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Sensei-tional – Japanese Teacher wins teacher of the year award

The Japan Foundation is delighted to confirm that Crispin Chambers, who teaches Japanese at Tavistock College in Devon, has won the award for Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School at the Pearson National Teaching awards ceremony held in London. His large group of supporters cheered loudly and even shouted “konnichiwa sensei” in unison as he collected his award.

Crispin learnt to speak Japanese when he took part in the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme, teaching English on Awaji Island for 2 years and then became JET programme co-ordinator for a year for the Japanese government at in Tokyo. After returning to the UK, Crispin gained an MA in Japanese at Sheffield University followed by a PGCE at Nottingham University. He has been teaching Japanese and French at Tavistock since 1996, and has trained several other teachers of Japanese. His lessons are inspiring and fun, and were described by the Teaching Awards judges as "a joy to watch".

As he collected his award, Crispin was asked why he thought his students do so well learning Japanese. He responded with several reasons:

  • Japanese has a strong visual impact, so those students that like art are good at Japanese

  • It is one of the most simple languages to study from a grammatical point of view, so students that like maths and science are normally good at Japanese

  • It is good to see pupils with various learning disabilities succeed in Japanese, and his dyslexic pupils have done well

Crispin finished by saying that Japanese was his passion and that he is just happy to be able to share it with the thousands of pupils that he has taught.

You can see Crispin receive his award on Britain’s Classroom Heroes here. The programme will be available on the BBC iplayer until the 3rd of November 2013.  You can learn more about Crispin’s fantastic Japanese lessons in our case study about the school click here or here  to read it.