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 a class is unique and contributes to building a learning community. I value collaborative learning in which all 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 advanced levels of Japanese. I started to teach Japanese for the Professions in 2000, and its course development and business language instruction have become a focus of my research interests. The teaching material I created for the course is a published textbook, “Powering Up Your Japanese Through Case Studies: Intermediate and Advanced Japanese” (2014: the Japan Times). I co-edited the book “Language Education for Social Future: Critical Content-Based Instruction” (2015: Coco Publishing). I have published several academic articles and given numerous presentations and workshops on language pedagogy in different parts of the world, including the United States, Japan, Italy, and Ethiopia.   I am very thankful for receiving the Teacher Award from the American Association of Teachers of Japanese in 2019.

I have been serving several leadership positions in the Japanese language education field: the Founding Chair of Japanese for Specific Purposes Special Interest Group (JSP-SIG) (2007-present), National Japanese Exam Director and a board member (2014-2017), and President-Elect (2021) at the American Association of Teachers of Japanese (AATJ), an AP Japanese Language and Culture Development Committee member (2017-2018) and Co-Chair (2018-2021). In 2022, I am very humbled and honored to serve as President of the American Association of Teachers of Japanese.

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.

Akiko Takamura Barnes  (篁バーンズ明子) I have been teaching Japanese, my native language and culture, since 2008.  I have been very passionate about cultivating globally competent leaders and connecting their educational interest and real-world experience. Prior to teaching, I practiced public relations and international marketing in Tokyo, Philadelphia and New York, serving as a bridge between the Japanese and the non-Japanese speakers in various industries. Combining my experience with teaching, cross-cultural business practice and entrepreneurship, I am interested in applying innovative student-centered teaching methods to a Japanese language classroom, especially for the university-level novice learners.  My research interests include pedagogy for language learning, technology integration in language education, and proficiency-oriented instruction and assessment.  My current work focuses on development of language learning materials.

Nana Takeda Kolb (コルブ武田奈々) Prior to coming to UPenn, I taught Japanese at Williams College and Mississippi State University. Regardless of the setting, I use my diverse academic and professional experience to enhance instruction. With many years in Japan’s rapidly changing mass media industry, I bring my professional expertise to the creation of current and relevant classroom materials. I also incorporate my long-term experience as a vocal instructor into my classroom instruction, introducing “acting” as a proven teaching tool in university Japanese classes. My research and teaching background have made me comfortable instructing in traditional, online, and hybrid instructional settings. I use a variety of online approaches to increase students’ opportunities to communicate in Japanese with their peers and me. Education extends beyond the classroom, and my philosophy includes addressing the changing needs and requirements of students and the community. I believe instructing Japanese provides students a window into cultural diversity.

Ryo Nakayama (中山諒)

Faculty in Japanese Studies Linda H. Chance, Ph.D. (Associate Chair) Associate Professor (Japanese Language and Literature) Ayako Kano, Ph.D. (Graduate Chair) Professor (Japanese Literature, Performance, Gender Studies) David Spafford, Ph.D. (Undergraduate Chair) Associate Professor (Pre-Modern Japanese History) Lewis E. Harrington Lecturer

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