Overview of the Japanese Language Program
The Japanese Program offers a vibrant community that engages students in active learning and a variety of extracurricular activities. Students develop communication skills in both spoken and written Japanese as well as knowledge of Japanese cultural and literary traditions. By taking courses in all levels of Japanese language, literature, and culture and spending a semester at a Japanese university, students hone their language skills and deepen their understanding of Japanese culture and society. The goal of the Japanese Program is to help students succeed in professional and personal interactions with Japan after graduation. Former students have gone on to teach English in Japan, work at Japanese companies and the Japanese embassy.
Learning Outcomes for the Japanese Major
Wake Forest College states one of the key objectives of its liberal education as helping students develop “an appreciation of different cultures and of different ways of understanding the world.” The Japanese Program contributes to this goal by offering a wide range of courses in Japanese language and culture. Japanese majors work towards the following learning outcomes by participating in language courses, electives in Japanese literature and culture, a survey of East Asian culture, and a capstone seminar. A standardized assessment of learning outcomes for the major is performed in the senior research seminar.
We expect Japanese majors to be able to:
- Speak in Japanese with fluency and accuracy in a culturally appropriate manner in various situations.
- Write in Japanese with accuracy in a culturally appropriate manner in various situations.
- Read and comprehend various types of writing in Japanese such as newspaper articles, short stories, and web content with the help of dictionaries and other resources while working toward mastering jooyoo kanji.
- Analyze and discuss in Japanese cultural and social issues and express opinions clearly in speech as well as in writing.
- Analyze and discuss in English representative Japanese literary and cultural works in their social, historical, and theoretical contexts.
- Write logically, clearly, and cohesively in English about Japanese literary and cultural works and traditions.
- Demonstrate an understanding of larger regional trends in East Asian culture.
- Demonstrate independent thinking, research, and learning skills necessary to be successful in academic, professional, and personal pursuits after graduation.
Assessment of the Learning Outcomes for the Japanese Major
Majors work towards learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4, 8 by taking seven required languages courses: JPN 101, 102, 153, 201, 220, 230 and 290 (taken abroad). Activities used to develop and assess learning outcomes are embedded in the course and include written tests, essays, speaking tests, presentations, and various projects.
Majors work towards learning outcomes 5, 6, 7, 8 by taking three electives in Japanese literature and culture—including EAL 219, 253, 270, or 285—and one required survey of East Asian cultures course EAL 275 and two courses in Japanese history and religion HST 246 or 247 and REL 363 or 381. Activities used to develop and assess learning outcomes are embedded in the courses and include analysis papers, research projects, presentations, examinations, and other activities.
A standardized assessment of all of the learning outcomes for the major is performed in EAL 375, a required research seminar on East Asian culture taken in the fall of the fourth year. As part of the seminar, students will also complete a one-credit hour LAC (Language across the Curriculum) course in which they develop the Japanese language component of their research projects. Seminar activities used to assess learning outcomes include:
- A research paper in English on a topic in Japanese and East Asian culture.
- A presentation in English on the research project.
- A two-page abstract of the research project in Japanese.
- A presentation on the research project in Japanese.
The paper and presentation in English are evaluated using a five-point rubric that assesses the student’s mastery of outcomes 5, 6, 7, 8. The project summary and presentation in Japanese are likewise evaluated using a five-point rubric that assesses the student’s mastery of outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4, 8.
Yasuko Takata Rallings, Associate Professor of the Practice
Ryosuke Sano, Part-time Adjunct Instructor