Many learners of Japanese are interested in current social issues of Japan. Without advanced proficiency, however, reading Japanese newspapers is challenging and time-consuming. As result, learners resort to media in their first language and receive only limited information. Websites such as News Web Easy and NHK News Web Easier summarize selected daily news in short monographs using simple Japanese. Reading support tools such as Reading Tutor and Rikai.com enable those with low proficiency to read any text by making the meaning of each Japanese word available with a pop-up dictionary. What remains missing, however, is comprehensive, yet, easy-to-grasp information on social issues of Japan accessible to learners with intermediate proficiency via Internet. My project, "Social Issues Web Easy" aims to fill in this gap with a collection of e-booklets. The project will be implemented in an Intermediate-Low level Japanese class for graduate students in the School of Global Policy and Strategy. In each quarter, students will create an e-booklet on a selected social issue. The first quarter will focus on the social issue surrounding U.S. military presence in Okinawa. The project's target public audience, purpose, problem it intends to address, and product are summarized in the project square.
Okinawa, an island of Japan consisting only 0.6% of Japan's land area, houses 74 percent of the nation's U.S. military bases. Military-related problems - jet noises, crashes, crime, and environmental degradation - have long been ignored by both countries. Even after 46 years since Okinawa's reversion to Japan and 73 years since the WWII, Okinawans are burdened in the name of national security. The first e-booklet will focus on this long-standing social issue.
This four-to-five week project is designed for a course titled "Intermediate Japanese Language for Professional Proficiency " offered at the University of California San Diego's School of Global Policy and Strategy (graduate school). The course meets twice a week for eighty minutes each. This project is designed for eight-to-nine classes.
Students learn about the issue in Okinawa through a documentary film, reading, individual research, and interviews with activists and ordinary citizens in Okinawa. A college professor in Okinawa who is a specialist in Okinawa politics and have written many books on this very topic will serve as our editor-in-chief and provide guidance as students create their booklet.
Academically, students will engage in sustained inquiry as they move towards their goal of creating a booklet that illustrates the issue comprehensibly and as they work closely with the content specialist (community partner) and hear relevant people's voices in interviews. Students will also gain pragmatic competence though preparations of interviews and email writing. Students will engage in all modes of communication in the National Standards: interpretive (watching a film and video; reading articles); interpersonal (conducting interviews and review sessions); and presentational (writing a book proposal and articles). As for the 21st Century Skills, students cultivate their critical thinking skills (reasoning; making choices; asking significant questions; analyzing and synthesizing information), collaboration skills, and technical skills through their creativework of designing, revising, and finalizing the booklet. The project also sets ESS01.02.02, ESS01.02.04, and ESS01.02.07 of the Career Pathways as goals.
Main activities are as follows:
1. Watch a documentary film
2. Initial learning about the Okinawa issue with lecture, video, and base-reading
3. Learning about the project
4. Individual research and sharing
5. Book proposal
6. Feedback from editor-in-chief (a specialist as a community partner)
7. Interviews and draft-writing
8. Feedback from editor-in-chief (email and video conferencing)
9. Finalize articles and add language support
10. Create a booklet
11. PR of the booklet
List of references can be found here.
Learn "Easy Japanese"
Base "Reading" Activity
Individual Research and Sharing
Booklet Proposal and Preparation for Teleconference
Feedback Session, Interviews, and Booklet Draft
Publication and Dissemination
Assessment of Research Presentation
Assessment of Feedback Sessions
Assessment of Booklet Articles
Assessment of Final Product
Implementation information not specified.