Collaboration with UNC Wilmington (U.S.) Education Abroad Program
Five students from Osaka Kyoiku University's U.S. partner institution the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) visited from June 23–26 for a training program that took them to public elementary, junior high, and high schools in Osaka and Nara, in addition to OKU affiliate schools. UNCW team leader Dr. Brad Walker was among the participants.
The UNCW team visited under the auspices of the Overseas Educational Training Program of the UNCW Watson College of Education, the implementation of which has had the total support of OKU.
OKU and UNCW have been collaborating with one another for more than 10 years, those efforts including UNCW providing support for OKU's program to study languages and observe classrooms in the U.S.
The program participants were divided into two groups, one for elementary schools and the other for junior and senior high schools. In addition to observing a variety of classes, they also participated in calligraphy exercises and such activities as digging up potatoes in school gardens. On several occasions, the participants—who included graduate students already working in schools—spoke with their peers at the Japanese sites they visited about the differences in educational environments in their respective countries. The participants also had the chance to enjoy interacting with school children during lunch and other breaks. Even those children who were shy at first eventually grew accustomed to their presence and tried hard to speak to the visitors in English.
Participants commented on how wonderful the Japanese teachers were for their dedicated instructional efforts, the ways teachers taught the children with freedom to grow, and their strong interest in putting what they learned in Japan to use back in the U.S.