by Amanda Rollins, Japanese Language Program Coordinator
Greetings educators! The Spring 2014 volume of ACTFL’s Foreign Language Annals was published last month with an article titled “Elementary School Foreign Language Teaching: Lessons Learned Over Three Decades 1980-2010)” by Nancy C. Rhodes. This article is a must-read for anyone curious about advocating for foreign language programs in elementary schools and the lessons apply to all levels of education. For example, here’s a gem from the interview with Madeline Ehrlich, Advocates for Language Learning founder: “We’re educating parents, administrators, and other teachers in the district. It’s nonstop…You have to have an ongoing [immersion] committee for the district.” Have you considered starting up a committee to support your Japanese program by raising awareness of its value? ACTFL members can access the online journal for free here. Keep an eye on the Japanese Language Education Update section of Breeze for more advocacy tips!
In other news, the Teachers of Japanese in Southern California (TJSC) held their Spring Workshop at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks. TJSC holds two popular workshops every year. Members are treated to two lectures in the morning, a bento lunch break, and then a hands-on group discussion period which is connected to the lecturers’ themes. This month, Dr. Setsue Shibata of California State University, Fullerton spoke about cerebral neurology and the connections between memory and speaking, especially as it relates to the mechanism of learning Japanese. Dr. Asako Hayashi-Takakura gave a spirited lecture on the best time to begin bilingual education for children.
Going to these workshops and networking with other Japanese language teachers is another kind of advocacy. Keep up the good work, educators!