Posted by debito on September 8th, 2008
Hi Blog. Just a quick word tonight, since I have to prepare for tomorrow’s classes.
I just wanted to write that I’m having a phenomenal experience at Nagoya University at the moment teaching an intensive course on media professionality and responsibility. (This is the first time I’m teaching this course, from scratch, with lots of powerpoint slides.)
I have two Japanese, two Chinese, and a Mongolian student attending. All of them are sharp, interested, engaging, and so lively in discussion that I have trouble sometimes getting a word in to steer the lesson back to the current point! (That alone is phenomenal, given my two decades of teaching quiet classes.) Six hours flew by without pause to look at our watches.
But even more breathtaking is that two-thirds of the class, myself included, are not native speakers. And of course, we’re doing everything in Japanese, from newspaper articles to reading sections of UN treaties and government statements out loud. We’re communicating at an extremely high level in a second language that many of us (well, me, actually, back in the haughty Bubble years when I first arrived here) were once told that foreigners could never learn to speak, read, or write in any useful facility. Boy, were the naysayers wrong.
Moreover, having the perspectives of other Asians in the classroom is marvelous given the collective experiences we all bring of overseas media perspectives and attitudes. Creates a dynamic that is collegiate and international in the best sense. I think it’s one of the best classes I’ve ever taught, and it’s only been the first day.
Makes me hopeful for Japan’s future as a multicultural, multiethnic, quite possibly even multilingual society. It’s gonna happen. I feel as though I’ve got a front-row seat watching it emerge.
Arudou Debito in Nagoya