly abbreviated as NDS or simply DS. As the doctor always ordered, fun and games should always be a proper decoction and it’s not long before the Joshi Gakuen all-girls junior high school in Tokyo realised this.

Imagine this: a giggly gaggle of 32 seventh-graders merrily glued to their DS with the teacher applauding! The students are now on a fun-learning course with the novel idea of using the popularity of the handheld console to learn basic English lessons. The enthusiastic students gleefully engage themselves in spelling words like “hamburger” and “cola” on the touch panel screen of DS following an electronic voice from the machine. Judging from the popularity it seems the DS will make has made a breakthrough entry into classrooms.

Japanese education has long been infamous for failing to develop English conversation skills and instead focus on rote memorization and grammar. However, Yasuhiro Yamamoto, manager at software maker Paon Corp. believed that it is time to bring in some element of fun in to learning and came out with the DS English program.

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With it, learning grammar and spelling had never been so much fun. When the students got the spelling right, the word “good” popped up on the screen, and the student went on to the next exercise. The first five students to complete the drills were awarded colourful stickers.

While the students have given an enthusiastic thumbs up to the new experiment Principal Tsuneo Saneyoshi revealed that the initiative is still in its trial stages and have received mixed response from the teachers. The school is getting 40 DS machines and free software for agreeing to be part of a test in a real classroom.

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