Team Profile: Japanese Language Team

Japanese Language team
The Japanese Language Team, comprising Xiangdong Liu and Satomi Kawaguchi from the School of Humanities and Communication Arts, recently received a Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning. The Citation recognises the development and delivery of an inspiring Japanese language program that maximises students' engagement, learning and achievement through relational teaching, collaborative learning and innovative multimedia resources.
Who works in the team?

Dr Xiangdong Liu and Dr Satomi Kawaguchi

What does the team do?
Our responsibilities include teaching, conducting research, developing and maintaining connections with and promoting the University's Japanese language programs to local Japanese communities. We share the responsibilities and always work together. In terms of teaching, Dr Xiangdong Liu focuses on the first- and third-year level of the Japanese units, while Dr Satomi Kawaguchi works on the second-year level.

Where is the team located?
Our offices are on Bankstown campus and we also teach at other campuses, as the Japanese language units are offered at Bankstown, Parramatta and Penrith campuses.

Who does the team work with?
We work closely with the School's Technical Officers to develop online teaching and learning materials, including a digital mobile app. We also work with colleagues within the School, the International team and The College to create opportunities for our Japanese language students to meet and make friends with students from Japan, and to provide them with information and chances for short-term study tours or study overseas. Outside the University, we participate regularly in events organised by the Japan Foundation Sydney and the Consulate-General of Japan Sydney, and work with colleagues from other universities in NSW to organise conferences and the annual Japanese Language Contest.

What would be a good example of the work that you are involved in?
* An edited book on second language acquisition focusing on Asia from publisher John Benjamin (Dr Kawaguchi was the chief editor).
* Project-based language learning developments (e.g. tandem learning via chat, an e-movie project and a social networking project).
* The Language and Cultural Exchange with students from Sanyo Gakuen University, a yearly event in the past 10 years which has been highly valued by students. For instance, one of the participating students enhanced his interests and confidence in Japanese language learning and also made friends by attending the event. He then visited friends in Japan and talked about his experience at the Japanese Language Speech Contest in 2016 and won first prize at the national final.

What challenges does the team face?
The University has decided to offer a fully online Japanese language course paralleled with the face-to-face classes from 2017. This will be a new challenge for the team. We will work together with professional assistance from the School's Technical Officers to make the new online course a successful one.

The ever-changing needs of students, pressures regarding research publication and heavy admin workload are also challenges we face. We will try our best to balance everything and always place a priority on providing our students with the best possible learning experience.

What is the team focusing on in the next 12 months?
Dr Satomi Kawaguchi: I would like to focus on further developing the LexiFun app, an individual and collaborative learning app for Japanese sound, vocabulary, writing and grammar, which aims to promote digital and blended learning.

Dr Xiangdong Liu: Developing the fully online units and further improving the online teaching and learning materials for the current units will be on the top of my to-do list in the next 12 months.