This seminar, co-sponsored by WATESOL and MLTAWA with support from Hyogo Prefectural Government Centre, provided a unique opportunity to explore in greater depth, some aspects of the cross – curricula priorities of the Australian Curriculum.
Both Professor Malcolm and Professor Maeda’s presentations provided participants with ample food for thought in the way we approach education, equality and problem-solving in the future.
Professor Ian Malcolm, Emeritus Professor, Edith Cowan University, shared the West Australian ABC of Two-Way Literacy and Learning ‘Two-Way’ approach which shows how knowing more about the way Aboriginal people use English can help make learners’ access to Standard English easier as well as promoting harmony and respect across cultures in the classroom.
Visiting Professor Koji Maeda from Waseda University introduced the Ainu people and what is being done to increase better equality between Ainu people and mainstream Japan society.
In his presentation, he shared the Japanese Urespa Project’s ‘mutual learning’ approach (urespa meaning ‘mutual nurturing’ in the Ainu language and sodateai in Japanese).
This approach stresses a nurturing environment in which both Ainu and non-Ainu students feel included.
Feedback was extremely positive as below.
· Participants commented on the amazing similarities between the current struggles of both Ainu and Aboriginal communities and how pleased they were to have that brought to light.
· Native Japanese teachers and other experienced language teachers were surprised to discover that their knowledge of the Ainu people was extremely limited and they were inspired to learn more by this presentation.
· The presentation raised interesting questions such as Why had the Ainu people continued to struggle to find acceptance among the Japanese community while the Okinawans had risen to become strong and proud of their cultural heritage? What had led to such different pathways?
· Participants commented extremely positively about the venue choice and the attention to detail in providing Japanese refreshments to set the scene for the seminar.
· Energetic discussion continued following the seminar – participants indicated that they would have liked even more question and answer time to allow further idea sharing.
· This seminar was so attractive to participants because it was not targeting any particular group of people or educators. It was appealing and insightful for all audience members.
· Participants queried when a follow up event would be held to allow for further knowledge development in this area.
· The resource display was extremely well received and added an extra dimension to the culturally rich presentation.