What are the differences between the IB Programme at Tamagawa Academy and International Schools?
Except for a few schools, students of international schools in Japan cannot qualify for domestic university admission. The Tamagawa Academy IB Programmes are recognized as a Japanese school according to Article 1 of the School Education Law. Since it covers both the curriculum of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and the curriculum of the IB, students can obtain the Japanese high school graduation qualification along with the IB Diploma qualification if they pass the IB Exams. Even if students are unable to chieve the IB Diploma, regularly they achieve the National High School Diploma, in which students are able to apply to both domestic and overseas universities.
Where does the IB Programme fit within Tamagawa Academy’s education system and philosophy?
We believe that the standards and practices of the IB programmes support our school's pedagogical mission. We have great respect and faith in the sound practices offered by the IB student-centred learning frameworks. The IB Programmes also permit our students to access to internationally recognised standards of education while following the Ministry of Education curriculum for grades 6 - 10. It is our sincere wish to see such standards continue in grades 11 and 12 and to this end, we offer the IB Diploma.
Do students need experience in studying in English in order to enrol for the MYP?
Experience in studying in English is not necessary for those seeking to enrol in the MYP at grade 7. Our curriculum and support classes are designed to further English acquisition while maintaining the students' mother tongue.
Are students from International Schools accepted?
Absolutely! It is possible to transfer from International Schools to our programs. However, all applicants should be aware that Tamagawa’s first language is Japanese and two out of four entrance exam subjects are held in Japanese. For those students whose native tongue is not Japanese, we do provide Japanese language classes and support from certified teachers and university students.
Are the MYP hours of classes and the curriculum the same as for students in the Secondary Division?
Tamagawa Academy students in grades 7 to 9 have 6-7classes a day. Some students are required to attend morning support classes in the morning everyday in addition to their regular classes. As we are an Article One school we are legally bound to follow the Japanese National curriculum. Therefore all students engaged in the MYP, although studying in English, follow the Japanese national curriculum.
How are IB students assessed, and how is it reported?
MYP students are assessed using the assessment criteria established by the IB (International Baccalaureate). Final grades are determined based on the achievement levels of each assessment criterion in each subject. The MYP grades are then converted using a conversion scale to align with the Tamagawa Academy grading system.
What do you use as study materials?
The contents of the classes are based on the Education Ministry’s guidelines. Tamagawa Academy purchases study materials and teaching aids which are lent to the students for the duration of the course. Textbooks are distributed free of charge to each student to prepare and review for his/her lessons.
How are non-native speakers of English supported so they do not fall behind in their learning?
For those who have beginner or intermediate English or Japanese abilities, we provide daily supplementary lessons from 7.45 am. Where possible, we place foreign teachers with Japanese ability in grade 7 classes.
How many hours of home study are necessary?
Generally, students within the MYP can expect 2 hours a day. It is important that the students finish their home study and/or assignments by the next class. Such a study provides both a bridge between lessons and a chance for students to reflect/review upon their learning. It is expected that such a review will empower the students to identify areas of difficulty and speak to their teachers about their challenges. Indeed within the MYP framework, it is essential that the students ask questions and solve their problems before the next class. We would also like home study to be a tool that students use to develop their time management skills.
Spending seven years with the same classmates, would it restrict the students’ circle of friends?
While at Tamagawa the students' Home Room is fixed, there are nonetheless many opportunities to interact with the students from outside of the MYP programme through shared programs, clubs, and a host of other activities. Many MYP students who have no problem with their studies are often heavily involved in extracurricular club activities. Our students are part of the Tamagawa student body, not separated from it.
Is it possible to go and study abroad while studying at Tamagawa Academy?
Tamagawa Academy offers a number of international learning opportunities which give students opportunities to study abroad for certain periods of time. As students of Tamagawa, MYP students are eligible for such opportunities.
We do not speak English at home. Would this be an issue?
No. Tamagawa’s MYP Programme is not only for those students who are returnees. Nor is it an immersion class for English such as often offered at International Schools. We aim to offer a bilingual education that values the development of both the mother tongue(Japanese) and the second language(English); We recommend that family members support their children in this endeavor. Annually we hold, as part of our parent forum, meetings that offer ideas and strategies on how parents can best support English language development at home. Contact from school and inquiries to the school and teachers are regularly made in Japanese. Some IB teachers can also speak Japanese. You can of course contact the school and/or teachers in English.
Do parents need to be able to speak English fluently?
Contact from the school and inquiries to the school and teachers are regularly made in both Japanese and English. Some IB teachers can also speak Japanese. You can of course contact the school and/or teachers in English.
Can IB students join club activities?
Yes, they are encouraged to join club activities that are mostly run by Japanese teachers/coaches. The majority of IB students join activities during some point in their studies.
What are the enrolment expectations? Is there an entrance exam?
We provide a variety of enrolment opportunities. Generally, enrolment depends upon the desired year, the time of the year, and the candidate’s previous educational experience. Students must also write an entrance exam and be interviewed by the School Head and members of the IB faculty. Please contact us for more details. Currently, within the MYP programme we have a broad range of students. Some come from Tamagawa Academy, some from local schools, and others are returnees. Our rolling admissions policy has been of great help and comfort to many parents who worry about schooling and their child’s transition as a result of a move. As our students are used to having new classmates join them throughout the year there are little if any issues that new students face.
What subjects compose the entrance examination?
The subjects tested are the same for all grade levels. They are English, Mathematics, Science, and Humanities. While the Mathematics exam can be written in either Japanese or English; Science and Humanities are only in Japanese.
If the content of the Science and Humanities exam differs from that offered at my child’s current school, would that be problematic?
We seek to understand how the child applies their knowledge in Science and Humanities as thinking disciplines, rather than measuring how much knowledge they have memorized. The aim is to uncover how the child articulates and applies their knowledge in problem-solving. For example, within Science, the candidate will examine experimental data, graph it and then analyze the data. For Humanities, the candidate produces an essay relating to a particular world event and explains how they personally believe this event is related to the world and the challenges it faces.
Can we observe lessons before enrolling?
We recommend you visit the school before enrolling. It is essential for the candidate to observe the school as the MYP is a unique learning environment. Please let us know when you would like to visit and we can make the necessary arrangements. If you currently live abroad, please visit us when you come back to Japan. Other family members and friends within Japan are also welcome to visit.
Can students transfer from another school?
Transfer examinations are conducted twice a year - in February for April admission and in July for September admission. We also hold rolling entrance examinations that are conducted on demand, for students returning from abroad or within Japan due to a family's relocation. Please consult us in advance when applying.
Is this programme solely designed for the returnee children?
No. While the MYP does not specifically identify returnees it nonetheless does often match and support what such children have experienced abroad. However, the MYP also seeks to provide those students within Japan with an internationally recognized framework of education.
We currently live abroad and are not studying Japanese at school. Would this be a problem?
There are quite a few students from abroad who have been studying in local schools, and/or International Schools. It is common that such students’ Japanese ability is not on par with their national counterparts. The Tamagawa Academy MYP offers supplementary lessons in Japanese language development. We also provide a support system for those who are either not confident with or have limited exposure to, the Japanese language.
We are not able to come back to Japan in time for the Japanese enrolment period. Would this be a problem?
As noted previously we offer ‘Rolling Admission’ for those currently living abroad. We will arrange entrance examinations and interviews at a time convenient to you. Please let us know when you wish to start and we will arrange the necessary details.