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Takeo Morimo

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Chuo University takes action to cultivate global professionals
―Students studying in the SEND Program―

Takeo Morimo
Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, Multicultural Education, and Education for International Understanding, Faculty of Letters, Chuo University

1. Selection for the Project for the Promotion of Global Human Resource Development

Chuo University was selected for the MEXT's 2012 Project for the Promotion of Global Human Resource Development (Type A: University-Wide Promotion). According to the MEXT, the project provides intensive financial support for developing systems aimed at globalizing university education. The ultimate goal is to cultivate young professionals capable of embracing challenges and taking action in the global arena, thus forming a foundation for increasing Japan's industrial competitiveness and strengthening relations among nations, as well as helping younger generations to overcome their introverted mindset. The University-Wide Promotion type refers to integrated actions throughout a university for achieving the goals stated above.

Upon being selected for the project, Chuo University established the following 3 types of global professionals which our school seeks to develop.

①Global Generalist (GG):
This individual has acquired a broad range of liberal education and communication skills. A Global Generalist can use multiple languages to work together with people of differing cultural backgrounds. In addition to his or her native country, the individual understands the history and culture of other countries. The individual adapts appropriately to different values.
②Global Leader (GL):
This individual has acquired cross-cultural and multi-cultural understanding, as well as high-level communication skills in foreign languages. A Global Leader can achieve balance and make proposals while working with members from different cultural backgrounds. The individual utilizes diversity to lead emergence and create a synergistic effect.
③Global Specialist (GS):
This individual has acquired communication skills in foreign languages for specialized fields. A Global Specialist can position expert knowledge within overall social systems. The individual possesses logical thinking ability and is capable of creating new value.

Currently, our entire university is taking the following actions to cultivate the professionals described above: 1) Projects directed at students. Examples include establishing intensive TOEIC/TOEFL courses and other programs for increasing English language proficiency, developing an environment for implementing a variety of new foreign study programs and for promoting foreign study, and developing curriculums, educational materials, educational methods and assessment methods required for foreign language education to study global specialized courses and for using foreign language to study specialized courses unique to Japan (Japanese law, Japanese history, etc.). 2) Projects directed at faculty. Examples include improving FD/SD activities by reflecting the results of information-gathering related to the cultivation of global professionals through interaction with affiliated overseas schools, international academic groups, and corporations, and holding training to acquire skills for conducting classes in foreign languages. 3) Development of facilities for a global environment. Examples include opening of a Global Lounge which holds international events for exchanges between foreign students and Japanese students, as well as creating global space in each faculty.

2. Actions of the SEND Program

Another action is the Chuo University SEND Program (Japanese language education), a new foreign study program headed by the Faculty of Letters. SEND, which stands for "Student Exchange: Nippon Discovery," began from 2012 and applies to students in all faculties. According to the MEXT, the aim of SEND is for Japanese students who study abroad to learn a different language and culture, and, in exchange, to assist in teaching the Japanese language and introducing Japanese culture at local schools, thus promoting cross-cultural understanding, while training them to become experts who can build cultural bridges between Japan and other countries. The Chuo University SEND Program conforms to the effort, goals and content set by the MEXT, but also places particular emphasis on Japanese language education.

The Chuo University Send Program is composed of the following 4 stages, including 2 overseas experiences. (The following example assumes that the program is started from 2012.)

State 1 (2012; second term)
Take fundamental subjects at Chuo University.
Stage 2 (2013; 4 weeks in February and March)
Take specialized subjects in Japanese language education at the Institute of International Education in London (hereinafter referred to as IIEL).
Stage 3 (2013; first term)
At Chuo University, take subjects required to conduct Japanese language education and education for cross-cultural understanding.
Stage 4 (2013; August to September)
At partner institutions of Chuo University, conduct Japanese language education and introduction of Japanese culture as a Japanese language teaching assistant.

In 2012, a screening was held to select 32 students for the SEND Program. These students have continued their studies and have currently entered Stage 3.

The first foreign study experience for these students was participation in a one-month intensive Japanese language training program held at IIEL from February 25th to March 22nd, 2013. Based in London, IIEL is an international education institution which has trained Japanese language instructors for more than 20 years. While participating in homestays, students took classes in Japanese language teaching methods, basic linguistics and other Japanese language education subjects as part of the IQ-Professional/Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language program at IIEL. They also took classes in British research for Japanese language instructors, including conducting fieldwork for Japan within London.

3. Utilizing "manaba folio" to reflect on studies

A major feature of studies in the Chuo University SEND Program is the utilization of manaba folio, a new learning management system (LMS) which is provided via a cloud service. Manaba folio is used to accumulate themes assigned through the program and experiences gained through foreign study. Students use manaba folio to accumulate daily learning experience, reflect on their own learning and share their learning with other students. This creates a broader learning effect. When looking at manaba folio during the period of foreign study at IIEL, it can be seen that students shared teaching plans and teaching materials used in practical teaching exercises.

Let's take a look at a few examples of how students reflected on their daily studies at IIEL and wrote their impressions in manaba folio. (Author listed in parenthesis.)

