Japanese city promotes English language learning through hiking, rice planting
The city of Takasaki in the Gunma Prefecture of Japan has planned to launch an education program that will help students learn English through a unique immersion program.
This education program concept is referred to as “sanson ryugaku” or mountain village education. However, Takasaki has opted to focus on teaching English to students from urban areas, according to The Japan Times.
A dormitory is currently under construction on the site of a closed-down elementary school 30 kilometers from the Japan Railway Takasaki station.
Once completed, 20 students from schools within 6 kilometers of the dorm will be enrolled, starting April 2018. While in the dorm, students are expected to only speak in English.
Weekends will have various activities planned out such as rice planting and taking hikes with the English speaking staff. The goal is to have the students learn the English language in a more natural manner.
Students can “relax and learn practical English in a natural setting,” said Naoki Ota, the Takasaki city official in charge of the program.
Apart from the regular program, short-stay courses will also be offered during summer and winter vacations.
With Japan’s declining birth rates, one of the associations that offer sanson ryugaku also see the program as a way to get students from urban areas interested in rural and depopulated places. Alfred Bayle/JB
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