Lessons & Ideas:
Lost Teacher in Japan's Lesson Planning Guide
The intended audience for this page are future or current ALTs.
ALT High School Role
Here is a summary of Mie Prefecture’s Terms and Conditions for the Assistant Language Teacher (ALT). Duties are:
The Japanese Teacher of English (JTE) may, under the contract terms, utilize the ALT however they want. I had a lot of freedom and was the main planner for team-teaching lessons. The suggestions on this page are written for ALTs who have similar autonomy in their placements.
As far as I know, there is no curriculum for ALTs to reference.
JTEs have general standards that they follow but they also have flexibility, too. The English department within the high school usually chooses the text books. Lessons follow textbook chapters and are supplemented by anything else the teacher values, such as ALT lessons.
The National Board of Education expects high school teachers to teach English classes, especially classes with ALTs, entirely in English. The reality is that many teachers do not follow these expectations. I think you can infer why.
Without a clear written curriculum to follow, I regarded the textbook chapters and JTE recommendations as my curriculum, and planned lessons based on what they thought was most valuable for their students.
Unlike most American textbooks, Japanese English ones are usually thin, colorful, and affordable.
Examples of Books used in high school English:
Textbooks usually come with supplemental materials from the publisher, so look through all resources for ideas before planning:
Your base school may have an English Room that stores all the textbooks the school buys and receives free from publishing companies. Don't be afraid to ask if you could access this room.
High School Lesson Plans
After checking with your JTEs on lesson expectations, you’re ready to write.
The Lesson Plan should be helpful to you AND your JTE (if you're supposed to present the plans to them). The purpose of my plans were to keep me organized and give me a holistic view of the lesson. The second purpose of the plan was to serve as a communication piece between me and JTEs.
Plans should be written with JTEs as your audience, so it should be clear and easy to read. Anything too complicated should be explained in person or have explanations attached to the activity sample.
My Recommended Lesson Plan Components:
Include Guided Practice, Pair Practice, Independent Practice
Tips on Lesson Discussions with JTEs
After a few meetings, you may reach a point where you and your JTEs have a mutual understanding and are quite comfortable with each other. You may realize that your lesson plans no longer need certain details, so please adjust accordingly.
Make sure you clearly understand your schedules and classes. Some high school ALTs will have multiple high schools. Within these high schools there may be alternating weekly schedules. When I first began, it took me two weeks to realize that one of my schools had alternating schedules AND split classes. This meant that they had A and B weeks, and I took half of Class X on A week and the other half of class X on B week. Good thing I realized that before classes began!
Here is a simple old schedule I used that kept me on track when I was quite busy. Feel free to change and use it.
Regular, full time high school teachers typically teach about 15 classes a week. If your ALT position requires less than 10 classes a week, you could become a little bored. Use that free time wisely-- drop by my Training page for ideas.