The Pearson ELT Teacher Award was launched to celebrate dedicated and innovative teachers around the world. Read on to find out more about the winner for the Asia & Oceania region, Koki Shimazu, from Japan.

When teacher Koki Shimazu saw that there were few opportunities for Japanese students to speak English, he created the Hakunetsu English camps.

He says: “Japanese students have no idea what it is like to go abroad and speak English with foreign people. Most of the kids do not want to go abroad because they lack the confidence, English ability and information, which is why I decided to hold English camps around Japan.

“The camps create an environment where students learn to expand their horizons by exploring new topics and global issues.”

Before the high school pupils attend one of the camps, Koki provides them with a video of students from Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and University College London speaking about the subjects they are learning in English. This helps to inspire and motivate them to communicate more in English.

“The video features the students speaking, in English, about the subject they are learning at university – it also includes questions that I have added and links to websites teaching English vocabulary. This means that students are fully prepared for the camp and are learning English, as well as interesting information about the subjects that global students are talking about.”

At the camp, learners speak to the global students in English while they learn and have fun with physical activities. The subjects covered range from philosophy to LGBT issues, and the conversations help the students to gain confidence in the four skill areas: reading, writing, listening and speaking.

Meet an award winner: Koki Shimazu 2

How the English camp helps learners

Koki says: “By providing Japanese students with the opportunity to spend time with global university students, they can expand their horizons and challenge themselves. The videos they watch on a daily basis exposes them to authentic English and helps them appreciate the benefits of learning English in this increasingly interconnected society.”

One student who attended the camp said: “We ended up talking way into the night and I could feel my English brain developing in ways it doesn’t usually get to.”

The workshops also help the students to collaborate, build their leadership skills and think creatively. “I definitely managed to grow,” says one learner.

What the judges thought

The judges of the Pearson ELT Teacher Award were looking for outstanding teachers who are dedicated to making a real difference and striving to help their learners in new ways every day.

They thought that Koki’s English camps were an innovative way of solving a common problem and showed his determination and enthusiasm for teaching English.

You can find out more about Koki’s English camps by watching this video:

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