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A Cultural Way to Reward


WRITTEN BY: Brent Badger     ADDED ON: Jul 08,09     EDITED BY: Patrick Bickford



"Genki points" are a stamp-sized picture of monuments, cultural icons, and symbols of your country.  They are given to students as a way to reward them for participating in class and communicating in English.  They are a good way to teach students about your country and to encourage them to continue their English studies.


Every school week, I make four sets of Genki points.  As a Canadian, an example of the images I would use in a school week would be Mounties (R.C.M.P.), Niagara Falls, Avril Leviegne, and a beaver.  I try to make it as specific to Canada as I can.


To make the Genki Points, I go to Google Images and search for the picture I want.  Usually the pictures in the search will be the same size as you will want to make the Genki Points so it’s just a matter of cutting and pasting onto your word processor.  Make as many as you can because they should be given out like confetti.


Be liberal with the Genki Points.  If a student is genki in class give him or her a Genki Point.  Use them for points in your games.  If a student tries to answer a question but fails give the student a Genki Point anyway, call it a Kokoromi Point.  The students love the formal Japanese.  If you get a few students being more Genki in class, others will soon follow.


Don’t stop giving points out in the classroom.  In the hallways and in the school yard, give them out.  Give them out at lunch too!  If the students try to speak to you in English give a Genki Point.  It really works well.  I was so surprised about all the students who were coming up to me and initiating conversations in English.  The one thing I don’t give Genki Points for is if a student directly asks me for a Genki Point.


Genki Points aren’t just a reward system.  They can be used for teaching students about your country.  At the end of the class, give 5 minutes to talk about the Genki Point pictures.  At this point I feel it is OK to use Japanese or to get the JTE to translate. Also, encourage the students to ask questions about the Genki Points or your country.


Students in Japan need to have a motivation to speak English.  On an island nation, it is hard to look outside.  If you make your home country more attainable and bring it closer to your students they may realize they want to visit or become part of the international community.  The students may then understand that English isn’t just a subject in school.  By opening the door just a little and sharing a little bit of your country and culture, it may be enough to motivate your students to study a little harder.  Although it could be that just may want Genki Points to glue on to their notebook.



This page was last modified on Tuesday, March 18, 2014 11:03:35 AM