About Project

“Collaborating through Zoom to Create Tadoku Books for Young Japanese Learners”

The purpose of the project

The purpose of this project is to create Tadoku (extensive reading) books that are useful, meaningful, readable, comprehensible and fun for young Japanese learners, the Japanese as Heritage Language Leaners (JHL) and Japanese as Foreign Language Learners (JFL), by collaborating with 3rd graders at Public School 147 in Brooklyn, New York.

How does this project work?

The students who are participating in the dual language program (Japanese and English) at P.S. 147 are looking for something to read about education around the world written in Japanese they can understand.  Smith 3rd year Japanese students will use their Japanese skills and content knowledge to create booklets that will help the young Japanese learners review their language studies and content education.  

The students at P.S. 147 are studying “elementary schools around the world” in regards to SDGs Goal #4: Quality Education.  In class, they have a project comparing similarities and differences between their school and other schools around the world. 

Smith 3rd year Japanese class in the spring also study  SDGs focusing on the Goal #4.  Students read and watch authentic materials in Japanese about ongoing SDGs projects in order to deepen their understanding about quality of education. (Smith 3rd year students finished TOBIRA textbook in the fall semester.) 

Essential Questions

Smith 3rd year Japanese course was designed to explore the following essential questions during the semester:

  • What does quality of education mean to people and contribute to our society?
  • Which SDG goals would relate to achieve the Goal #4 and how?
  • What elements does good education have and provide for people?
  • How would you be able to become a part of SDG community and contribute to the Goal #4?

Toward the end of the semester, students came up with some ideas about what type of educational components or cultural aspects would be great to be shared across the world and how those ideas would be applied to improve the current quality of education.  The students were assigned to write four paper to develop their ideas to contemplate the essential questions.

What impact would this project bring to communities?

I am hoping that this project will help the students of JHL and JFL at P.S. 147 develop their reading skills in Japanese with readable, educational, fun booklets, as well as allow the teachers to enhance their curricula with the reading materials. Moreover, the booklets will allow students to share their learning and facilitate conversations at home with their families using Japanese.

As for Smith 3rd year Japanese, the project will provide them with public scholarship experience by applying their knowledge and skills in Japanese, as well as their ideas and creativity to support another learning community.  The final products will be shared online under the Creative Commons license (with the permission of the students who created the booklets).   

I hope that this project will potentially become a partnership between K-12 and higher education to enhance quality of education in both sides.

JPN 3o2 Spring 2019 Cohort:

Jada Dickerson’19, Sarah Ducharme ’21, Jillian Hu ’21, Qiyi Qian ’20, Fei (Ann) Ping Wong ’19, and Echo Zhang ’19. (All Smith)

Project Partners at Smith College:

  • Atsuko Takahashi, Senior Lecturer, Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures
  • Travis Grandy, Instructional Technology Specialist, Educational Technology Services