Thomas J. Garza, Director 2505 University Ave, B7800 • BUR 572 78712-1053 • 512-471-6574
Profiles in Language Teaching at UT: Dr. Yukie AidaYukie Aida (Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin, 1988) is Senior Lecturer of Japanese in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She serves as a member of the Advanced Placement (AP) Japanese Language Curriculum Development and Assessment Committee of College Board. Her research interests include students’ perspectives on their performances in storytelling, skit presentation, and group projects (newspaper publishing and video-making of grammar lesions). She is also interested in students’ beliefs about the homework assignments and their effects on their learning.
I teach JPN507 (second semester Japanese) every semester, and 320K (Readings in Modern Japanese I) in fall and 320L (Readings in Modern Japanese II) in spring. Our classrooms are filled with individuals of widely varying academic interests and cultural/ethnic backgrounds. I cherish the diversity and respect the students who choose the Japanese language as one of their academic pursuit here at UT regardless of whether they select Japanese as their major or to satisfy their foreign language requirement. Japanese is not an easy language to learn. I appreciate very much the positive energy that students bring into the classroom for learning this difficult language.
Favorite Teaching Methods / Activities
The late Professor Randy Pausch of Carnegie Mellon University said in his “The Last Lecture” (2008): “…, educators best serve students by helping them be more self-reflective” (p. 110). I like his insight on education. He continued to say that he wanted to help students learn how to judge themselves, i.e., recognizing their true abilities and having a sense of their own flaws. I have adopted Professor Pausch’s teaching philosophy as my own. I believe that successful learning is achieved by students who are able to self-monitor and self-regulate their own learning. I try my best to give meaningful feedback and guidance to the students that can help them acknowledge their own strengths and weaknesses.
My favorite learning activities are those that challenge students to use the language in real-life situations. Learning from the textbooks is very important; however, students can learn more from their experiences in communicating using the language in real-life situations. Cooperative projects such as skit writing and presenting, creating and publishing their own newspapers, and making video clips to teach grammar structures are excellent activities for students to demonstrate their unique ideas, talents, and language skills in Japanese. I have often been impressed by the students’ eagerness to produce creative work with high quality. In 2005, my colleagues and I conducted a survey to examine the students’ reactions to the group project of skit presentation. The students expressed various reasons (total of 235) why they enjoyed the skits. The most frequently mentioned reasons were “It was just fun/entertaining/funny,” (63) and “It was fun to work with other classmates” (62), showing that the students enjoyed the collaborative aspect of the skit presentation. I continue to search the various ways that students can increase the opportunities to use the language as productively as possible. Some of the student projects can be viewed in the Japanese Program website (managed by Dr. Naoko Suito) at http://laits.utexas.edu/japanese/studproj.php