Kiwi kids making online connections with Asia

Kiwi kids are connecting with their cohorts in Japan and South Korea and learning to become global citizens thanks to an online programme co-founded by entrepreneur and Leadership Network member Brittany Teei.
Brittany Teei

Brittany: "Making global connections and making friends is a gift that not everyone has the chance to develop..."

Learn English Live creates and facilitates bespoke programmes for schools and classrooms and connects them via video platform to classrooms in Asia, and elsewhere in the world.

It’s about making connections and new friends, Brittany says.

“Supporting young people to build global awareness and learn about other cultures is such an exciting and fun way to create learning experiences. 

“Making global connections and making friends is a gift that not everyone has the chance to develop, so Learn English Live creates equitable opportunities for our young kids to do this.”

Raumati Beach School teacher and Foundation Champion Natalie Stone recently connected her class with Kamiechi Primary School in rural Japan via Learn English Live and plans to connect with a South Korean class next term.

Prior to the online connection, which was facilitated by a speaker of English and Japanese, Natalie’s class learnt about Kamiechi School and the region in which it is located. 

Over the hour they were connected, the two classes talked with each other about family, hobbies and their respective cultures, including the Raumati students providing a history of Māori weaving and a demonstration of how make a basic mat (whāriki) out of paper.  The activities fed into the Raumati students’ inquiry for the term looking at identity and what makes them unique.

Natalie says learning about the lives of students from another country, “helped the students recognise what makes up their own identity, to see another way of life, another perspective, and respect other viewpoints.” 

Connecting with students from other countries gives young people a chance to learn about other cultures, be proud of being kiwi and build global citizenship skills and awareness, Brittany says.

“Then there’s the intrinsic and internal rewards like growing their confidence, pride in Aotearoa, and digital literacy”, she says.

She notes that the learning doesn’t stop with the kids but tends to extend beyond the classroom.

“We have seen and heard so many cool stories about families learning together in preparation for the lessons coming up, children teaching their families about Asia and what they've been learning, and the stories go on really!”

Two boys looking at a laptop with a banner saying 'Fulfilled behind them

Tauranga Boys’ College teacher Andrew Corney was another Foundation Champion to utilise the LEL programme - connecting his Year 10 students with a class at Mutsu’ai-higashi Junior High School in Japan

The Foundation’s director education Sean O’Connor says early interactions with an Asian culture can be the spark that ignites a lifelong journey of learning.

He says knowledge of Asia and Asian cultures will be incredibly valuable in the toolbelts of New Zealand students.

“Asia is playing an increasingly important role in the lives of New Zealanders and knowledge of Asia, it’s languages and cultures, is something that employers are seeking. 

“And beyond that, learning about Asia greatly enriches students’ lives and expands their horizons.”