Tokyo stu­dents share tra­di­tion, lessons with CCPS

Maryland Independent - - Front Page -

Stu­dents of Tokyo’s Bunkyo Uni­ver­sity spent nearly two weeks in Charles County shar­ing their knowl­edge while soak­ing up ideas to take back home and to their class­rooms.

Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) and Bunkyo, a pri­vate uni­ver­sity that pri­mar­ily of­fers teacher ed­u­ca­tion, have had a part­ner­ship since 1987 when the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land or­ga­nized the pro­gram. Since 1992, Bunkyo stu­dents study­ing to be teachers have vis­ited the States. While in Charles County, the group stays in a ho­tel for the first week and with host fam­i­lies dur­ing the sec­ond week, ac­cord­ing to a re­lease.

“We wel­come Bunkyo Uni­ver­sity stu­dents as­pir­ing to be teachers each school year,” said Su­per­in­ten­dent Kim­berly Hill. “They can get hands-on ed­u­ca­tional ex­pe­ri­ence in our class­rooms, while our stu­dents have the op­por­tu­nity to learn about Ja­panese cul­ture and so­cial tra­di­tions. This ex­pe­ri­ence ben­e­fits ev­ery­one in­volved in this cross cul­tural ex­change.”

The col­lege stu­dents ar­rived in the county on Feb. 20. Dur­ing the first week, they at­tended a wel­come at the Jesse L. Starkey Ad­min­is­tra­tion Build­ing with pre­sen­ta­tions about ed­u­ca­tion in Amer­ica and us­ing tech­nol­ogy in the class­room. They learned about telep­res­ence, Bee Bot robotics and ca­reer and tech­nol­ogy ed­u­ca­tion and pro­grams. They toured the one-room school­house, vis­ited the James E. Rich­mond Sci­ence Cen­ter and ob­served classes at Theodore G. Davis Mid­dle School and Henry E. Lackey and North Point high schools.

The sec­ond week of their stay, the stu­dents trav­eled to Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land, Col­lege Park for a day and taught lessons at Mary H. Mat­ula, Gale-Bai­ley, Berry, Wil­liam A. Diggs and Dr. James Craik ele­men­tary schools, Theodore G. Davis and Mil­ton M. Somers mid­dle schools and North Point High School.

While Bunkyo stu­dents travel with chap­er­ones — Aya Mi­tani, pro­fes­sor of mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion at Bunkyo, and Toshi­hisa Steve Fukuda, vice pro­fes­sor of English ed­u­ca­tion at the uni­ver­sity, along with CCPS staff — when they got to Somers, the col­lege stu­dents had an im­promptu trans­la­tor in sev­enth grader Laker Al­fano. Al­fano said his mother is Ja­panese and he lived in Ja­pan for a while, but he had no idea he’d be talk­ing with col­lege stu­dents that day, much less talk­ing to them in Ja­panese.

Somers sixth graders in Teresa Buck­mas­ter’s so­cial stud­ies class ben­e­fit­ted from an origami les­son led by Rito Ikeda. With the help of a Pow­erPoint pre­sen­ta­tion, Ikeda and fel­low Bunkyo stu­dent Mi­nami Sato helped the younger stu­dents cre­ate a pa­per crane. The stu­dents ap­pre­ci­ated learn­ing about an­other cul­ture. “It gives you a new out­look on the world,” said Trin­ity Lang, a Somers sixth grader. “If you learn about other peo­ple, it helps you in life.”

SUBMITTED PHO­TOS

Bunkyo Uni­ver­sity stu­dent teacher Rito Ikeda, cen­ter, helps Mil­ton M. Somers Mid­dle School sixth graders Ter­rell Pullen, left, and Kristin To­jek make pa­per cranes dur­ing their so­cial stud­ies class.

Kenya Wa­dayama, left, signs Mil­ton M. Somers Mid­dle School sev­enth grader Laker Al­fano’s agenda book. Al­fano helped trans­late for the vis­it­ing Bunkyo Uni­ver­sity stu­dents when they taught at Somers.

Henry E. Lackey High School se­nior Vic­to­ria Martin, right, talks with vis­it­ing Bunkyo Uni­ver­sity stu­dents who ob­served an Ad­vanced Place­ment cal­cu­lus class. Pic­tured from left are Nami Fu­jishima, Ren Hi­rayama and Kanae Oishi.

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