Local teacher was guest of the Japanese Government
This past June, Leigh Jenkins departed for Tokyo as a participant in the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund (JFMF) Teacher Program. Jenkins, from Berkeley Springs High School, was selected from a national pool of over 1,700 applicants by a panel of educators in the U.S. to travel to Japan for three weeks in an effort to promote greater intercultural understanding between the two nations.
Jenkins was among 200 educators visiting Japan in June. They began their visit in Tokyo with a practical orientation on Japanese life and culture and meetings with Japanese government officials and educators. They then traveled in groups of 20 to selected host cities where they had direct contact with Japanese teachers and students during visits to primary and secondary schools. Jenkins' group was based in Suganami-ku prefecture near Tokyo and had the opportunity to visit Tokyo University, as well. They also visited cultural sites and local industries in addition to a brief homestay with a Japanese family.
The Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund, based in Tokyo, oversees all aspects of the Teacher Program. The program is sponsored by the Government of Japan and was launched in 1997 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Government Fulbright Program, which has enabled more than 6,000 Japanese citizens to study in the U.S. on Fulbright fellowships for graduate education and research. The Institute of International Education acts as the agency for the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund to coordinate the recruitment and pre-departure activities of the Teacher Program in the United States.
Up to four hundred educators from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will be invited to visit Japan in June and October of 2007 (200 in each group). To date, more than 6,000 primary and secondary educators have visited Japan through the JFMF Teacher Program. Upon their return, program participants share what they have learned about Japan with their students and communities through a variety of outreach projects.
Primary and secondary school educators throughout the United States can apply to take part in one of the two trips to Japan scheduled for 2008, as guests of the Japanese Government. Teachers of all disciplines, including art, physical education, English, ESL, history, geography, math, science, and special education, from every region of the United States, are encouraged to apply. Applicants are not required or expected to have previous knowledge of Japanese or Japan. The application deadline for both 2008 trips is December 10. For more information about the 2008 competition call 1-888-527-2636. All applications must be completed online.