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Diary from Japan — Day 10

From time to time, participants in the college’s study abroad to Nishinomiya, Japan, led by Tom Salsbury, will be giving updates on their experiences. This one was written by graduate student Jerimiah Sataraka, and has received no editing from the college.

“The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically… We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.”

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr wrote these words in the Maroon Tiger, an Atlanta, Georgia college campus newspaper back in 1947. And they have never been more relevant and true than today.

While flipping through the 9th grader’s English language textbooks, I came across an English language lesson they’ll soon have around Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream Speech,” Rosa Parks, and racism during the Civil Rights Movement. Granted they didn’t include the word racism in their textbook, but they had images of segregated water drinking fountains and highlighted some stories of racism. Say what?! I wondered how the students at Izamu Junior High School would react to this part of USA history. This is a textbook that is used across the school district, so 9th graders across the district would be talking about this. What questions would the students have and how would teachers answer them?

Hands down my favorite part of this experience has been interacting with the students. From the ones who seem to be disengaged or shy to those who are very excited to see us and want to ask a million questions a minute; every interaction has been memorable. We usually do introductions with a new group of students in class and students seem to have some difficulty saying “Jeremiah,” but after a few tries, they get it. We practiced interviewing each other and helped the students practice their verbal English speaking skills.

This got me thinking about their future lesson on Dr. King. How much of their lesson would be focused on the facts regarding the Civil Rights Movement, how much would be focused on enunciating specific English words, and how much would be on developing empathy and understanding racism?

This led me down a path to asking a question about racism in Japan. Did it exist? If so, how did it function? And how did it impact schools? These questions were the central focus of my presentation during our seminar today, which happens after we spend time in the Japanese classrooms. From presentations on gender norms in schools, to learning how the Japanese number system works, and to my presentation on racism in Japan and schools (i.e. especially focused on the experiences of multiracial Japanese called “hafu”), we spent some time having critical discussions on what we’ve observed in classrooms and researching other topics related to Japan and schools.

Going back to Dr. King’s words, I hope that not only will the Japanese students learn the “hard facts” about the Civil Rights Movement and develop empathy and understanding regarding human rights, but that students in the USA will also be learning about this.

Race and racism are prevalent parts of our society. Whether we as educators choose to acknowledge the ugly parts of history and help future students develop empathy and “good moral character” so that history is not repeated will depend largely on our schools and educational systems. Schools are sites of socialization- this is a huge observation I’ve made in Japan during the week and a half we’ve been here. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be sites of liberation. There is hope for the future, and I caught a glimpse of that in a Japanese 9th grade English language textbook.

Diary from Japan — Day 9

From time to time, participants in the college’s study abroad to Nishinomiya, Japan, led by Tom Salsbury, will be giving updates on their experiences. This one was written by preservice teacher Maria Garcia, and has received no editing from the college.

Today was our last day at Nauro Junior High school. We arrived at school early so that we could say goodbye to all of the staff before class. We then went to teach two classes and observe another.

We taught the kids a simple dialogue that had to do with introducing themselves to people. We then taught them questions they could ask people to get to know them better. Some questions we taught them were “What is your name?”, “What sport do you like?”, “Where are you from?”, and “What color do you like?”. That’s just to name a few questions.

Next, we had them break off into “lunch groups” and had them ask us questions about ourselves. Once they got to know us better, we had them introduce us to the class. We then ended class with a little geography lesson on the United States to give them an idea of where each of us is from.

After teaching and observing, we went to say our final goodbyes to some teachers and the principal of Nauro Junior High. Mr.Sasaki, the principal, gave us a little gift bag that came with a pen and a super cool pin that has a symbol of Nauro Junior High School on it. Lastly, some of us posed for a selfie with Mr. Sasaki. What a cool guy!

Diary from Japan — Day 8

From time to time, participants in the college’s study abroad to Nishinomiya, Japan, led by Tom Salsbury, will be giving updates on their experiences. This one was written by preservice teacher Kierstin Laisne, and has received no editing from the college.

Today was a super relaxed day! We spent the morning at Naruo Junior High again, where the students we taught gave us messages and drew us pictures on the lessons from last week. Some pictures were super pretty but all of the comments were adorable and made our day! Then we made our way to the conveyor belt sushi restaurant which was surprisingly cheap for all of us and was really good. We made our walk back to the hostel after spending 2 or so hours in the “hot room” and had some time to chill out. For dinner, some of us made our way to Freshness Burger, a restaurant one of our Japanese coworkers recommended. Finally, we ended the night doing laundry, going for a run, and finding out that Hulu doesn’t work in japan! Hopefully tomorrow will have a better ending!

