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Mat's Boston Program Report 2009

Associate professor Mathew White reports the 2009 Boston program.


I’m extremely pleased to be able to write about the Department of English Language Teaching at Nagoya University’s Summer Study in Boston. While only in its second year, the program had several exciting changes.


First, this year all students stayed with host families. This is a major change from the experience last year, in which our students were housed together in the school dormitories on campus. Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to both types of housing. However, due to the feedback from the students in the first year, and discussions among faculty members in our department, we decided the best way to increase and enhance the opportunities for linguistic and cultural exchange was to place students with host families. I’m extremely grateful to Patty and her staff at Global Immersions for arranging the student placements with host families, transportation from and to the airport, and assisting with the details for the New York trip.


Second, the program was extended from three weeks to four, with students responsible for their own language study and research in the final week. I’m looking forward to learning about how they made use of this unique opportunity.


We were extremely fortunate to have the same fantastic teaching staff as last year for both the ESL (Miriam Kurland and Joanne Fox) and the ASL courses (Bruce Bucci) this year. However, a third change to the program was the textbook used in the ESL classes. This year, the ESL textbook, Academic Encounters: Listening (Intermediate) had units on the United States Constitution, the U.S. system of government, and Immigration. The topics seemed to tie in very well with Boston and the historical and cultural setting that it provided. Miriam Kurland and Joanne, the two ESL teachers also used the students’ experiences with their host families as sources for discussions, activities and writing assignments. ASL instructor Bruce Bucci, as last year, kept students fully engaged, taking students out on to the streets of Boston to describe the backstreets of Fenway Park using American Sign Language, to order drinks at Starbucks without speaking in order to truly experience and appreciate nonverbal communication, and even into the local bank for a class on saving, depositing, and withdrawing money.


Another welcome addition this year was the inclusion of two students from two other departments. The two second-year students, one from the Chinese Department, and one from the Department of British and American Studies, interacted well with our first year students, and made valuable contributions to the program through their active participation. Thank you Kaho and Chiaki!


The one-day trip group trip to New York was also new. This year, thanks to the hospitality of Richard Morrison and Chukyo University and Robin Babcock of the University of Massachusetts, our students were able to join the second year students from Chukyo University on a one-day excursion to New York, which included a ride on the Staten Island Ferry to get a view of the Statue of Liberty, a walk through part of Wall Street, New York’s financial district, and 4 hours of free time for exploring downtown New York. The pace of the trip was a little exhausting for the students, but I think everyone will be glad to have at least had a taste of New York. In the future, we may want to consider organizing an overnight stay in New York if the costs can be kept down.


Professor Suga and I also accompanied students on the trolley tour of Boston and the visit to the Boston Children’s Museum. These were both worthwhile experiences, which I would like to thank Jen Duclos and the CELOP Department of Boston University for organizing them.
I’m extremely proud of our students and their outstanding behavior during the program. I look forward to hearing more from them about their experiences and reflections on the trip.


I’m grateful to Professor Kikuchi for designing and revising this program in coordination with Jen Duclos at CELOP, Boston University. I thoroughly enjoyed being able chaperone and observe classes with Professor Suga. In addition, I would like to thank professor Mizutani for his reports during the latter half of the program and for his willingness to change the schedule so that I could accompany students to New York. Special thanks to Akiko Nagao for her support throughout the year on the program, and to Aiko Kurakazu of JTB for all of her work in arranging flights, insurance, and pre-departure details.


Saint Augustine is quoted as saying, “Life is a book, and those who have not traveled have read only the first page.” Congratulations to all the students who participated for expanding their reading of the book of life!

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