From judo and sumo to rugby and baseball, 10 New Zealand physical education teachers will learn about traditional and no-so-traditional Japanese sports when they head to Tokyo on 19 May for the Japan Sports Forum, run by the Asia New Zealand Foundation.

Japan Sports Forum from Asia New Zealand Foundation on Vimeo.

The Foundation’s education adviser Yasheeka Bertram says the Forum is designed to help PE teachers grow their awareness and knowledge of Japanese culture and traditions so they are better equipped to teach their students.

“We hope teachers incorporate the insights gained from the Tokyo trip into their lesson plans in relation to upcoming sports events, which will give students a deeper understanding of the sporting culture in Japan,” Yasheeka says.

Japan will be in the spotlight for New Zealand students over the next few years as it hosts four major sporting events: the 2019 Rugby World Cup (RWC), the 2020 Summer Olympic Games and Paralympics, and the 2021 World Masters Games.

The teachers going to Japan were selected from schools across New Zealand. The participating teachers are:

  • Joel Baker, Cambridge High School, Waikato
  • Leesa Bathgate, South Otago High School, Balclutha
  • Greg Burne, Lynfield College, Auckland
  • Kerryn Dawson, Edgewater College, Auckland
  • Ben Hancock, Wesley College, Auckland
  • Jonny Hewson, St Bernard’s College, Lower Hutt
  • Robyn Hickley, Otago Girls High School, Dunedin
  • Leigh Morgan, Otahuhu College, Auckland
  • Coralie Morrison, Samuel Marsden Whitby, Porirua
  • Gus Shirley, Waimea College, Nelson

The week-long programme includes a visit to the Kodokan Judo Institute — the home of judo. The group will also attend a lecture on health and physical education in Japan at the Nippon Sports Science University. They will meet with Tokyo-based New Zealander Mike Bellingham who will talk about what goes into organising global sporting events such as the RWC. Teachers will also visit Japanese schools and learn how their Japanese counterparts teach sport.

Japan Sports Forum Leesa Bathgate from Asia New Zealand Foundation on Vimeo.

“I feel I have an obligation to help prepare my students to succeed in the 21st century – and Asia will be increasingly relevant to their future,” says Leigh Morgan of Otahuhu College in Auckland. “That’s why it is important to increase their exposure to Asia-related content.”

Wesley College has a strong history in rugby, winning more national titles than any other school in New Zealand.  Ben Hancock of Wesley College in Auckland says that while Japanese sport has many differences to New Zealand sport, there are similarities like our shared passion for rugby.

“It is areas like the approach to preparation that I think would add value to what we do here in New Zealand, and I believe this opportunity to share between the two cultures is one of the most valuable outcomes from this interaction.”

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  1. A 5-6 week Certificate in TESOL (costing around $2,000 and which can be done in the holidays) would give them the same experience. Honestly, these forums/conferences are nothing but glorified holidays!!


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