Keynote-3 Michael Handford

Keynote 3: Internationalisation at the University of Tokyo: Education workshops for engineering academics

Michael Handford, University of Tokyo;

Keynote - Michael Handford

Keynote – Michael Handford

The School of Engineering at the University of Tokyo, the most internationally minded of all Schools within the university, is implementing a ‘Bilingual Campus Plan’ to ‘create a global environment on a Japanese campus’. This is taking many forms, but one goal is for 70% of all graduate lectures to be given in English by the end of the decade. At present a third of all graduate students in the Engineering are from overseas (mostly from China and Korea), and this number is also expected to rise considerably. In contrast, the number of foreign faculty is very low, and therefore all lectures are overwhelming provided by Japanese academics. However, faculty support and development within the School has been, to date, insufficient.

This talk will briefly discuss internationalization (Knight, 2008) at the University of Tokyo, and then outline a workshop I run with Japanese academics on lecturing with an international audience in English. Various sources of data will be discussed, including open-ended surveys conducted prior to the sessions with staff who have experience lecturing to mixed international and Japanese classes, surveys with Japanese and international engineering students, recordings of the training sessions, and the issues raised by the trainees themselves. While the majority of the comments by staff focused on the effective transfer of information, the student feedback, regardless of nationality, was far more concerned with the need to make lectures more interactive and engaging. This contrast in perspectives can be interpreted from a cultural perspective, as it questions the assumption that Asian academic environments prefer a ‘mastery of knowledge’ (Cortazzi and Jin, 1996) approach: that the students want more interaction and active concept-checking suggests that the difference may be more generational than geographical, and more complex than an essentialist position suggests. Several other points raised by the staff and the students also relate to cultural knowledge and practices, such as the deeper cultural understanding achieved through lecturing to an international audience (in English), or the issue of differing culturally-influenced expectations concerning status.

PPT (unavailable yet)


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