On March 19, 2009, Japanese-language faculty attended a workshop designed to incorporate speaking competence into language curricula. Dina R. Yoshimi, associate professor of Japanese at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa, and Izumi Matsuda, Japanese-language instructor at the University of Washington, led a workshop on the foundations of JFL (Japanese as a foreign language) pragmatics and the usage of wiki collaborative webspaces to create more realistic and productive learning environments.
The day began with Yoshimi’s presentation of the foundations of JFL Pragmatics instruction: a) how to raise student awareness of pragmatics; b) explanation of pedagogical methodology, c) designing effective communicative practice activities, d) productive feedback for students, and e) evaluation. She introduced general pedagogical principles for incorporating pragmatics into JFL instruction at all levels, providing suggestions for "best practices" in each area. Participants had the opportunity to apply what they had learned by developing an activity and instructional resources to incorporate pragmatics into a course they teach.
Later in the day, Matsuda presented her use of wikis in teaching advanced Japanese. Her presentation was a direct followup to last year’s pedagogy workshop by Richard Korb, senior lecturer and German language program director of Columbia University. Korb introduced the use of wikis or advanced language teaching, including examples of how this technology be productively applied in foreign language teaching. Matsuda showed us what fourth-year Japanese language students in her four-skills course achieved and how using wikis supported their progress over the year. In particular, Matsuda has found wikis to promote learners’ creative language use while building a more broadly interactive language-learning community among her students.
The workshop was supported by an East Asia Center grant, and co-sponsored by the Japan Studies program and the Department of Asian Languages and Literature. Over thirty participants, including UW Japanese-language instructors and professors and local and out-of-state high school and college faculty, attended the workshop.