Diary from Japan — Day 7

From time to time, participants in the college’s study abroad to Nishinomiya, Japan, led by Tom Salsbury, will be giving updates on their experiences. This one was written by preservice teacher Angela Ferrier, and has received no editing from the college.

More adventures today in Kyoto! We started the day off early and navigated the train system all on our own. We first ended up in downtown Kyoto where we walked to a gorgeous temple, then wandered down hanami-kogi street. During our wanderings, we stumbled upon a festival in a park and caught sight of an end to a traditional Japanese wedding. We strolled through nature and then we went on the trains again to find the bamboo forest. First, a few of us walked into a stunning temple and garden then found our way to a bamboo grove. It was another successful day in Japan!

Diary from Japan — Day 6

From time to time, participants in the college’s study abroad to Nishinomiya, Japan, led by Tom Salsbury, will be giving updates on their experiences. This one was written by preservice teacher Sandra Larios, and has received no editing from the college.

Today was an adventure filled day! We had the amazing opportunity to travel to Osaka today! It was such an amazing experience! Out first stop was the temple, which was really beautiful and fun to explore! We were able to go all the way to the 8th floor to get a bird’s eye view of Osaka! (Below you can find images) after the temple, we went to go explore another temple. We then made our way to the fine arts museum, which turned out to be a lot smaller than expected, but it was still fun. We got told that we out hand fans were too dangerous so we had to put them away! It was so hot today! Later on, we stopped by a Japanese garden which was just absolutely breathtaking! All in all, we did a lot of walking and experienced a little of the culture Osaka has to off!

Diary from Japan — Day 4

From time to time, participants in the college’s study abroad to Nishinomiya, Japan, led by Tom Salsbury, will be giving updates on their experiences. This one was written by preservice teacher Gracie Lee, and has received no editing from the college.

Wow! What another exciting day in Japan! I still can’t believe that we’ve been in Japan for nearly a week!

Some of us began the morning with a run and climbing stairs at 5:30 a.m. After the run, it was time to get ready for the school day.

Today’s adventure at the schools would be slightly different as a school assembly would take place in the morning. It was mind-boggling to see 700 students be so quiet and aligned perfectly in single file lines.

Each student was attentive and on task as the principle gave a speech about cyber-bullying. Although we could not fully understand the message, we did hear the principle say “is it true, is it necessary, and is it kind?” to the students. His message was powerful to the students.

After the assembly, it was time for us to teach our lesson! We have been modifying and improving our “Cha Cha Slide” lesson since our first time teaching it. Today, we modified our Cognitive Content Dictionary to make it more purposeful for the second year students. We also decided to allow the first year and second year students time to draw their own picture for each word as art is prevalent in their culture.

After our lesson, we headed back to the Hostel only to find out it was closed for construction. So, we all went our different ways waiting about 4.5 hours to pass by so we could get back into the Hostel and rest before the baseball game. Although I am extremely picky about the foods I choose to eat, I was adventurous as I tried some new pastries and meat. I must say that it was rather delicious and I was missing out! Enjoying new foods, the sun and the culture helped make the time go by quickly. It was amazing to see how quickly and punctual the Japanese culture is with tasks as the construction was complete when we arrived back at the Hostel.

At the Hostel, we relaxed for a bit and then we got ready for our first Japanese baseball game! It was an experience we were looking forward to. It was great seeing the fans, players, and experiencing the atmosphere. The crowd definitely made the experience worth remembering. Some of us even got to talk to some of the people who live there! They sure were a blast, cracking jokes with us. It was really cool to see the balloon ceremony during the seventh inning. One of the people there helped me and Kim blow up our balloons to the country’s standards before they were released. As we were leaving the game, we all felt like rock stars as fans were high-fiving us on the way out. Let’s just say it was an experience that we will never forget!

As we head back to the Hostel, we are all worn out from the day’s activities. It was another great day in Japan and we can’t wait to visit the elementary school tomorrow and enjoy a dinner party with the teachers!

Diary from Japan — Day 3

From time to time, participants in the college’s study abroad to Nishinomiya, Japan, led by Tom Salsbury, will be giving updates on their experiences. This one was written by preservice teacher Kimberlee Moon, and has received no editing from the college.

Today was another wonderful day spent with the students at Nauro Junior High School in Nishinomiya, Japan. To start the morning a few of us went for a brisk morning run discovering new places near our hostel. Then most of us grabbed a quick breakfast at the 7/11 convenience store. Although I would never buy any food from a gas station or convenience store in the US, that is the way to go here and it is delicious! We took our normal morning stroll to the train station to head to the school. Compared to the Japanese, we walk really slowly.

