１２月１日（火）、「２１世紀（高２文系選択科目）」の授業で外部より講師（The Australia Society Tokyo 代表：Sally Townsend氏）をお招きして、「豪州と日本の《違い》を比較してみよう！～異文化理解～」と題したワークショップ（使用言語：英語）を実施しました。大学受験（選抜）制度や大学生活の違い、ギャップイヤーやボランティア活動など様々な「違い」について、英語でのディスカッションを通して、生徒達は多くを学ぶことができました。現在、受講生達はICTを活用して米国の高校生らと自然災害に関する協働学習も行っていますが、異文化理解をこのようなアクティブ・ラーニング形式で学習することで、「１つの事象に対する複眼的な視点」を体得しています。
Sally Townsend, the president of Australia Society Tokyo (AST) and a graduate of both Adelaide University and Nihon University, blessed us with her presence this December as our guest speaker for the 21st Century course. During the first hour, students asked Sally about growing up in Australia and her school life, focusing on some of the differences between the Australian and Japanese school systems. As Sally is a graduate of both an Australian university and a Japanese university, she was able to share with us about some of the cultural differences in attitudes toward higher education. First, students learned about the "gap year" that many Australians take, which is a year between high school graduation and entering university during which people often volunteer and travel to other countries. This means that when Australians enter university, they are generally more mature than their Japanese counterparts who enter directly from high school. This, perhaps, is a big reason why, like many westerners, she was also taken back by how it doesn't take much effort for students to pass their university courses and graduate in Japan, which is in stark contrast to western universities at which students are expected to work extremely hard in order to pass courses and graduate.
During the second hour of our time with Sally, we learned about the work of AST and about how they work with the Australian Embassy and the Australian & New Zealand Chamber of Commerce to help Australians living in Tokyo feel at home. Many foreigners living in Tokyo experience homesickness but also a sense of loneliness, which is something that Sally is dedicated to help address. Students were impressed with Sally's willingness and enthusiasm for volunteer activities, a cultural trait of many Australians. We also learned about Sally's work at an international wine importer, which is actually a domestic (Japanese) company that is funded by French wineries and headed by a CEO from New Zealand but staffed primarily by Japanese citizens. Truly an international work place!
Through our exchange with Sally and her generosity, 21st Century students were able to learn firsthand about issues that foreigners living in Japan face and also learn a great deal about differences in school culture and expectations. So, on behalf of the 21st Century students, we would like to say, "Thanks, Sally!" and hopefully one day we will be able to walk barefoot with you on the Australian Embassy's beautiful green lawn!