"I was nervous (for practical teaching exercises). The materials which I had at hand were a mess. However, once I stood at the front of the class, my nervousness disappeared. I don't know why, but I felt calm and assured. Several days after teaching class, I heard the following: One of my students was a woman named Jean, the host mother of a girl I will refer to as Y. After class was over, Jean told Y that the final lesson of the day taught by the young man with the beard was fun and educational from start to finish. Upon hearing Jean's comment, I was so happy that I almost cried. From that day forward, I decided to reflect upon my teaching in order to grow and improve." (3rd-year male student in the Faculty of Letters)

"Today was the graduation ceremony at IIEL. One month has already passed since we all entered the classroom and each one of us gave a formal speech—but it seems like just yesterday. However, all of us have changed greatly. Compared to before, everyone's voice and expression have become much stronger, more powerful and cheerful. It's easy to see that everyone is glad that they participated in the program. Although I can't tell myself whether I have changed, I hope that I have. My practical teaching exercises never went as smoothly as I had hoped and I have many regrets. I can't believe that I was able to make it through all my classes in such a state. I have spent my whole life running away from challenges, so it was extremely stimulating to be in an environment where I couldn't run away. The environment has also enabled me to give priority to matters other than myself." (2nd-year female student in the Faculty of Letters)

"Today was the last day of my time at IIEL. About one month ago, I declared that I would study as hard as possible. However, at that time, I never imagined the fulfillment and sense of achievement that I feel now. For about one month, I enjoyed developing an understanding for the essence of learning. I analyzed Japanese language by exchanging opinions with other trainees and developed classes which would satisfy my students. Instead of engaging in deskwork, I learned through interaction with other trainees and my students. It was a wonderful experience for me. Dr. Zushi (Principal of IIEL) introduced me to the phrase 'You are what you eat.' This phrase truly sums up my experience at IIEL. My experiences in London will form my future self." (2nd-year male student in the Faculty of Letters)

Mark Gerzon is Founder and Vice-President for Projects at Mediators Foundation. He has started numerous projects that have advanced the field of global citizenship. Recently, Gerzon works as a leadership consultant and United Nations mediator. According to Gerzon, the 4 abilities required of global professionals are the ability to face matters squarely, the ability to learn, the ability to form partnerships, and the ability to engage in mutual help and cooperation. (From Sekai de Ikiru Chikara—Jibun wo Honto ni Gurobaru-ka suru Yotsu no Chikara (original title: Global Citizens—How our vision of the world is outdated, and what we can do about it) translated by Yutaka Matsumoto, Eiji Press Inc., 2010.) When reading the manaba folios of students, we can see the seedlings of these abilities, including the ability to learn and the ability to engage in mutual help and cooperation.

Practical teaching exercises at IIEL

Group photograph at IIEL graduation ceremony

4. Possibility of Japanese language education as soft power

On March 30th, after SEND students had returned to Japan from London, I took graduate seminar students to the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) in Johor Bahru. UTM is the site for practical teaching exercises performed in Stage 4 of the program. Our goal was to use a remote class system to connect the Chuo University Tama Campus and the UTM Johor Bahru Campus, and then to hold a demonstration class for introducing Japanese culture based on the comic book One Piece in Japanese language class at UTM. The class was taught by a seminar student referred to as T, who currently serves as a part-time instructor of social studies at an international secondary school attached to a national university. I was surprised that almost all of the participating Malaysian students were familiar with One Piece. Students from both countries engaged in earnest dialogue and exchange, using Japanese and English to compare their own values and emotions with those of Japanese people as seen in One Piece.

Television class with Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

Today, much attention is being given to Japan's decreased presence in the global economy. It has been pointed out that a decreasing number of people are learning the Japanese language overseas. Amidst such international conditions, the Japanese government is currently implementing a Cool Japan strategy for spreading pop culture including comics, animation and fashion to overseas. On March 26th, as part of this soft power strategy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan held the first meeting of the Advisory Panel for Promoting the Spread of Japanese Language Overseas. The council will prepare an intermediate report by this summer. As of 2009, the number of people studying the Japanese language overseas was approximately 3,650,000 (according to a survey by The Japan Foundation). The Japanese government aims to increase this number to 5,000,000 by 2020.

In the context of this goal, I expect great things from students who have participated in the SEND program. Chuo University has just started to recruit students for the 2013 SEND program.

Takeo Morimo
Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, Multicultural Education, and Education for International Understanding, Faculty of Letters, Chuo University
Born in Takayama, Gifu Prefecture in 1951.
Completed the Doctoral Program in Education, Graduate School of University of Tsukuba. Served as an assistant professor at Musashino Academia Musicae, associate professor in the Faculty of Education, Ibaraki University, and as an associate professor and a professor at Tokyo Gakugei University before becoming a professor in the Faculty of Letters, Chuo University in 2000. Recently, conducts research on curriculum development and course planning which incorporate multicultural education and education for international understanding at schools. His recent major written works include Japanese American Studies in Schools and Museums: Connecting Global Education and Multicultural Education (co-written and co-edited; Akashi Shoten), Creating Education for International Understanding at Schools and Museums: Toward a New Design of Learning (co-written and co-edited; Akashi Shoten), Narrating Pearl Harbor: History, Memory and Education (co-written and co-edited; University of Tokyo Press), Is Multiculturalism Possible?: Challenges in Education (co-written; Keiso Shobo).