Collaborative Learning Approach to Teaching Content-Based Intermediate Japanese Language Course

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Proceedings of the 37th Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Teachers of Japanese


The objective of this paper is to demonstrate how collaborative learning and Social Networking Approach (SNA) (Tohsaku 2013) has been incorporated into the curriculum of an intermediate Japanese course in the USA. The course is a combined third- and fourth-year Japanese language and culture course at a university. The class is the co- existence of a diverse student population, in terms of race, socioeconomic class, Japanese language proficiency, technology literacy, etc. The paper describes a lesson plan and a project around the theme of Japanese folktales. The course, including the assessments, has been designed with World-Readiness Standards for Learning Languages in mind, as defined by the 5Cs (Communication, Culture, Community, Connections, and Comparisons) and 21st century skills (Partnership for 21st Century Skills 2015). The execution of the projects cultivates learner autonomy, while the instructor is a facilitator in student-centered instruction. The projects also offers an opportunity to the students to connect to the world outside the classroom. This paper stands as an example for designing a 15-week- long, content-based course. The advantages of collaborative learning and SNA in Japanese language and culture courses at US universities and future directions will be discussed.

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