Nintendo is banned everywhere but the classroom at Tokyo Joshi Gakuen school in Japan as the ubiquitous DS consoles become the latest tool in English instruction. Junior high school teacher Motoko Okubo has used the handheld DS and textbook software since May in weekly sessions focusing on vocabulary, penmanship and audio comprehension. "They've been using it at home playing games, so at first they were surprised they can use it at school," Okubo said.
Still early in a one-year free trial period, vice principal Junko Tatsumi says results so far have been encouraging in Japan's long struggle with English language education. "The students are really concentrating and have fun in gaining skills such as spelling," she said. Japan's education ministry leaves decisions on teaching tools to schools, but if up to first-year student Kanako Takahashi, the DS would be a no-brainer. "It's fun and helps me remember English," says the 13-year old.
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