From the left, Sae Kawase, Naemi Tanaka McPherson, Tomoko Takami, Megumu Tamura and Kinji Ito
Director of Japanese language program
Tomoko Takami (高見智子) Senior Lecturer in Foreign Languages
Teaching is my passion and love. I enjoy working with students, and I believe that every student in class is unique and contributes to build a learning community. I value collaborative learning in which all of the participants, the students and the instructor, explore learning together by exchanging knowledge, experiences, and engaging in dialogues. I take the learner-centered approach, in which I take the learner’s needs and goals of learning into consideration along with language teaching pedagogy when developing a curriculum.
I began teaching Japanese at the University of Pennsylvania in 1996. I have been teaching various courses in beginning and intermediate levels of Japanese. I started to teach Japanese for the Professions in the year 2000, and its course development and business Japanese instruction has become a focus of my research interests. The teaching material that I created for the course is a published textbook and is widely used in different parts of the world.
I have been active in the field of Japanese language teaching. I am the Founding Chair of Japanese for Specific Purposes (JSP), Special Interest Group (SIG) at the American Association of Teachers of Japanese, National Japanese Exam Director (2014-2017), and currently an AP Japanese Language and Culture Development Committee Member.
Lectures of Japanese
Sae Kawase (川瀬佐恵)
Prior to coming to the University of Pennsylvania, I taught Japanese in universities across USA, UK, Poland, Taiwan, and China as well as summer language programs in Japan. My primary teaching goal is to help students learn communicative language skills in Japanese while students are immersed in the four language skills in the classroom setting. I believe that the key elements in a foreign language classroom is encouraging students to enjoy communicating with others, to gain new ideas and experiences, and to build relationships with others through learning Japanese. My personal style of teaching hopes to bring enthusiasm, cultural elements, and technology into the classroom to optimize the students’ learning experience. Since my objective as a teacher is to motivate my students toward a level of independence where they develop a desire to learn and think for themselves, my current research interest includes effects of peer response and self-reflection to enhance a sense of autonomy in language learning.
Naemi Tanaka McPherson (マクファーソン田中苗美)
I have taught Japanese at Boston University, Boston College, Wheaton College, and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. I believe that a language teacher is not merely a transmitter of knowledge, but a facilitator who engages and motivates students so that they enjoy learning about the target language, culture, and society, both within and beyond the classroom. In my classroom, I welcome any question, easy or difficult, because I believe strongly that this is how continuous learning can occur. My research interests include critical pedagogy, second language acquisition, and heritage language education. In my spare time, I enjoy hiking, watching Japanese dramas, and solving kanji puzzles.
Megumu Tamura (田村芽)
Prior to coming to UPenn, I taught at several institutions including Penn State University, Purdue University, and Swarthmore College, as well as in summer course programs at Middlebury College. My teaching philosophy encompasses the following principles: 1) that students learn the most under the environment where they are challenged and motivated, and then where they achieve; and 2) that the instructor’s role is to create a challenging but rewarding learning environment in which students will gain confidence and become proficient. I believe in the importance of critical thinking in not only language courses, but also in college education in general, and my teaching style that emphasizes discussions reflects this belief. In order to accomplish these goals, I creatively incorporate a variety of raw and up-to-date materials, such as newspaper articles in current topics and Manga, in my teaching.
Kinji Ito (伊藤欣司)
I am passionate about teaching, and thus committed to creating a superb environment in which the students enjoy learning the target language. Prior to coming to Penn, I taught language courses at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and translation courses at the State University of New York at Binghamton. Without a doubt, my educational background as well as teaching experiences have provided me with a keen insight into the area of translation and language pedagogy, this is where my research interests primarily lie.
Faculty in Japanese Studies
Linda H. Chance, Ph.D. (Associate Chair)
Associate Professor (Japanese Language and Literature)
Ayako Kano, Ph.D.
Professor (Japanese Literature, Performance, Gender Studies)
David Spafford, Ph.D. (Undergraduate Chair)
Assistant Professor (Pre-Modern Japanese History)
Yoko Nishimura, Ph.D.
Lecturer (Ancient East Asian Civilizations)
Lewis E. Harrington