The 11th Annual NEAR Language Education Conference was co-hosted by JALT Niigata and the JALT GILE SIG on June 1st, 2019. The conference theme was Teaching and Learning in Local Contexts.
Criteria for Curriculum Design in a Global Context
Tim Grose Global Issues in Language Education SIG
A quick glance at MEXT’s homepage can leave no doubt concerning Japan’s enthusiasm for global education programs. MEXT (2019) commends, “ (d)esigning a global language education curriculum (that) presupposes a need for a world outlook that extends beyond local borders…(and)… it is necessary to develop people who can act independently with a global point of view in a society that is becoming more international.” These views are consistent with various international institutions, such as UNESCO’s Global Citizenship Education Program (2019), which emphasizes that the topics contained in global issues classroom, “are global, not local”, and that students should become, “active promoters of more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, secure and sustainable societies.”
Teachers face the challenge of how to translate these principles into a coherent and pedagogically valid classroom environment. Clark (1987) posits three main criteria for consideration when designing such a language curriculum. These are Classical Humanism, Reconstructionism, and Progressivism, which allow students to move from a passive classroom environment to one of reflection, creativity, and involvement. Using such principles as pedagogical building blocks, it is possible to design appropriate, content-based syllabi that meet the requirements of the Japanese government and the international community. Such programs begin with language tasks related to enhancing students knowledge of the world, their place in it, and the sense of connectedness between the two (joining our ‘local context’ with a ‘global one’). From this starting point, introducing a variety of language tasks that promote empathy, tolerance, and activism can allow students to become fully articulate members of the international community.
GILE Special Workshop
Creating Teaching Materials for Tourism
Facilitating the study of tourism from anthropological perspectives brings many benefits to language students in Japan. The Japanese government, along with many others, is promoting tourism as a panacea for many cultural and environmental ills: habitat destruction, an increase in endangered species, youth migrating into large cities from the countryside, dwindling populations in rural communities, and the loss of cultural traditions. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), “Today, the business volume of tourism equals or even surpasses that of oil exports, food products or automobiles. Tourism has become one of the major players in international commerce and represents at the same time one of the main income sources for many developing countries.” The positive and negative effects of tourism on societies and the natural environment are immense. Eco-tourism is one of the fastest growing market niches within the tourism industry (Buckley 2000). The Japanese promotion of tourism is touching the lives of English students in many ways. Numerous students hope to find employment connected with tourism. Language for tourism purposes can stretch from simple hotel-reservation dialogs to analyzing the validity of tours marketed as eco-friendly to considering whether tourism ameliorates or deteriorates local cultures. The workshop aims to improve teachers’ skills and confidence regarding creating teaching materials that focus on tourism as an important social and global issue. Facilitating critical thinking with realia (tourism websites, newspaper articles, videos, etc.) will be covered. Participants will create language teaching activities and materials with realia during the workshop.