York TESOL Students visit Meiji University in Japan

Students enrolled in York’s Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Certificate Program spent a week in Japan as part of a teaching practicum in Meiji University’s English language program. Since 2007, this partnership between York and Meiji has given York’s TESOL students the opportunity to gain international English language experience and has introduced Meiji undergraduate students to aspects of Canadian culture and language. The visit trip took place March 7 to 14.

From left: TESOL Certificate Program Coordinator, Professor Antonella Valeo, Ivana Kovacevic and Michelle Giatti (fourth from the left) with students from Meiji University’s English language program

This year, TESOL Certificate Program Coordinator, Professor Antonella Valeo, in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies (LA&PS), accompanied TESOL students, Ivana Kovacevic and Michelle Giatti, on this one-week intensive program. The program is held in the mountains of Yamanashi prefecture, outside of Tokyo, Japan and open only to undergraduate Meiji University students. During this time, Giatti and Kovacevic observed and participated in language classes taught by Meiji University faculty and carried out language lessons exploring different topics in Canadian Studies. In the evenings, they created activities for an evening conversation lounge, aimed at improving the students’ speaking skills and sharing cultural perspectives and experiences in a casual setting.

Giatti and Kovacevic describe this experience as quite unique. “This truly opened our eyes to the value of such an exceptional overseas practicum,” said Giatti.

“We have become aware of several teaching techniques and were given the opportunity to also adjust to the different learning styles of this particular culture while simultaneously self-evaluating our teaching practices,” added Kovacevic.

Now graduates of the TESOL program, both teachers strongly recommend this practicum opportunity to future TESOL students.

The TESOL Certificate program is an accredited teacher education program that prepares teacher candidates to teach English language to adults. It consists of 30 credits and can be completed concurrently with a bachelor’s degree or post degree.  A key component of this program is the teaching practicum that students complete during the program. The partnership with Meiji provides an international dimension to this practicum experience.

York’s TESOL students received funding support through the International Mobility Award, York International and LA&PS, while the Canadian Studies section of Meiji’s International Office provided accommodation.