Ohio Association of Teachers of Japanese (OATJ)
Rebecca Allen, Dublin Jerome and Coffman High Schools, Vice-President OATJ
During the 2013-14 school year, OATJ has worked towards increasing collaborative efforts aimed at providing students with clear pathways to college and career goals in which Japanese proficiency is a strong asset. With this goal in mind, we are beginning to establish stronger and more frequent communication between teachers ranging from early learner programs through universities. Here are some highlights from the 2013-14 school year:
Annual Meeting and Workshop Session (November)
At our annual meeting, we had the opportunity to hear presentations from several professionals on the topic of Japanese language proficiency in their career fields. Through these presentations, it has become even more clear that there are many opportunities in Ohio for our alumni. An alumni network of graduates from Ohio high schools and colleges with Japanese learning experience was also established. Our tentative focus for the 2014 Annual Meeting will be technology integration in the Japanese classroom.
ACTFL Annual Conference and Japan Foundation Leadership Workshop (November)
Our president and vice-president had the opportunity to attend the ACTFL Annual Conference this year and participate in a focused leadership workshop program, thanks to generous funding from The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles. Inspiring and thought-provoking presentations from the Japanese Global Articulation Project (J-GAP), The Japan Foundation, The American Association of Teachers of Japanese, and others provided ample material to take concrete steps towards the goals established during our annual meeting. In November 2014, our treasurer will also have the opportunity to participate in the same workshop series.
Annual Japanese Language Speech Contest (March)
This year’s Annual Speech Contest, hosted at Dublin City Hall by the Japan-America Society of Central Ohio (JASCO), was the first to feature a college and career fair for students of Japanese. OATJ collaborated with JASCO to plan and publicize the event, and will continue to do so each year. For both high school and college divisions, the number of students applying, the number of audience members attending, and the quality of presentations is increasing every year. Next year’s contest will be held at the Dublin City Recreation Center, with a larger college and career fair planned.
OATJ Website, Online Communication, and Upcoming Events
Please check our website for upcoming events at various colleges and universities, as well as other resources available to students and teachers of Japanese in Ohio. Beginning this summer, we will be establishing regular online meetings for the purpose of collaboration between our K-12 teachers. Early in September, Ohio’s sister state Saitama will co-host a career fair in the Columbus area, and information will be publicized during the summer.