On July 25, the Osaka Kyoiku University Teacher Training Course hosted a lecture meeting at the Kashiwara Campus directed by its Overseas Educational Training Working Group and featuring two speakers from Taiwan. The talks by the speakers—Jia-yu Ma, president of National Kaohsiung Normal University (NKNU)'s affiliated elementary, junior, and senior high schools, and Kei-e Chang, lecturer at Soochow University and a former OKU post-grad student—centered on the meeting's theme of "Educational Issues in Taiwan and Teacher Training Programs: Some Considerations about Children, Parents, and Education in Taiwan." The event was held as part of the Graduate School Education Improvement Project's Initiative to Build Overseas Educational Training Programs in Asia for Graduate Students. Eighteen second- and third-term students participating in those programs attended the lectures, along with another dozen or so individuals including working group members, Teacher Training Course faculty, and study-abroad students.
Professor Chang's lecture was titled, "Educational Conditions in Taiwan: The Social Background to the High Educational Expectations for Children." In it, she outlined the educational circumstances faced by Taiwanese children in the 21st century, touching on such issues as the crisis and turning point that a falling birth rate has produced, the efforts to lay the foundations on which to construct a multicultural society, and the problems of training a workforce that will bolster Taiwan's international competitiveness. President Ma followed with her talk titled, "Fusing with the Multicultural: Developing Elementary School Education in Taiwan." Using actual teaching materials and videos of classroom practices, she outlined responses to the process and problems of development in elementary school education in Taiwan as well as conditions at NKNU's affiliated elementary school and those features that make it distinct. Both lectures were richly laden in examples presented with humor that made them readily understood, and also made reference to the deep interactions between Japan and Taiwan. The discussion that followed the talks saw a lively exchange of views regarding the current situation in Taiwan with respect to education, the home, and multiculturalism.
Prior to the meeting, Chang and Ma paid a courtesy call on OKU President Sumio Kuribayashi and also offered some valuable comments to the Teaching Plan Study Group for the demonstration class slated to take place in October.
The lecture meeting served as an opportunity for those students planning to go to NKNU's affiliated elementary school in October as trainees to conduct the demonstration class and observe conditions to gain valuable information about the educational situation in Taiwan and the underlying culture and society. The deeper understanding of Taiwan the talks provided with their lucid language made the trainees look forward all the more to their upcoming visit and their work on the program.