3rd Northwest Conference on Japanese Pedagogy

Keynote Speaker

Prof. Masako Douglas (California State University Long Beach)

Content Based Language Instruction (CBLI):

Curriculum Design and Measurement of the Effectiveness

“I learned that the key to learning this way is to really delve into the Japanese sources and get really familiar with the vocabulary. The more familiar it becomes, the easier it is to remember and the more it sticks. It can be more difficult to learn without doing the work to learn it, like learning the language another way, but it can also be very effective.”

This is an excerpt from the reflection journal written by one of my students who was enrolled in an advanced Japanese course with a CBLI approach in the fall semester of 2017. I did not explain what CBLI approach was in my class, but her reflection clearly indicates the principle of the approach, which generally refers to language learning through the study of a content area. The approach treats the target language largely as the vehicle for teaching specific subject matter rather than as the immediate object of study.

In this keynote presentation, I will, first, briefly introduce the rationale for the CBLI approach and its use in a variety of language learning contexts. Then taking an advanced Japanese course, “Japanese Civilization,” as an example I will demonstrate how to design CBLI curriculum and assessments, and how to differentiate instruction for the students with a wide range of language proficiency. I will also discuss how to design scaffolding activities to assist students when they obtain information from authentic Japanese materials. Lastly, in order to discuss about the effectiveness of the approach, I will present the results of the empirical study in which I measured Japanese language development in the Japanese Civilization course.


Masako O. Douglas is Professor of Japanese, and Coordinator of Japanese Program
at California State University, Long Beach. Her primary research is in curriculum design
and instructional effectiveness of Content-Based Language Instruction (CBLI) and
Project Based Language Learning (PBLL) approach, and literacy development of young
and adult learners of Japanese as a foreign/heritage language. Her recent publication
includes “Assessing the Effectiveness of Content-Based Language Instruction in
Japanese at the College Advanced Level,” “Crisis, Change, and Institutionalization:
Adopting a New Curriculum at a Japanese Weekend School,” co-authored article,” Dunk
Tank for Natsumatsuri (Japanese summer festival) at a Japanese Language School. An
Instructional Unit Created for Project Based Language Learning with Interculturality,”
and “Japanese Language Education of the Earlier Generations: From 1885 to World
War II.” Dr. Douglas jointly developed and co-taught the CBLI course of Japanese
Online Instruction Network for Teachers, offered by American Association of Teachers
of Japanese. She contributed one of the online video modules in Heritage Language
Teaching: Language-Specific Topics and Approaches by the National Heritage
Language Resource Center and STARTALK. She is a recipient of the American
Association of Teachers of Japanese 2012 Teacher Award.

If you have any questions, please contact Izumi Matsuda-Kiami at matsuda@uw.edu with “NWCJP” in the subject line.