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How Cheng & Tsui Professional Development Grants supported my professional growth

August 25, 2016

Articles by 2015 Cheng & Tsui Professional Development Grants Recipient, Shinji Shimoura sensei and Nicholas Sturtevant sensei

Thanks to the generous support of Cheng & Tsui as well as the Professional Development Committee of the American Association of Teachers of Japanese (AATJ), I was able to organize and attend the Japanese Foundation (JF) can-do statements workshop held by Yoko Sakurai-sensei of the Japan Foundation New York. Without such support, I don’t believe I would have been able to organize and attend this event, which provided participants with invaluable tools to improve Japanese courses in ways to maximize benefits for learners.

A total of 30 Japanese instructors from Purdue University and other universities in Indiana, Missouri, and Virginia participated in the workshop. Many of these participants were graduate students aspiring to be Japanese teachers in the United States. The workshop provided them with excellent great opportunities not only to learn about a practical tool that they can utilize in their teaching, but also to meet Japanese instructors from the various institutions throughout Indiana and other locations.

In the morning, Sakurai-sensei from the Japan Foundation New York gave us a lecture on JF standards and can-do statements. As most participants were not familiar with either CEFR or JF can-do statements, the lecture provided us with vital information. During the lecture, Sakurai-sensei explained how we could incorporate CEFR/JF can-do statements into the curriculum based on the ACTFL standards more commonly used in the United States.

In the afternoon, participants were divided into groups to work on creating can-do statements using the textbooks widely used in the United States. Participants deepened their knowledge of can-do statements through hands-on activities focused on how to incorporate can-do statements with textbooks not designed with can-do statements in mind. Many participants gained the practical knowledge to create their own can-do statements that they can use in their Japanese courses along with available resources. During the workshop, some of the participants started a conversation about collaborating to create can-do statements for their courses, and others decided to use can-do statements in their courses in the fall semester.

Although many of the participants were overwhelmed by the quantity and quality of the information presented during the workshop, we were all inspired to provide the best learning experience by incorporating the spirit of can-do statements into the classroom. Thanks again to Cheng & Tsui and the AATJ for making this possible!

- Shinji Shimoura


Thanks to the generous support of Cheng & Tsui and the Professional Development Committee of the American Association of Teachers of Japanese (AATJ) I was able to participate in the 2015 Conference of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). Without this support I don’t believe I would have been able to attend the event which provided me with invaluable tools to assist me in my very new career as a Japanese teacher.

- Nicholas Sturtevant


2016 Cheng & Tsui Professional Development Grant application for teachers of Japanese is available on the AATJ's website by September 10, 2016.

Winners will be announced at the ACTFL Annual Conference in November.