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September 1995 - Issue No. #20 (p.20)

Miami Global Educators Visit Japan

by Jessica Newby-Kawata (Okayama, Japan)

Global education is a broad field that is difficult to learn about here in Japan. In the United States, there is a whole diversity of programs spread throughout the country. One I recently became involved in is the "Japan Today" program.

"Japan Today" is a three year project for social studies teachers offered by the Global Awareness Program, College of Education, Florida International University (FIU) in Miami. It is funded by the US-Japan Foundation and designed to infuse Japan studies into the local public school curriculum. The Hanvey Model1 of global education is used to examine how Americans and Japanese view each other. The program consists of in-service seminars, travel-study trips to Japan and follow-up class activities.

The project leader is Dr. Jan L. Tucker, founder and director of the Global Awareness Program at FIU. He has been involved in global education for many years and has developed programs in the Caribbean, Germany, Japan, China, UK and Russia.

The travel-study tour arrived in Japan on June 18th and departed July 2nd. The 20 participants travelled to Tokyo, the Japan Alps, Kyoto, Okayama and Hiroshima visiting a variety of locations to get an overall view of Japan to bring back to their students. Their experiences included visits to the American Embassy, Dentsu advertising agency and LDP headquarters, a lecture on the education system in Japan, school visits, overnight stays in a ryokan and a Buddhist temple, homestays and a meeting with the mayor of Okayama. I acted as consultant, answering questions and translating.

I felt the group left Japan with a much better understanding of the country, as well as a feeling of warmth for its people. One important aspect of global education is cultural awareness and perspective consciousness. Of course Japan and the US have varying, often conflicting views, but through deeper understanding and projects such as "Japan Today", a higher level of mutual awareness and understanding can be reached.

1 Hanvey, Robert. 1982. "An Attainable Global Perspective". Global Perspectives in Education. (New York)


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Kip A. Cates, Tottori University, Koyama, Tottori City, JAPAN 680-8551
E-mail: Work Tel/Fax: 0857-31-5650