At the school, the students gave us presentations on Japanese culture, anime, food, festivals, and games. Then we taught them some new English words. Our lesson first introduced the focus words using the technique ‘total physical response.’ Then we had the students complete a cognitive content dictionary. Once they finished their dictionary, they moved their desks like clockwork to the sides of the room clearing our dance floor. All of the students lined up and we all danced to the “Cha-Cha Slide.” They loved learning about a traditional American dance that is played at almost every school dance in the United States and enjoyed learning new words at the same time! This opportunity to teach the students touch not only my heart but the hearts of my colleagues. It has rekindled my passion for teaching especially teaching English Language Learners.

After teaching our lessons, we all headed to the mall to eat some lunch before heading to the “hot room” (this is the name we give it because it is hot and stuffy) for our seminar. After the seminar, we went to the Board of Education building and met the superintendent. He was fun and gave us great advice. “Express and connection your emotions and allow everyone to. It is important to keep trying to communicate.” He said this in regard to teaching and communicating in foreign languages. This was one of the highlights of our day!

And this is how you know you have the best professor as your leader for your study abroad program… Tom played along today in learning Japanese phrases that will help him get a haircut. The front desk person at our hostel recommended a place to which we went. Upon arriving the sign said, “Women’s hair salon.” We went in and after a confusing exchange, Tom signed up for a shampoo and haircut. Let me tell you I think he was a little nervous! It turned out great and was an amazing cultural experience that made one of our daily highlights!

Now our day is coming to a close. We have just hung out in our hostel’s living quarters and picked up dinner at the market. A nice relaxing way to end our day full of laughter, adventures, and hopes of much more to come.

~Kimberlee Moon

Bringing the fun to ed tech

To be sure, there are people who understand more about certain technologies than Dr. Joy Egbert. But arguably nobody knows more than Dr. Egbert on how to implement that technology into curriculum… how to help teachers engage students in the right way with it.

The Harvest Foundation knows this. It was created in 2000 as a private, family foundation to provide funding for education, specifically for K-12 teacher training in technology, and to support art programs. The Foundation awards grants totaling approximately $500,000 annually.

One grant has helped Dr. Egbert host the LunchTime Tech series. One recent event, in the Cleveland Hall first floor foyer, included Minecraft and video green screen activities for students to take part in.


In addition to the free pizza and drinks (always appreciated by poor, starving college students), 10 Minecraft subscriptions were given away.

A special thanks to the Harvest Foundation for its support. We look forward to Dr. Egbert continuing this work.

College inks new MOU w/ Okinawa

Washington State University and the College of Education have signed two Memorandums of Understanding with Okinawa Prefecture city and educational leaders, to pave the way for more Okinawan students to attend WSU.

In consecutive signings, vice president for international programs Asif Chaudhry was the lead authority from WSU. The first signing was a program renewal that will bring secondary education students to the WSU campus in July for an immersive three-week experience. The Okinawa American Language and Culture Camp was housed under the Intensive American Language Center, but will transition away from the IALC and toward the College of Education.

“Our hope is to have even more programs with Japan, and, in this case, get even more Okinawan students,” said Paula Groves Price, the college’s associate dean for diversity and international programs.

As part of this renewal, associate professor of literacy Jane Kelley will spend a week in Japan in August also teaching English.

The other MOU was between the College of Education and the Kitanakagusuku Board of Education, for the Online Developing Okinawa Through English (DOTE) program. Using web conferencing and other technology, students in that Japanese school district will take part in a series of weekend classes to help advance their language acquisition and use.

Dean Mike Trevisan represented the College of Education in the signing.


Photos from the signing are located at:

Egbert to lead workshop on engaging tech-use tasks

ESL and educational technology professor Joy Egbert will host this semester’s second faculty-led workshop. Her topic will be Creating Engaging Tasks Through Technology Use.

Egbert knows a thing or two about effective technology use in the classroom, as she was instrumental in bringing the TECH-Ed Conference to Washington State University in 2014 and 2015.

In this presentation, she will provide a brief overview of engagement principles and then discuss how technology use can help teachers create engaging tasks across different disciplines.

The event will take place on Thursday, February 16, 2017, from 12:10-1:00 p.m. in CUE 518 on the Pullman campus. The workshop will also be live-streamed for those unable to attend in person.

Faculty-led Workshops are co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the WSU Teaching Academy and the Office of Academic Outreach and Innovation. The topics range. Refreshments are provided.

The full slate of this semester’s workshops is as follows:

Date Time Workshop ​Presenter
Jan 10th ​Noon Motivating Students ​Tom Tripp
Feb 16th Noon Creating Engaging Tasks Through Technology Use ​Joy Egbert
Mar 7th Noon Augmented Reality Don McMahon
Apr 13 Noon Team Based Learning – An Interactive Introduction ​Jennifer Robinson