Professor Tosaku wrote in his lecture titled Language Education for the Global Era, “Language education is not only swayed by the leading contemporary theory of language education, but also its content and goals have been greatly influenced by the needs of the particular era. Moreover, both educational theories and learning methodologies of language learning have been facing constant changes with time.
Worldwide globalization made us aware that for both heritage language and foreign language speakers, the required knowledge, ability and skills/nature for using languages are changing. For meeting societal needs, different types of curricula, lesson plans, and evaluations from the traditional ones have been adopted to meet the needs of the diversified learners.” (Translation by MIRomaine)
Reiko invited me to work with this online entry-level Japanese class for a mixture of college and high-school students for our Course final project. Our goals are for students to:
- acquire basic communication skills in Japanese language through using the technology.
- increase their awareness of cultural understanding through research and comparison,
- advance their study skills for success in learning
What is a greeting?
What is unique about the concept of Japanese greetings?
What is the importance of body language in language learning?
What is reflective writing?
Nets teachers standards:
Two Design and Develop digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments.
a. Design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity.
Standard 4.2: Students demonstrate understanding of the concept of culture through comparisons of the cultures studied and their own culture.
Make self-introduction video to appeal to future host family in Japan.
There are various sides of learning:
Japanese language and culture:
- Understanding of how, when, with whom, which Japanese greetings should be exchanged.
- Choose proper sentences and contents to make one’s personal introduction appealing to a host family.
- Mastery of body language use.
Meaning of the contents:
- Creating an authentic situation where Japanese conversation greetings are exchanged.
- In American Culture, students found similar choices on greetings.
- Way to make the self-introduction interesting, so that the listeners will respond.
- Voice Thread: recording and sharing
- Vimeo: recording and sharing
- Youtube: recording and sharing
- Blackboard program: given
- Drop box (for simultaneous grading)
- Evernote (for simultaneous grading)
Some samples of Students work:
comments: She was just translating one scene of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ on her first attempt, so we discussed the awkwardness of Prince Aurora even speaking Japanese to the Prince!! For the revised version she crested the scene Princes study for her Japanese test with Prince.
comments: The consideration needs to be given for the choice of situation. Needs to speak with clarity and volume.
comments:He was disguised as James Bond, we allowed them to be somebody else and make sure that they give made-up personal information as long as they followed our instruction correctly.
Here is what I recommend:
Emphasize the following: (They are not Japanese language learning specific.)
- Read the required tasks in class, promote good discussion
- Show them a sample work of average grade. (We made our sample video to be about 4 out of 5 in our rubric, with 5 being excellent.)
- Encourage or assign to teacher’s office hours for checking the pronunciation, vocabulary and delivery.
- If the students are familiar, introduce them how to write their reflection. We have hardly received insightful reflections. (Reflection 101)
- Giving feedback to each other also needs coaching.
As I wrote in my interim report, we found many unexpected obstacles in giving online classes. We could not watch the VoiceThreads in class and thus students have to watch them as homework. However, I found that giving effective instruction is the key to success in teaching on-line just as it is in class.
Also more than in a classroom situation, on-line class assignments requiring somewhat repetitive tasks, building on previous learning, seem to give students the satisfaction and enjoyment of learning in both language and technology..
Introduction of the VoiceThread and Vimeo was well taken. It was easy for the students to get feedback on each other’s work and since the feedback was recorded it became a part of their project work. I will continue to use VoiceThread and Vimeo.
It is clear that students are expected to gain life skills through foreign language classes such as promoting products or introducing items to customers, while they are developing their cognitive skills; including research skills, cultural awareness, reflective writing and forming questions, to name a few. Especially in foreign language education, use of technology enhances the creation of authentic leaning situations.
We are now on to the next project where they are producing a promotional 5 min video to show their lunch choices as a restaurant owner.