Monday, October 3, 2011

Going to Japan to tell stories and...

Aoyama Gakuin University
Late this summer I was surprised and delighted to learn that a project proposal, written by a friend was funded by the Japanese Government and this has prompted an invitation, complete with all travel expenses, for me to give some lectures on Story, Storytelling and ELL in Tokyo, Japan. My sponsor and host, Professor Mitsue Allen-Tamai, has just published a book, Teaching English to Young Learners through Stories and Activities and is a leader in the field of English instruction for young learners. Mitsue visits every summer and we have been talking together about storytelling and language intruction for decades.  Now, Mitsue has created this opportunity to make our thoughts, public.

In mid November, 2011 I will be a guest speaker at Aoyama Gakuin University and the working title of my talk is: "Storytelling: An Organic Base for Literacy and Language". While visiting Aoyama Gakuin University I will meet with undergraduate and graduate students who have an interest in teaching English. I also will present a longer, formal seminar on applied storytelling in ELL classes in a meeting exclusively for practitioners who are actually teaching English to children. These will be followed by a joint lecture with Mitsue Allen-Tamai, a professor at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, Japan, and an adjunct professor at the graduate school of Temple University in Japan. Professor Allen-Tamai has been teaching courses to train college students to become English teachers of young children at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.  She is quoted at the end of this article in the JapanTimes. I am very excited about classroom visits and storytelling with Professor Allen-Tamai in kindergartens and also with 5th-6th graders in Tokyo school.  A possible lecture at Seisen University English department, in Tokyo  and a visit to an onsen* are also in the works. When I first went to Japan we stayed at a magically beautiful onsen on the Izu peninsula. But 35 years is a long time between visits and while I will be presenting in English, I must find time to study up on my very rudimentary Japanese...Waku waku, Doki doki shimasu ne!  (So very excited and thrilled! At least this is what I hope I said. )

*Onsen: from wikipedia:
An onsen (温泉) is a term for hot springs in the Japanese language, though the term is often used to describe the bathing facilities and inns around the hot springs. As a volcanically active country, Japan has thousands of onsen scattered along its length and breadth. Onsen were traditionally used as public bathing places and today play a central role in directing Japanese domestic tourism.
Onsen come in many types and shapes, including outdoor (露天風呂 or 野天風呂 rotenburo or notenburo) and indoor baths. Baths may be either public run by a municipality or private (内湯) often run as part of a hotel, ryokan or bed and breakfast (民宿).