by Amanda Rollins, Japanese Language Program Coordinator
We recently conducted a voluntary survey of Japanese language teachers around the country asking them why and how they promote their Japanese programs. Exactly 200 teachers completed the survey, thanks to the many teachers associations which spread the word.
For the question, “In your individual situation, why do you do advocacy?” (multiple answers allowed), 89% answered “To increase enrollment,” 83% answered, “To inspire people to be interested in Japan,” 72% answered, “To build a community of support for the Japanese program,” and 65% answered, “To persuade my school administration of the value of the Japanese program.” Less popular answers included: “To enrich the content of my classes” (33%), “To increase the quantity and quality of my teaching materials” (20%), and “To develop my own teaching skill” (15%). Several “Other” section answers included fundraising, community outreach, and student personal growth.
When we asked respondents if they have ever tried holding Japan-related events, 43% of teachers responded that they do it regularly, half said that they had tried it once or several times, and only 7% said that they had never held a Japan-related event.
“Make/distribute flyers for Japanese program events” and “Make/distribute brochures about Japanese/Japanese language programs” had fairly similar results, making Japan-related events and the distribution of flyers and brochures the most popular advocacy activities among Japanese language teachers.
Less popular advocacy activities include contributing to a school newspaper (done regularly by 13% of teachers, while 33% have never tried it), sending out press releases to local media (9% do it regularly, 47% have never tried it), and maintaining a social media site (24% do it regularly, and 54% have never tried it).
When it comes to holding presentations at Open House events for parents, about one third do it regularly, one third have never tried it, and the remaining third is made up of teachers who have only tried it once or several times, or who answered “not applicable.” As for visiting feeder schools (schools one educational tier below your own, whose students presumably will go to your school in the future), half of the respondents state that they have never tried it and 10% do it regularly. However, it is important to note that quite a few respondents mentioned that due to school rules, they are not allowed to visit feeder schools in their district.
In response to an open-ended question asking which advocacy activity teachers found the most effective, most respondents mentioned events, Open Houses, and feeder school visits.
These survey results are already helping JFLA decide how to direct our future advocacy efforts. Thanks to everyone who participated!