IWL Spring Speaker Series: Yasu-Hiko Tohsaku, 1/29/15
Professor, School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California at San Diego
Title: Paths to 21st Century Competencies Through Foreign Language Learning
In the current globalized world that is characterized by accelerated technology innovation, complex interconnectivity, and continuously increasing information, the problems that we are faced with have been getting more and more complicated. In order to solve these problems, those who live in the 21st century must be equipped with good problem-solving skills, critical thinking skills, decision-making skills, creativity, and communication skills that are now commonly called the 21st century competencies or skills. Foreign language classrooms have potentials to provide optimal environments where students can acquire and develop these competencies. In this talk, we will consider what the 21st-century language classroom should be like in order to produce global citizens who will connect with people with diversified backgrounds, become creative and innovative, solve complicated global issues, and make our society better.
Yasu-Hiko Tohsaku is Professor at School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IRPS), University of California, San Diego (UCSD), where he received a Ph.D. in linguistics. He is Director of IRPS Language Program and UCSD Undergraduate Japanese Language Program. His current research interests are language pedagogy, language assessment, and language policy. His publications include “Yookoso!: Invitation to Contemporary Japanese”, “Yookoso!: Continuing with Contemporary Japanese” (McGraw-Hill 2006), “Doraemon no Dokodemo Nihongo” (co-authored with Noriko Vergel, Kyoko Inahara, and Yukari McCag, Shogakukan 2009), and “Gakushu no Meyasu” (co-authored with Kayoko Nakano, The Japan Forum 2012). He is co-general editor (with Shin-ichiro Yokomizo) of “Nihongo Kyoiku: 77 Tips Series” (Kuroshio Shuppan 2012-). He is currently writing “77 Tips for Classroom Testing”, which will be published in 2015. His most recent publication is “Nippon 3.0 no Shohoosen” (Kodansha 2013), which explores a new approach to language teaching called “Social Networking Approach”. His recent papers include “Gengo kyoiku ni okeru bunka no riterashii to hyooka” (in “Nihongo no Atarasii Chiei o Hiraku”, Hitsuji Shobo 2014) and “Guroobaru Jinzai Ikusei no Tame ni” (in “Guroobaru Jinzai to Nihongo –Kyoiku, Hito, Seisaku kara Nihon no Kokusaika o Kangaeru”, Kuroshio Shuppan 2014). Tohsaku has given a number of lectures and workshops in the United States as well as abroad on language pedagogy, language testing, technology use in foreign language classrooms, advocacy, and so forth. He was visiting professor at Tsukuba University, Waseda University, and Nanzan University. Recently, he has been involved with the professional development of English, Chinese, Korean, and other foreign language teachers in Japan. He was President of ATJ (Association of Teachers of Japanese) in 2009, and inaugural Co-President of AATJ (American Association of Teachers of Japanese) from 2012 – 2013. As a senior advisor for AATJ, he is currently directing JOINT (Japanese Online Instruction Network for Teachers), AATJ’s on-line professional development, and helping AATJ develop and administer National Japanese Exam (NJE). He is the Japanese representative to the Executive Board of the National Standards Collaborative Project and delegate assembly member of the Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL) from AATJ. He is President of the International Association of Computer-Based Japanese Instruction and a board member of Japanese Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (JACTFL). He is also supervising Japanese Global Articulation Project (J-GAP), a global project organized by the Global Network of Associations of Japanese Language Teachers in the world.