Laura Renz, Mirai Intercultural Language and Consulting, Vice President OATJ
The previous year ended on a great note with OATJ’s Fall Conference in November with guest presenter Yo Azama who presented on Integrated Performance Assessment (IPA). Teachers of Japanese from all over Ohio came to hear Yo Azama speak about how to inspire and engage students while assessing their performance using real-world tasks. Teachers saw examples from Mr. Azama’s own classroom and worked together with him and other teachers to create their own ideas on how to implement this in their own classroom.
Students also had a chance to test their skills in the beginning of December in a national Japanese exam called the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) which is only offered once a year in the US. Last year was the strongest turnout that Columbus’ test site has ever seen.
This year is sure to be just as promising!
The first event of the year will be on March 10th for the 19th Annual JASCO (Japan-America Society of Central Ohio) Japanese Speech Contest. Students of Japanese language programs from high schools and colleges in Ohio will come to Columbus to compete for prizes. The awards include a $400 scholarship and a variety of gift certificates. Finalists are decided by February 1st and they have just over a month to perfect their speech for the contest. This competition not only provides highly motivated students across the state with the chance to improve their Japanese language skills, but also inspires and encourages others to broaden their understanding of Japan, its culture, and the strong ties between Japan and United States.
Students will also be showcasing their passion for Japanese at two high school events: Dublin Japanese Festival at Dublin Scioto High School on March 4th from 12:00-5:00 and Evening of Japanese Culture at Marysville High School on April 7th. Come and experience many aspects of Japanese culture all in one place! You can eat Japanese food, enjoy a variety of performances, try on kimono, do your own calligraphy, origami and even a raffle for a chance to win prizes from Japan. All proceeds go towards scholarships and a trip to Japan for students studying Japanese.
Many teachers of Japanese in the state will attend and even present at the AATJ (American Association of Teachers of Japanese) Spring Conference in March held in Washington DC to continue to improve their teaching and gain professional development.
OATJ will also hold its Spring Workshop at the beginning of April.
All details for these events can be found at OATJ’s website: http://oatj.wordpress.com/