by Amanda Rollins, Japanese Language Program Coordinator
To reach out to Japanese language teachers from around the country, JFLA went in force to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Annual Convention and World Language Expo 2014. It was held in beautiful San Antonio, Texas from November 21st to the 23rd.
More than 200 Japanese language teachers attended the event – we know this because we ran out of goodie bags at the booth! Every year, the Exhibit Hall features a special area for Japan-related booths called the “Japan Pavilion.” New faces and old friends dropped by to network, scope out teaching materials, and ask about resources.
The Leadership Workshop co-organized by JFLA and the American Association of Teachers of Japanese (AATJ) was a huge success. 24 representatives from AATJ’s 24 affiliates, chosen by their teachers’ associations for their potential to become future leaders of the field, attended this year’s conference and participated in a variety of sessions together. They discussed the challenges Japanese language education faces in their regions and creative solutions for overcoming them. Everyone came away with a refreshed feeling and the motivation to keep working hard to strengthen the state of Japanese language education in America.
Program coordinator Amanda Rollins presented the debut of JFLA’s new advocacy website SPEAKJAPAN to an enthusiastic group of teachers, just in time for Fall 2015 class selection season. Want to know why you should study Japanese? Check out SPEAKJAPAN for a list of exciting reasons. Also, you’ll find that we’ve redesigned our Language Education page to be easier to navigate, and added a new useful page for teachers: Real Advocacy Stories. Check it out for advocacy ideas!
Other highlights from the conference include:
A series of videos featuring Japanese-language team-teaching, led by participants in JFLA’s own Japanese-Language Education Assistant Program (J-LEAP). The videos showed the audience exactly how two teachers can teach almost entirely in Japanese from the very first day. Applications are available now for schools interested in hosting a native-speaking assistant teacher.
Mieko Avello (Florida International University) and Kazue Masuyama (California State University, Sacramento) treated us to an energizing presentation, “Osu! The Ouendan: Ultimate Collobration, Motivation, and Advocacy.” They described an amazing collaborative class in which students developed an “ouendan (応援団)” cheer group by working with art and band students. The audience all got up and did some encouraging cheers for Japanese language!