Conference Program

[Conference Theme: “Diversity/Equity/Inclusion in Japanese Language Classrooms”「日本語教師が現場でできることは何かを考える」

Check-in Location: Thomson 317]

Saturday, January 20


8:30-9:00 Breakfast & Check-in

Building opens at 8:00

Breakfast served outside of Thomson 101


9:00-10:30 Keynote Speech / Workshop:
“Empowering Teachers: Promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Japanese Language Classrooms”

Yoshihiro Mochizuki

University of Michigan


10:30-10:45 Break





11:45-1:00 Lunch Break



Embracing Diversity by Promoting Autonomy: Japanese through Songs, a Multi-level Language Course


Amy Ohta

University of Washington



DEI and Grading – Report from My Classrooms


Hiroe Akimoto

St. Olaf College


2:20-2:35 Break



DEI in the High School Classroom


Kei Tsukamaki

Juanita High School


3:15-3:55 New Perspective on Required Learning Materials: Possible Future Development of Open Educational Resources in Japanese Language Community


Chikako Hirayama Cooke

University of Texas at Austin



Embracing Diversity by Promoting Autonomy: Japanese through Songs, a Multi-level Language Course


Amy Ohta

University of Washington

One challenge of Japanese language teaching is the diversity, within the same course, of students’ Japanese language proficiencies and skills. Japanese through Songs was a multi-level university language class, enrolling students from 2nd through 5th year in the same course. The goal of the course was to promote development of students’ Japanese language while guiding their independent language learning skills. The theme of the course was Japanese songs. Students selected their own songs to study, creating their own textbooks with song lyrics, vocabulary lists, writing practice, notes to present to a peer, and whatever else they wanted to include. Each week, students also completed a small group online discussion in English about learning goals, study strategies (song selection, study focus, etc.), and their weekly progress. In class, students worked in pairs with a student from a similar level, sharing their songs and using Japanese to talk through the materials they were studying, discuss song content, introduce singers and bands, etc. The teacher circulated to provide help, and used the blackboard to create a running vocabulary list based on what students wanted to say. There were also brief whole-class presentations of songs by the professor, focusing on listening and vocabulary development, where students did song-related activities in pairs. Data collected for the study include student written work (their textbooks, online discussions), and interviews of the students. Analysis of the data is in progress, but preliminary results show that students enjoyed working with songs and the autonomy of choosing their own materials to study. Students reported improvement in self-selecting materials, speaking Japanese, and building their vocabularies (for both speaking and reading); they also appreciated the opportunity to focus on high interest materials in Japanese. The presentation will include materials used in the course, samples of student work, and analysis of the data.

If you have any questions, please contact Itsuko Nishikawa at with “___” in the subject line.