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University Extended Education and Mihaylo College of Business and Economics recently welcomed to campus professors from Soka University in Japan. The goal of the exchange program was to help the Japanese professors learn to teach in English. Pictured, from left, are Koji Kobayashi, Takehiro Usui, Konomi Saito and Makoto Masui. Photo by Kelly Lacefield

Economics in Second Language

Professors From Japan Learn to Teach Subject in English

April 21, 2009

By Valerie Orleans

Every day, they practiced — eight, nine, 10 hours.

They memorized passages. Repeated phrases over and over. Worked on pronunciation. Carefully enunciated different sounds.

When they left Cal State Fullerton two weeks later, four Japanese professors from Soka University in Tokyo, Japan, felt more comfortable about their ability to conduct classes on economics in English.

“This program was highly recommended to us,” said Konomi Saito, an economics professor who focuses on international trade. “We wanted to teach our economics courses in English because Japanese students want to practice their English while discussing economic principles. Our university also offers exchange programs with students from Singapore, Hong Kong and many other countries. If we conduct classes in English, it means we can accept many students from all over the world.”

It also helps prepare Japanese students who wish to travel abroad to English-speaking countries.

Hosted by University Extended Education, the faculty development program integrates teaching development workshops and mentoring professor collaboration with English instruction.

“We customize the classes and focus on American teaching techniques,” said Melem Sharpe-Kwon, program developer in Extended Education. “We focus on active learning environments, strategies for effective instructional delivery and critical thinking. We particularly focus on English presentation skills and delivery to help with the professor’s presentations/lectures in their mentor’s classes.”

In addition to classroom preparation, the Japanese professors are paired with mentor faculty members with a similar area of study. Makoto Masui, who teaches labor economics, was paired with Francis Mummery, CSUF lecturer in economics; Takehiro Usui was paired with Victor Brajer, professor of economics whose studies are in environmental economics; Konomi Saito and economics lecturer Sherine El Hag both focus on international economics; and Koji Kobayashi, who focuses on monetary economics, was paired with Emmanuel Lartey, assistant professor of economics. The culmination of the two weeks was a presentation before a classroom of Fullerton students.

“It was a very good program,” Kobayashi said. “As time passed, it became much easier for me to teach in English.”

University Extended Education developed the program in partnership with the Steven G. Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, its Economics Department and the Faculty Development Center.

In fact, a second group of Japanese professors from Osaka University, who had partnered with Cal State Fullerton biological science, chemistry and biochemistry professors, recently completed the same type of training program at Cal State Fullerton.

Fullerton residents Jean and George Killianey, Susan Braucht and William Lang, Sara and Scott Elsenpeter, and Nadia Olstad hosted the first group of Japanese visitors.

Upon leaving the program, the professors from Soka University were pleased with their progress.

“Our goal is to enhance our English, particularly as it relates to teaching economics,” Saito said. “I think we achieved that.”

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