I participated in a Japanese Language Education Seminar organized by JICA for their volunteers in Jordan as a lecturer on 24th and 25th June 2014.
The theme was “Cooperation between Teachers – Native and Non-native Teachers”. On the first day I gave a 90 minute lecture, followed by two rounds of group discussions incorporating affinity diagrams.
When native (Japanese) and non-native (non-Japanese) teachers work together on starting up courses and Japanese language departments (in universities for example), native veteran teachers usually take the initiative and guide the inexperienced non-native teachers. And it is also common for non-native teachers to be in charge of teaching grammar and reading after acquiring some knowledge and experience, and for native teachers to teach conversation and composition.
However, is this the best way for each teacher to reach self-dependence and grow as a teacher of the Japanese language? It might be possible to form a relationship where both native and non-native teachers can grow and develop by being in charge of classrooms without that role division. That is to say, I proposed the cooperation between native and non-native teachers in my lecture.
In the first day’s group discussion, many issues were discussed such as “how to deal with native teachers who will be leaving in one or two years”, “cooperation between native and non-native teachers from the point of view of administrators”, “the necessity of native teachers” and “what to do to overcome students’ sense of disappointment once they know their teacher is a non-native”.
On the second day, in the group discussion native teachers in institutions with non-native teachers who are still considered inexperienced discussed “the journey of non-native teachers from employment to development” and “what can be done to develop the teaching skills of non-native teachers”. On the other hand, experienced non-native teachers discussed “cooperation between native and non-native teachers in cultural experiences and extracurricular activities” and “what can be done to enhance cooperation between native and non-native teachers”.
Furthermore, on the morning of the second day we had an opportunity to attend lectures at the Japanese Language Department in the University of Jordan, and we had several discussions there as well. We discussed topics such as “should essays be written by hand or typed on computer keyboards” and “how to make use of the 15 to 30 computers available in the Department”.
I consider it a very useful and interesting seminar as I had the chance to listen to the interesting opinions of all participants.
I would like to present my gratitude to the staff at JICA for this seminar.
Japanese Language Advisor
The Japan Foundation Cairo Office