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Arts and Sciences Learning Objectives

ILCS (International Literary and Cultural Studies)

Japanese Program

Statement of objectives
The Japanese Program typically has two types of students: (l) language students not majoring in Japanese and (2) Japanese majors.

  1. Objectives for language students

    The Japanese language curriculum aims to develop students' linguistic proficiencies (listening, speaking, reading and writing) within a cultural context that reflects the richness of Japanese language and culture. Students are expected to achieve various levels of proficiencies throughout their study of Japanese, from the Novice High level at the end of 1st year Japanese (Japanese 1-2) to the Advanced Mid level at the end of the 5th year (Japanese 123-124), as described in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines.
  2. Objectives for students graduating with a major in Japanese
(1) Language skills:

Students graduating with a major in Japanese are expected to achieve a minimum proficiency level of Advanced (Japanese 122), as described in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines. Specifically, they are able to satisfy routine social demands and limited work requirements in all four areas: listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Listening: They are able to understand main ideas and most details of connected discourse on a variety of topics, including short lectures and news reports.

Speaking: They are able to handle most social situations and casual conversations about current events, work, and family.

Reading: They are able to read simple authentic material within a familiar context, such as simple newspaper and magazine articles.

Writing: They are able to write routine social correspondence and simple discourse on familiar topics, including summaries, and short narratives.

(2) Cultural literacy, competency, and critical thinking skills:

We define "culture courses" as having the following three components: first, content (textual materials produced in different cultural forms including poetry, fiction, film, painting, manga, and anime); second, historical contexts in which these different cultural forms and texts developed and changed; and, third, analytical concepts and approaches.
General objectives

We expect Japanese majors to acquire a general knowledge of major Japanese cultural texts, genres, motifs, and issues in conjunction with their historical contexts, and learn enough conceptual tools to analyze texts and critically assess their implications. These general objectives are achieved through the following means:

Course requirements for majors

We believe it is necessary for students to acquire a general knowledge and historical sense of some of the major cultural developments and changes that have occurred in Japan over the millenia. All students are expected to take JPN061, Introduction to Japanese Culture, in order to acquire a general grounding in the culture. From this basic coverage of premodern, modern, and postmodern periods, our students are encouraged to follow their interests, making sure to take at least two advanced 100-level courses before graduation.
In addition to the courses taught in our program, majors are also required to take a course on Japan in a related field including history, political science, religion, and others. They are also encouraged to study abroad on our program in Kanazawa or at another approved institution.

Pedagogical objectives designed to foster critical thinking and cross-cultural sensitivity

We expect our students to develop a number of important, useful skills: first, how to connect the present with the past by identifying cultural patterns and variations; second, how to read literary, visual, and critical “texts” thoughtfully and meaningfully; third, how to write clearly and critically about cultural phenomenon; fourth, how to express one's thoughts and feelings clearly in both English and Japanese; fifth, how to understand Japanese culture within a global context; and sixth, how to apply one's knowledge in ways that elicit the support of others in the attempt to make our world a better place to live.

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