On Saturday June 30th 2012, the Japan Foundation and BATJ (the British Association for Teaching Japanese as a Second Language) co-hosted a seminar about developing intercultural competence through language education at the Japan Foundation, London. Around 35 people attended including teachers of Japanese from universities and schools around the UK.
The seminar started with an initial explanation of intercultural competence and how this relates to Japanese language education by Seiji Fukushima, the Chief Japanese Language Advisor at the Japan Foundation London.
The main seminar was divided into three sections. Firstly Yuichi Tomita, a Japanese language tutor at Manchester University spoke the role of teachers in facilitating the development of intercultural competence among their students and gave several concrete examples from his own experiences on how this can be achieved. Next was a section by Dr Lynne Parmenter, the Principal Lecturer in International Education at Manchester Metropolitan University, who explained how intercultural competence is embedded into the UK’s education system and how this links to trans-national policies such as the CEFR. Lynne went on to speak about an example of how to introduce these competences using the “Autobiography of Intercultural Encounters” which was developed by the Council of Europe (which can be downloaded from the file below). Finally, attendees discussed the ways in which teachers might incorporate intercultural learning into their own classroom practices.
The seminar received positive feedback from all attendees, many of whom discovered they already develop some aspects of intercultural competence within their Japanese lessons, but were glad to learn more about the theories behind this concept.
Click on the icon below to download the handouts and presentations used at the event.