Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Learning across cultures

I am a grade one educator. In 2003 my school nominated me for the National Teaching Awards and I won the category of Excellence in Early Childhood Development (ECD) at provincial level.

The following year the national department of education nominated me to take part in the Youth Invitation Programme held in Japan for a month – from September to October 2004. The news was too good to be true. It was not until I boarded a Japan-bound plane that I realised I was not in dreamland.

When I arrived in Japan I met teachers from other parts of the world, but was particularly glad to interact with those from my own continent.

They came from countries such as Kenya, Ghana, Malawi, Botswana, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Tanzania. It was an enriching experience for me and I learned a lot from engaging with them.

In Japan we studied the country’s education system by visiting kindergartens, primary and secondary schools and colleges and universities. We observed their teaching methods, techniques and approaches, classroom organisation and management.

Our visit was not only confined to educational institutions. Each one of us stayed with a Japanese family for one week to observe and understand their lifestyles and their language. It was a wonderful experience to represent my country abroad and to participate in such an insightful programme.

I owe this to the department of education for acknowledging and recognising committed and dedicated teachers through the inspiring initiative of the National Teaching Awards. I applaud them for sending me on such a worthwhile journey.

It made me realise that hard work and commitment pay. Since the trip I have felt energised and motivated to work even harder.

To all educators out there, let us continue to commit ourselves to the service of our learners and communities.

Together we can make a difference. I would also like to thank God for all the achievements because it is by His grace and mercy that I was able to be among those who made the trip. Arigato (Thank you very much in Japanese).

Matlale Reshoketsoe Leshilo is a grade one teacher at Bogalatladi Primary School in Atok, Limpopo

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

R270m ‘housing heist’ bid deprives people of decent homes

After alleged attempts to loot Eastern Cape housing funds, 39 200 people in the province will continue to live in atrocious conditions

Cabinet reshuffle not on cards yet

There are calls for the president to act against ministers said to be responsible for the state’s slow response to the unrest, but his hands are tied

More top stories

R270m ‘housing heist’ bid deprives people of decent homes

After alleged attempts to loot Eastern Cape housing funds, 39 200 people in the province will continue to live in atrocious conditions

Stolen ammo poses security threat amid failure to protect high-risk...

A Durban depot container with 1.5-million rounds of ammunition may have been targeted, as others in the vicinity were left untouched, say security sources

Sierra Leoneans want a share of mining profits, or they...

The arrival of a Chinese gold mining company in Kono, a diamond-rich district in the east of Sierra Leone, had a devastating impact on the local community, cutting its water supply and threatening farmers’ livelihoods – and their attempts to seek justice have been frustrated at every turn

IEC to ask the courts to postpone local elections

The chairperson of the Electoral Commission of South Africa said the Moseneke inquiry found that the elections would not be free and fair if held in October

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…