I share here my first teaching assistant (TA) work in Japan.
During March 2017, I worked with my supervisor, Professor Geunhee Lee, as a teaching assistant. Representing Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU), we visited Waseda Juku Prep School in Akihabara, Tokyo, one of the best prep schools in Japan. We participated in a “Super-Cross Cultural” program where we wanted to show the students that there are different cultures and diversities in the world that they need to embrace with confidence. It’s true that everyone is different, but that difference makes us only strong to achieve bigger goals together. We’re Global Citizens.
I personally gave a lecture about diversity. Although Japan is one of the least diverse countries in the world, the country is embracing diversity and accepting foreigners. One example is JICA ABE Initiative, a program that brought almost 1,000 African students in Japan to study and do internships of which I’m one of them. Ariana Miyamoto, Miss Japan 2015, the first multiracial beauty pageant titleholder in Japan, was another inspirational story from Japan to the world. In addition, holding Tokyo Muslim Fashion Show was another great example that indicates Japan is embracing diversity.
Aside from sharing our cultural differences with the students, the main objective of the cross-cultural program was teaching the students how to write research reports. Professor Lee divided the students into groups of 5 to 6 members. I was personally responsible for a group of 5 students to help them write a report and make a final presentation. I never thought high school students could write research papers because that’s not how we do it in Africa. In my country, discussion about research starts only when you join higher education. I don’t know who told us to do this. But these students showed me what high school students are capable of doing if given the opportunity to express themselves in written words. This is an approach I’ll take back to my country.
Who would have imagined that high school students could write a research report of whether Japan should accept refugees or not? That’s what my mini-team wanted to do. In a matter of three days, they did a literature review, designed and distributed questionnaires, and wrote their results. Finally, they presented their conclusion: Japan should accept refugees but with a limited number.
BOOM!!! They became the 2nd best team in the program. They impressed everyone, including the professor and the school management. They’re awarded an appreciation certificate and various gifts from APU.
That’s a great experience for me. I learned a lot from the students, and I hope they too learned something from me. For many of them, I became their first African friend.
I’m looking forward to visiting Waseda Juku school again.
And this picture sums up our celebrations with APU Alumni in Tokyo. Hope you can find me in the photo. Did you?